Friday, August 4, 2017

Longevity in Marriage!

Twenty-one years.  We have been married twenty-one years today.

In so many ways it feels like a long time, and in so many others it doesn’t.  Little things and daily life add up to consecutive hours and days add up to years. Time is the real constant and change is the expected norm.

Visions of garden walks while holding hands, dinners never left to grow cold because of late work meetings, and lazy Saturdays spent cuddling and watching movies all day are replaced over time with the real life truth of chasing the dangerously fast toddler out of the road, eating cold cereal because no one went to the grocery store, and endless car loads of kids being transferred to and from countless practices.

No marriage that I am aware of is a bed of roses.  There’s a mix of bitter and sweet, sometimes more bitter than sweet.  But oh I’m so thankful that we had a good foundation. 

The reality is that without Christ at the center of our marriage, I have no idea how we would have made it.  Literally.  We both have had our moments where we just didn’t know why we had to work so hard to make it work, and yet that’s just what we did.  We had to.

Early on, before we even exchanged our vows, we established a couple of dogmatic principles.  These were "non-negotiables" and we both agreed to them.  This by the way is the perfect time to do this because you can’t imagine ever being upset with this person who is making you so incredibly happy.

Our "non-negotiables" were:
  • There would never ever be the threat of divorce.  Divorce was not an option.
  • We would not go to sleep upset with each other. We would do what we had to do to work through our disagreements so that we didn’t go to bed angry.

Let me say this is not a prescription. I can't guarantee that these things will hold your marriage together, I'm expressing what I believe has been important to our success.

Also, before I keep writing, I want everyone to be clear – this is not a treatise on divorce.  I am not giving an opinion for or against, I’m only saying that we took it off the table as a negotiating tool or weapon in the midst of argument.  I knew that I could lay it all out for my husband when I was upset without feeling like he would turn around and walk out on me. This was the best thing for our communication to be honest.  Hard, but so important for my security.

The part about not going to bed angry was huge too.  There have been some very late nights in our marriage.  I am an emotional person, and sometimes I just get upset because I know I’m right – tell me I’m not alone.  We have made ourselves work through disagreements even when it’s difficult.  Again, this has been incredibly good for us because it required honesty and both of us being involved 100% to work out our differences.

So tonight, I sit and type after reflecting on twenty-one years today.  We juggled work, haircuts, orthodontist appointments and soccer practice tonight so our kids went to the grocery store, bought all the food and prepared the dinner for us tonight since we won’t be able to go to celebrate until this weekend.

I can’t ask for more than that in reality.  The years have been filled with happiness and pain, with pennies rubbed together and with abundance, with a mixture of highs and lows and tonight I marvel at how God has been at work through it all.  To be able to sit with my family all together and eat dinner as a celebration of God’s faithfulness in our marriage makes it all worth it.  It’s a special night and God is good.  He’s been good through all of it and for that I’m grateful.  I have so much more than I deserve.

I pray that you’ll keep Him at the center of your marriage, and your family.  As your children watch you put Christ first in all your decisions, they will be benefitted greatly by the influence of your walk matching your talk.  They are watching and they are catching lessons that we may not even know.  Help them catch the right ones and then thank Him for those blessings!

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