Happy anniversary to me! Today marks twenty-six years since I stood before a pastor and vowed to love, honor and obey until death.
Sadly, the duration of my marriage is remarkable to many people. My parents-in-law, celebrate 51 years in August. I know people who have been married more than 65 years.
Marriage should be a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman. Standing before the minister (or judge), the couple shouldn’t be having any thoughts about the relationship not working out.
If you’re worried it might not work out, don’t do it. If you think, “We can always get a divorce,” then marriage isn’t for you.
Consider the marriage vows. Remember that in God’s eyes it’s better to not vow at all than to vow and break it (Ecc. 5:4-5).
I didn’t choose the title of this post haphazardly. Marriage is work. Life isn’t a fairy tale. Every happily ever after in the real world requires diligence, care and mutual respect.
In other words: work.
I firmly believe that marriage involves a loving union. Without love, any relationship becomes harder to endure (think about that co-worker who made you want to quit your job). Marriage shouldn’t be a test of endurance, although sometimes it is.
Love isn’t this starry-eyes, heart-palpitating event of Hollywood movies, romance novels and prime time television. Love is a choice to put another person’s needs above your own. Love means putting your agenda in a box and throwing it out the window of a speeding car.
The thing about a successful marriage is that the two parties are more concerned about the other person’s welfare. “He likes sauerkraut so I’ll make that for dinner.” “She wants to see that new romantic comedy, so we’ll go to that instead of the action adventure I really want to see.”
When the husband wants to please his wife and the wife yearns to please her husband, both people come out ahead. There is no, “We always do this because it’s what you want to do.”
All of this requires good communication. How can the husband please the wife if she never tells him what she wants? He isn’t a mind reader. Even after 26 years, I spell out my wish list very carefully (so I don’t end up with a camera when I wanted pots and pans).
In a happy marriage, partners choose to overlook faults. For real. Not roll their eyes and text their girlfriend, “He did it again.” Not keep a secret list in the notes section on his smart phone for handy reference during the next fight.
All this communication and pleasing the other person takes effort. Like I said, a successful marriage is work. Hard work. It’s not just going to happen because “we’re married now.”
As mentioned last week, love and forgiveness go hand-in-hand into the happily ever after sunset.