On May 31 this year, my wife and I celebrated 30 years of marriage, but has it always been great? It’s hard to believe we’ve reached this milestone. It feels like we just celebrated 25 years together and now 30.
Let me start by saying that I am blessed to have married a woman who carries herself with class and exemplifies the nature of God, love and grace. She gets me and loves me well and I’m blessed beyond what I deserve, but she is not perfect. Lois could (I hope 😉 ) highlight some of my better qualities, but I am not a piece of cake to live with either…and don’t you ask her why 😀
You see, we are broken vessels, marred and scarred by circumstances and relationships. At times we define ourselves by all this “stuff” we go through. As much as we would like it not to be so, and to not allow circumstances to define us, they simply do. It is important not to allow circumstances alone to define us, but that’s a topic for another blog.
After 30 years married, occasionally my wife and I will hear younger couples or singles say, “wow you guys, I want to have a relationship like yours” – “#relationshipgoals“. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I do have a great relationship and we truly are honored to hear such comments. Most people, however, judge our relationship by what they see on the outside. They do not see the scars of relational battles and challenges we had to face that bruised our souls.
Most of us enjoy watching what we love and desire. Like a good show on TV, we can sit back, grab the popcorn and raise the volume. It is nice to acknowledge those who have seemingly achieved a level of success in their lives. Honestly though, we typically do not realize the blood, sweat and tears endured in order to reach the level we so aspire to, as we watch them.
At the movies, they usually show us previews meant to whet our appetite for upcoming blockbusters. Some look good for the 2-3 minute preview, but I’ve found many movies poorly scripted and disappointing when I finally see it. What others may aspire to as they watch us or other couples, is but the preview, the highlights from many years of adjustments, giving and taking and learning from each other.
So here are some key things we do.
Relationships take hard work, dedication and commitment. Money well invested produces riches and helps individuals achieve status. Likewise, marital relationships require adequate investment. Without investing in our spouse, the concept of a happy marriage, is just a concept. So do what works best for your couple. Whether going out for a dinner date, a movie, walks or whatever you enjoy doing together, just invest.
2. Be on the same page spiritually
Marriages without God at the center are like buildings without foundations smack in the middle of tornado alley. In order to survive the onslaught of the devil on marriages and the societal bombardment of the values we hold dear, we must have a strong foundation based on our relationship with God and what He says about relationships.
My wife and I have experienced our own share of tornadoes, but thankfully we are both rooted in God’s Word and His love for us. Spiritual health did not prevent the storms from coming, but because we were grounded, we did not disintegrate. Invest in the care of your foundation and core beliefs and your marriage relationship will not fall to ruins when the storms of life hit hard, ’cause believe me, they will come.
Not holding a grudge for the wrong done to us is one of the hardest battles to win, period. Jesus said that it is impossible for offenses not to come (Luke 17:1) and He continued and affirmed that we are to forgive, not only if it feels good but always.
Forgiveness is the right and godly thing to do, even if it is difficult. You see, our desire for revenge should never take precedence over the truth of forgiveness. The Bible, in fact, exhorts us to forgive, just as we have been forgiven but also in order to be forgiven ourselves. (Matthew 6:14-15) As couples, what and how much we forgive our partner is up to each spousal partner. Whatever the choice, unforgiveness will keep the offender as well as the perpetrator in a prison of their own making. Forgiveness, instead, will produce freedom and a clear conscience. Let’s practice forgiveness!
We must learn to love our spouses, fully and without reservation. We also must love like God loves us; sacrificially, without conditions, partiality or judgment. Just as faith without works is dead, love without action is the same. Love is more than a platonic sentiment, love is a verb and it is best demonstrated with action.
The sacred union of marriage and the value of this God ordained relationship is under attack and its foundations are quickly being eroded. As biblical believers and God honoring couples, we must invest in our spouses and demonstrate we are not happy just when things are going perfectly; rather, in spite of our differences as man and woman, God completes our love for each other.
A happy marriage is possible, but there is much more than meets the eye. So next time you see a couple you aspire to be like, remember there is more underneath the surface than meets the eye…they have paid a price. Are you willing to?
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.