I married my High School sweetheart, and we’ve had nearly twenty years of wonderful, blissful, perfect marriage. Well, at least, the first part of that statement is true. I did marry my High School sweetheart, but like every other marriage, I know of, ours has had its share of tough times and dark days. From the pain of struggling to start a family to the reality of two super-driven, opinionated people living under the same roof, we’ve not only had to learn how to love and respect each other like Jesus says; we’ve had to learn how to get along with each other and set the foundation for a life-long marriage. That’s why I started this series of posts with some of the “Don’ts of Successful Marriages.”
You see, marriage is tough. In fact, I believe that this wonderfully blessed and beneficial institution is the hardest of all human relationships. That’s why in our marriage ceremonies we vow to “to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” From the very beginning, there is the acknowledgement that there are going to be both good and bad, rewarding and rough times in our marriages.
I believe that one of the reasons why better than half of all marriages end in divorce today is because of unrealistic expectations. I know that Kim and I surely had expectations that could never be reached. (I thought that marriage was going to be one long honeymoon.) The other reason is that couples don’t learn to do those things that help undergird and prepare their marriage to make it through the tough times that are sure to come.
There is a seeming ignorance today on what it takes to have a successful marriage. We look at those marriages that last, and we look at those that don’t and we somehow miss the point that those that last do something different from those marriages that don’t. I heard a pastor say when Kim and I first got married, “Good marriages are a lot like casseroles, only those who make them know what goes into them.” Well, that may be a clever statement but it didn’t help a young marriage like ours. We needed to know what we could do to make our marriage last. That’s why I started watching those couples who had been married for twenty or more years. I listened to what they said to each other, how they acted around each other, what they did for each other. If there was a marriage that I felt was a real example of what a Christian marriage ought to be, I asked if there were any special things they did to make sure that their marriage remained strong and loving. I wanted to know what not to do and what to do so that our marriage would be until “death do us part,” and not just until the divorce was final.
Since I’ve already shared some of the Don’ts of Successful Marriages, let me share today what I believe to be some of the –
“Do’s of Successful Marriages.”
Do say “I love you” – a lot.
Do show affection – both publicly and privately.
Do have fun and make memories together.
Do forgive one another.
Do celebrate special days together.
Do trust each other.
Do pray and worship together.
Do be faithful to each other.
Do share life together.
Do commit to staying married – regardless of what comes.
I married my High School sweetheart. I am so very thankful for her. I love her dearly and am committed to making this marriage not only last but be a picture of what Jesus said our relationship as Christians is with Him. We are not perfect, but we are committed – to Jesus and each other – and desire to make this marriage the best marriage we possibly can.