Lets face it, not everything lasts. Flowers fade, clothes wear out, shoes get outgrown, toys break, LEGO masterpieces get accidentally smashed, clean houses get messy again (sometimes frighteningly fast!) and fads come & go.
We live in a disposable culture. You can find almost anything you can imagine in a one-time-use variety. From plates & cups to medical supplies to socks & underwear. Use & toss, it’s so convenient!
But what about things that were meant to last? It seems like even relationships– marriages– are expendable. It’s all good, so long as you make me happy, we can float along. Life isn’t all happy, though, the sad/bad/mad times come. What then? Can we live counter-culturally? Is an indispensable marriage possible? How do we build a lasting marriage in a world where nothing lasts?
Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Keep God at the center of your marriage (pray, study and discuss God’s Word together)
2. Be humble (Admit it when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness)
3. Forgive (not always the easy thing but always the right thing)
4. Give the benefit of the doubt (“A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence”)
5. Never assume (it makes a you-know-what out of you & me)
6. Be on the same team (cheer for each other & back each other up)
7. Watch your words to and about each other (that sticks & stones rhyme is a lie)
8. Keep short accounts (deal with stuff the day it happens not “later”)
9. Keep on flirting & dating (each other, of course!)
10. Laugh together (laughter is the best medicine after all)
“Wow, Heidi,” you might be saying, “how did you get so wise?” Here is the secret…I’m not! I did not figure those out for myself and I am not really good at any of them. “So what makes you think it will work?” is your next question.
The proof is in the pudding, says I. These are my parents. Today is their 37th wedding anniversary. Everything on that list I learned from them, whether they said it, taught it or just lived it. They are not perfect, nor is their marriage perfect but they are willing to work for a marriage that is lasting.
I guess that is the secret, really. Things that last take work. It takes keeping on in the hard times and enjoying the good times. It takes getting up every day and choosing to love your spouse, choosing to begin again, choosing to “press toward the mark” (Phil 3:14) and realizing it is all possible only by the grace of God.
Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!