The hardest, and at the same time most rewarding, human relationship in my life is the relationship I have with my wife. We are approaching our twentieth wedding anniversary and while we have had our share of challenges – as well as times of deep disagreement and even despair – I can honestly say that not only am I better with her, I really don’t know where I would be in life if the Lord had not brought her into my life.
Let me give some of the backstory and details. Kim and I met when we were in high school. She was coming into the library for AP English which was being done by what was a very new and innovative technology called “Distance Learning.” There were five schools with one teacher linked together by satellite and TV monitors. It was a very small class made up of only the top students. She walked into the library, where I was working as a librarian’s assistant, with a mutual friend and I knew in just a few seconds of passing conversation that this was a girl that I wanted to get to know better. We dated for six years and, to make a long story short, married at the end of my sophomore year in college.
Now, from the very beginning, it was evident that there were a lot of differences between us. She was at the top of her class, and I sat in the back – literally – with grades that often matched. She was the teachers’ favorite, and I was the teachers’ project. She is shy by nature, and I’ve never met a stranger. She’s quiet and calm, I’m not and never have been. She’s a morning person; I’m not. She likes eating what she already knows she likes, and I like trying anything and everything that I’ve never tried before. She is frugal, and I’m the spender. She is considerate and compassionate, and I’m praying to develop in the spiritual gift of mercy. We are so different in so many ways, and yet that is what makes us such a compliment to each other.
Again, our marriage is like virtually any and every other marriage that I’ve ever known. There are times when we get along and times when we don’t, times when we are very close and times when we’re not, times when we like being around each other and times when, well, not so much. Our marriage is probably a lot like yours. It’s not perfect, but we are committed to each other, and we’re working on this thing called “marriage” each and every day.
So, knowing some of the struggles that we’ve had in our marriage, I thought that I would take a couple of weeks just to give some simple suggestions (and maybe a little bit of timely advice) on how to make your marriage more of what the Bible says it is to be like and less like those that we see on television or read about in magazines.
This week I want to share some “Don’ts of Successful Marriages” and next week I’ll share some “Do’s of Successful Marriages.”
“Don’ts” of Successful Marriages
- Don’t meet each other – whether at home or out – without giving a hug and a kiss.
- Don’t be too proud to admit your wrong and ask for forgiveness.
- Don’t yell at one another unless the house is burning down.
- Don’t stay mad and upset with each other all the time.
- Don’t forget that it takes two to have a fight, but only one to stop it.
- Don’t get “historical” and bring up things that the other did wrong in the past.
- Don’t let the sun go down on your anger with each other.
- Don’t resist submitting to the wants or wishes of each other.
- Don’t be critical of each other in an unloving way.
- Don’t go to bed without giving a compliment to each other.
These are some simple suggestions on what not to do to help make the most out of the most important human relationship in our life. This relationship is so important; the apostle Paul gave this detailed teaching to couples:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33