A dear friend of mine was doing a bible study as part of his Sunday School class assignment on the subject of what makes a marriage grow and get better and what are the factors that bind it together over a long period of time? In other words,….What is it that holds a good marriage all together?
He called me and asked if I would give him some input based upon my personal experience from my own “fairy-tale, story-book marriage” which developed and lasted for more than 42 years. Although it was not a record by any stretch of the imagination, its quality and its longevity qualified it to be an out-of-the-ordinary really great marriage by today’s standards!
I told my friend that I would have to think about what I could say,…and that I would get back with him in a few days with my answer to his request. The more I pondered what I could say, the more my emotions and my heart were twisted and torn apart to the point I could not keep mentally focused on my subject of discussion. The pain of losing my bride still hurt too much to dwell on my loss. Although it has been three and one-half years since she succumbed after losing her five year battle to the adversary, cancer, and she went “home” to be with the Lord Jesus in heaven, it still seems like only yesterday that I held her in my arms, gazed deep into her bright blue penetrating eyes, and soaked in the brilliant smile across her beautiful face. I can still see her so clearly in my mind every time I think about her. After spending over forty-two years with the same person, you know them just as plainly as you know yourself.
Time passes quickly. It has been several months since my friend requested my input regarding what were the secret ingredients that held my marriage together over a relatively long period of time. Since I was going to document these “secrets to having a long and happy marriage” in response to my friend’s request, I decided to prepare them in such a way that they could be published on my website.
They are herewith given to you members with a two-fold purpose. They can be used for the express and intended purpose of some“words of wisdom” that may prove helpful to other married couples who are looking for that special something that can add some pizazz to an already pretty good marriage. Better yet, they can become some “words of correction” designed to provide some guidance for necessary changes needed to be immediately made to pull an on-the-ropes, ready-to-be- terminated-marriage which is presently writhing in its death throes, out of the pit and put it back onto lasting solid ground, and thereby save it!
The basic foundation building block of any long term marital agreement,…the single one thing that is a prerequisite condition in order for the marriage to grow and last for a long time and become a more beautiful, respectful, and increasing blessing for both the husband and the wife,…would be that the couple is deeply “in love” with one another before the marriage ceremony takes place.
I personally believe that the spouses-to-be must be each other’s very best friend. If they don’t start their marriage out as best friends, the days ahead and all of the adjustments that eventually have to be made are going to be most difficult for them to negotiate, put into effect, and overcome. The two people need to really like each other too. “Liking” a person is a prerequisite to “loving” that very same person. If two people begin their serious relationship really liking each other,…then over time, coupled with togetherness, they can grow into totally loving their mate.
If you want to guarantee that your marriage will last, then both partners need to know for absolute certain that this one person they are choosing as a soul mate is indeed the “ONE” that they want to share the remainder of their life with,…that they want to share themselves and all that they believe in with,…that they want to serve and care for them until death do they part.
Now please understand, I am not trying to sound melodramatic here. When the newness and the excitement of being newly married and the honey-mooning and spooning settle down or even wear off, when the growing pains of living your life together with another person and their habits (good and bad that you never realized or even completely ignored) begin to surface, when their idiosyncrasies and personal social manners and hygiene need lots of work,…are you still willing to help each other work out those differences in a calm, safe, and engaging manner? I am telling you that if you marry someone before these described feelings and understandings are properly in place within your own mind, then there is a very great possibility that the underpinnings of the marriage very well may disintegrate.
For the marriage to grow, to become more and more of a love relationship as the days and years pass by, there simply has to be:
(1) A loving caring willingness to serve the other partner.
(2) A burning desire to care for and protect your lifelong mate.
(3) A selfless predisposition to overlook and forgive the inappropriate and sometimes unkind words and actions that your spouse may, from time to time, use or take.
In other words, the partners to the marriage contract have to resolve in their own minds (before they get married) that they individually are going to carefully listen to and completely understand what they are agreeing to do as stated within the marriage vows. Then they must insure that they are willing to spend the rest of their lives doing exactly what they publicly declared they would do on their wedding day before each other, before God, and before other witnesses. Such an achievement absolutely requires both of the partners be people of integrity,….be people whose word(s) are good….be people who knew what they said and are willing to live out their words over the rest of their life!.
The single Most Powerful Life Force,….The Secret of all Accomplished Success,…The Key to Lasting Peace and Happiness in all activities and relationships,…The bedrock foundation of having a Lasting and Improving Marriage for a very long and prosperous time can be summed up in two simple words…Jesus Christ.
Without the power of spiritual faith, belief, trust, and obedience in the hearts, minds, and lives of both the husband and the wife, the marriage commitment will remain weak and stagger in a position of great danger. There just seems to be far too many distractions, temptations, opportunities, and situations that arise in the course of living your life that can and will spell catastrophe for the marriage relationship. A person cannot look anywhere without seeing or being forced to witness the wanton and blatant display of sexuality, nudity, addictions, and lewd and immoral behavior all throughout our society, the media that serves it, and its current pop culture.
