Today marks 13 years of the marriage journey with Sarah. Along the way we have made our way through a lot. Some challenging times like the death of my dad, and many joy filled times like the birth of our children. As I look back over the years there are a few things I have found to be key to our marriage. On this anniversary day I thought I would share them with you all.
The Most Important Earthly Relationship
Our lives are filled with relationships of various forms and intensity. The family relationships we have we are born into. The work relationships we share we do not always choose. Many other relationships are outside of our control. The relationship with our spouse is a relationship we choose, unless you are in a culture of arranged marriage. This choice is not simply about who we will share life with, This is not a choice about our sex life. This is a choice which shows who is our most important earthly relationship. There should be no other relationship of earth more important than the relationship to our spouse. This includes, our parents, our children, our friends, etc.. A key to marriage is not only remembering this to be true but having all your practice of life reflect this truth.
I cannot tell you the number of boneheaded things I have done during the course of our marriage. The joy is, neither can Sarah. There is not a scorecard being kept of boneheaded actions. However when I mess up I know there needs to be a seeking of forgiveness, and when our spouses mess up we must be ready to offer forgiveness. Some actions are more difficult to forgive than others, still the must be forgiveness for a marriage to flourish. Part of forgiveness is not keeping a record of the times each other has messed up.
People far smarter than I am have studied marriages over the long haul. One of the most common thoughts among long-term marriages is the idea that people had married up. Not only the thought of marrying up, but conducted their lives and treated their spouses accordingly. I am so blessed that God placed Sarah and I together, and I have to acknowledge that I do not deserve such a blessing as being married to her. The times when I forget this are the times we have rough patches in our marriage. When we view and treat our spouse as an undeserved gift from God it changes our relationship for the better.
Marriage is not always easy. I do not know how people who do have God at the center of their lives and marriage pull it off. I am not talking about merely having God as companion in a life and marriage, I am talking about having a life and marriage that is fused with God. Fusion is the process of two things coming together to make one. Our lives must be fused with God to experience all that God has for us. To find comfort, joy, and love we must have our lives become one with God. The same is true of our marriages. We must take our fused lives and and fuse them with God. Once fusion takes place something new is created that is greater than the sum of the parts. Marriages often struggle because we refuse to lose ourselves in God and the other person for fear of losing who we are. A key to a deep and fulfilling marriage is allowing ourselves to be fused to our spouse and with God.
Not much explanation needed. For any relationship to thrive we need to have fun with those we are in relationship with.
Great marriages do not just happen, they take effort. The effort is not always difficult, still there needs to be effort put in to develop a marriage of great value. This is more than the occasional trip away, or attending a conference here and there. Those things are important and should be done. It is the daily work which is most important and bears the most fruit. We must be willing to put in the effort.
Enjoy Time Together
Last, enjoy time together on a regular basis. Call it date night or what every you want. Relationships take regular time invested.
There is so much more that goes into a great marriage but these are some keys I have learned over the 13 years I have journeyed with Sarah and have been blessed. May they be a blessing to you.