I met my wife, Kim, when we were in high school. We dated for six years before getting married and have now been married for nearly twenty years. That means that we have spent over half of our lives already either dating, engaged or married.
Like any couple who’s been married for any amount of time knows, it is crucial to work at making your marriage as strong as it can be. The forces of Satan, sin, and society all pull at and openly attack marriages – especially those of Christians. That is why is it so essential that those of us who know Jesus should seek to do everything possible to have a marriage that reflects the Bible’s picture of Christ and His bride, the Church.
One of the things that I’ve found to be true in our marriage is that it is much like we’re sitting in a canoe in a river. First, if we’re not rowing upstream, we’ll just naturally float downstream. (And trust me, you don’t want to go “downstream.”) But, you can’t just stay where you are. The current of our culture will always take you “down.” Secondly, if you’re going to get anywhere in your marriage, you have to work together, not against each other. However, when you’re working together, rowing against the current of culture, you can go places that you’d never be able to go by yourself.
Solomon says that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22) I think that goes both ways. When we find that person who God would have us spend the rest of our life with – in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse – then that is indeed a “good thing.”
So, on this Valentine’s Day weekend let me share some suggestions on how to have a “life-long love.” Or, to put it another way, how can you make the most of your marriage? Let me give you twenty simple suggestions that I think will be a real help in developing and maintaining a strong, healthy, happy, holy marriage.
1. Keep Jesus in the center of your marriage.
2. Constantly remember the qualities that first sparked your interest in your spouse.
3. Give overt and frequent expressions of love.
4. Look into your spouse’s eyes when they are talking to you.
5. If one compliment a day is good, then ten are better.
6. Don’t forget to hold hands.
7. Learn to say, “I’m sorry.”
8. Celebrate special occasions together.
9. Learn to appreciate each other’s unique differences.
10. Realize that good memories are priceless.
11. Agree more – argue less.
12. Be the right person for your spouse instead of trying to make them into the right person for you.
13. Learn to laugh together, and then laugh a lot.
14. Gifts are good things and can bring simple pleasure – especially if they are unexpected.
15. Focus on the finish line, not the pain your experiencing now.
16. See your spouse as God’s gift to you.
17. Hugs and kisses don’t just belong on love notes.
18. Life-long marriages are built on the little things of life.
19. Romance shouldn’t end on the honeymoon.
20. Keep Jesus in the center of your marriage.
I hope that these simple suggestions will be a help and encouragement for you and your mate in your marriage. I believe that if you’ll focus on these words of advice and work at implementing them into your life together, then you’ll be well on your way to having and experiencing “A Life-long Love.”