Steve and I are getting ready to celebrate our 35th year of marriage. We haven't felt like 35 years were going by in our lives, but yes they have. It hasn't always been perfect, and we haven't always done the right things, but we have always worked at our marriage, and are blessed with a Happy Marriage.
I believe that the number one reason that we have a "Happy Marriage", is that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the center of our marriage, and corresponding to that, we have tried to attain wisdom and understanding about marriage, raising children and life. When it comes to wisdom and understanding, we have to pursue it, practice it, desire it, love it and get it. Those qualities don't just come to us on their own.
Proverbs 4:6-7 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
The old saying: "Practice makes Perfect" bears some merit. I don't know about the "perfect" aspect, but I do know that "Practice produces fruit". Hopefully as we live our lives, we are constantly practicing what is good. In this we are improving as we go along. In the New Testament we are told that we are going from glory to glory, and it is in that way that I like to think of my life. It applies to marriage. We have to practice what is good, to enjoy the fruit of a good marriage. That good fruit is a part of God's glory shining through us.
I was at a bridal shower a while back and all of the ladies were asked to share some "Secrets to a Happy Marriage" with the young bride. I've made a list today of some of those "secrets" that really are not "secrets" at all, but treasures of wisdom found and learned through my life and the life of others that I know, who have attained "Happy Marriages". These secrets are simple, many of you have been taught them all of your life. Its just everyday wisdom, in everyday words, but its what we learn from the Bible and much of it in Proverbs. Some of it we learned in Kindergarten, and forgot. Its always good to remember again.
Secrets to a Happy Marriage
- Pray together.
- Honor each other.
- Never speak disrespectfully to each other.
- Support each other in front of the children.
- Go on dates; even after 35 years it is important to go on dates together, even if it is just a walk in the park, or a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
- Hold hands … even in public (yes, we're "those" type of people)
- Laugh and LAUGH SOME MORE!!
- Don't take yourself so seriously; Crush that spirit of offense under your feet.
- Enjoy your children and grand-children together.
- Look at the other persons point of view. Sometimes we can get in a rut of our own way of thinking… stop pause and turn your thoughts in a different way.
- Stop complaining… please refrain from the moan, the complaint, the sigh, the sarcasm. The Lord grew weary of the children of Israel behaving this way, and our fellow human beings get weary of hearing us do the same. Negative, frustrated, complaining expression of fear and woe takes a person out of the atmosphere of faith, and into the atmosphere of heaviness.
- Resist having a critical, negative, correcting or controlling, spirit
- Speak gently
- Speak kindly
- Bring each other special things.. cup of coffee in the morning (my hubby does that for me), glass of cold iced tea in the afternoon (I do that for him), a late night snack, a pair of slippers, a blanket, a sweater, all these are considerate kindnesses that bless.
- Learn to become interested in each others interests. Its not always easy to get my thoughts geared into tractors, motorcycles or trucks.. I make myself get up and look… listen and participate. My hubby does the same for me.
- Look and smell nice for each other.
- Forgive… really, let it go.
- Don't expect each other to be the same as each other.. enjoy your differences, its okay; its natural to be very different from each other and yet still be one of heart and mind.
- Learn the differences between men and women and allow these differences in each other.
- Men are men, don't resent them for it Ladies.
- Women are women, don't resent them for it Guys.
- Enjoy the differences that God gave you rather than allow frustration to enter in.
- Be an encourager.
- Look for each other's gifts and talents and thank the Lord for them. We create a blessing for ourselves, when we see through God's eyes the blessings of someone else. I thank God every day for my husband, for his gifts, his strength, his goodness and kindness. If you don't think you see these things in your spouse, ask the Lord to show you all the good things that are there. Pretty soon you will. Cultivate those things with thanksgiving.
- Get rid of pride.
- Put on humility
- Be strong and helpful, not weak and needy.
- Its not about winning or being right. Its about loving and being patient.
- PRAY!! I know, I said that already… its a good way to start and a good way to finish; I have found the only way to navigate anything in life is to Pray.
I have lived with this man of mine for 35 years… and he with me; we have worked through many difficult things throughout our life together, and have come out still holding hands and preferring one another's company to almost all things. These are the things we have learned. I pray that they will add something to your marriage and family life.
James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”