Lessons from a Marriage
Perhaps it is the presence of Valentine’s Day: February is widely recognized as the month in which people fall in love. (I know this was true for my late husband and me!) Love has many lessons. Some can only be learned in retrospect. I wrote this reflection for a beautiful young couple who recently married. I was encouraged to bring my message to a larger audience.
My young friends, as you begin the greatest journey of your lives, I wish to share my top ten list of things I learned over the course of married life. I hope you will find it helpful.
1. “Happily ever after” is built one day at a time. Live in the present moment and cherish each phase of your married love, from pleasure to pain.
2. Love is a daily decision. Feelings fade, but the will to love is a constant choice.
3. Married love isn’t a 50/50 proposition—it’s 100+/100+! Bring your “A game” every day, giving your whole, best selves to each other. That’s how two become one.
4. The couple that prays together stays together. Remember there are three people in your marriage: husband, wife, and Jesus Christ. Bring all your joys and challenges to Christ.
5. Love sometimes hurts. As good as we are, we often say and do thoughtless things that can cause hurt feelings. Some two-word cures—“I’m sorry,” “forgive me,” and “yes, dear”—come in handy.
6. Listen to your spouse! Even if you know or think you know what your dear one is going to say, listen with your ears and heart so you can understand and see things from the other’s perspective.
7. Being loving is always better than being “right.” (This one was especially hard for me because I think I am always right!) Try not to be the one who has to have the last word in an argument or in any kind of disagreement.
8. Remind each other of the things you love about each other. The “sandwich approach” often worked for my husband and me, so try this in times of disagreement. Name three things you love about the other person, mention the complaint, end with three more things you love about the other person.
9. Allow your mutual love to empower you for service to God and others. The world needs more “love power.” Let yours shine!
10. Live with the end in mind. Life is a short and beautiful ride. Think of how you want to remember your life together when one of you is called home to the Lord. Live in gratitude.
Remember, my friends, you are not alone. You are not the only people who have ever married. When necessary, seek out the wisdom of others. Know that you are loved, and love is my constant prayer for you! Thank you for sharing your joy!