God is very explicit regarding the marriage agreement and the blood covenant consummated through the sexual union of such an agreement. The consummation activity carries with it a great and very mysterious binding power of the “togetherness factor” that arises between the two parties involved. The loss of individual virginity is to occur only in the marriage bed.
Once that blood covenant and therefore that marital relationship is broken regardless of the cause, it can never go back together the way God originally intended it to be. This accompanying loss of strength of the covenant can weaken the foundation of the marriage to such a point that it well may never recover. That is the exact reason it is part of the marriage vows. You are vowing to keep yourself only for your spouse and no other man or woman! Your word is either good or it isn’t! You either mean what you say or you don’t…..there is no middle ground….there is no compromise or exception. That is why the marriage vow must at all times ring loud and clear within the inner ear of each of the marriage partners….and keep ringing “till death do you part!”
The Secret is for each of the partners to be as completely selfless as is humanly possible. You don’t have to have “your way” all of the time. Whenever possible submit yourself to the wants and needs of your spouse. DO NOT ARGUE WITH ONE ANOTHER! Mutual willingness to compromise by definition means that neither person gets their entire choice much of the time.
Of course, there will be differences of opinion,…likes and dislikes,… differing preferences and favorites,….but don’t ever allow any disagreements to escalate into hard-headed, unyielding personal positions that cannot be calmly and respectfully discussed and resolved to the best interests of all parties concerned.
Consideration for the other partner is an absolute must. It is always better to yield to the desires of the other in order to keep peace at the forefront of your personal relationship. Just remember…you don’t always have to be right! And you don’t always have to win…in order to win!
Include your spouse in the major decisions that have to be made regarding your entire family. At least offer to include them and seek their personal input before reaching a final conclusion. The important thing here is that all members of the family must be made to feel that they are an integral and important contributing part to the decisions and actions taken in which they are to participate.
As soon as a person perceives or begins to feel like they are no longer an active participant…they will simply quit trying to participate and go out and find another game in which they can actively participate. Never alienate anyone who does not need to be alienated!
Treat your mate with the highest personal respect, always keeping in mind that real RESPECT has to be earned. It can never be demanded. You as a human being will really only TRUST a person whom you first totally RESPECT. I will say it again,…always treat your spouse with total respect.
Always keep your self (1) physically highly desirable and (2) romantically attractive. Stay in good physical shape and condition. Always practice good clean personal hygiene. While it may be socially acceptable to be able to “pinch-an-inch” you never want to let your physique slip to the point where you are able to “grab-a-slab.” If you are overweight and out of shape, make appropriate changes immediately. Stop procrastinating. Begin exercising and cut back on your caloric intake! Lose that unwanted weight!
Remember, a well-loved wife is always a happy-wife. Keep the romance of your marriage alive and well! Never, for any reason, come off of your honeymoon! At the very minimum take at least one week end a month for just the two of you,…alone…in some uninterrupted, quiet, secluded, and very intimate place. Turn your total undivided attention toward unselfishly loving and serving your spouse. This can and will be some of the most valuable time and money you may ever invest into your marriage relationship.
As a side note,…particularly to the man,…most (not all) men’s physical love language is personal “Physical Touch.” Usually not so for women! Learn your mate’s love language and devote significant quantities of time and energy into communicating with them using their own love language! Is it “Words of Affirmation,” is it “Quality Time,” is it “The Giving/Receiving of Gifts,” is it “Acts of Service,” is it Physical Touch”?…you need to figure this out, and then act on it.
Follow God’s instruction to never let the sun go down being angry with your mate! Always settle any differences between you and your spouse before the sun sets.
I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS…Kiss your spouse many times during each and every day. Tell your spouse how much you really do love them, every time you get an opportunity to tell them. Those precious three words…“I Love You” can never be spoken too much or too often! One other thing….Hugs are always very good and very welcome. May I suggest no less than three love hugs a day between you and your spouse…there doesn’t have to be a special reason for the giving or receiving of a big hug. Proper physical touch always communicates “Love” to the parties giving or receiving the hug.
The most powerful word in the English language is “YES.” It fits nearly all occasions, and always carries with it more positive benefits than does its counterpart…“no”…Use it as often as is humanly possible.
And finally,…NEVER, under any circumstances…permit the “D” word (divorce) to flow out of your mouth and off of your lips. Never speak it! Of course there will be times of trouble and trials. There will be difficulties and disagreements….But….you resolve them peaceably between yourselves. Don’t run home to mom and dad to get the resolution to any existing problems. You are both adults. You sit down together with your mate and intelligently discuss the challenges and solve the problems. Forgiveness and love just as Jesus Christ showed to you,…are to be the watch words of a happy and amiable resolution to any problems,…past, present, or future.
Learn to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable….Why? Because over 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ did just that for you!
Remember…NEVER COME OFF OF YOUR HONEY-MOON!
All great and good things in all of God’s Creation always get better with the passage of time!
Have a Great Forever……………………….