I was an idiot when I got married. Before those of you who know me blow up the comment section of this blog with reminders that I am still an idiot . . . yes, I know that . . . but I was an even bigger idiot back then.
I vividly remember the evening when I stood mesmerized at the front of Memorial Chapel in Lake Junalusk, NC, watching that beautiful girl in white float down the aisle. I was 22. she was 20. Both of us were still young enough to think we knew everything, and this marriage thing seemed easy.
Like I said, I was an idiot. Of course, I got one thing right – I picked the right girl, and that has been my saving grace during these last 17 years. She has been patient with me and gracious to me as I have tried to figure out what it means to be a good husband for her.
This week I read THIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE by Cindi McMenamin entitled WHAT I’VE LEARNED AFTER 25 YEARS OF MARRIAGE. There are some gems in this article. Things like:
- #4 – God must come first, then spouse, then the children. And this order can easily get reversed.
- #11 – Not EVERYTHING needs to be talked through. (This was a difficult one for me, at first.)
- #20 – God is even more committed to my marriage than I am.
McMenamin got me thinking – it hasn’t always been pretty . . . but I have learned some things about marriage over the years. Here are a few that stand out:
- Marriage is comprised of seasons. Some are warm and sunny and carefree. Others are chillier. That’s okay. The important thing is to grow during the warm times, and to recognize when things become chilly . . . so that they never regress to Arctic climates.
- Alone time (as a couple) walking on the beach can cure what ails you.
- A pregnant wife never thinks she is beautiful. The husband of a pregnant wife always thinks she is beautiful.
- Words matter more than you might think in marriage. It is never enough to respect, admire, cherish, or even submit to your spouse. He or she needs to regularly hear you express the depth of your feelings.
- Actions matter, too. It is never enough to tell your spouse how much you respect, admire, or cherish him or her. He or she needs to regularly see the proof of your words.
- One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to regularly relive the “story of us”. Go back and remember how you fell in love, and purposefully rekindle the flames.
- You cannot change your spouse. You cannot control your spouse either. Everyone thinks they can at first . . . but it does not work.
- There is no magic formula for communication in marriage. The greatest miracle in God’s design for marriage is that He takes two completely different people and knits them into one. Learning to communicate is a huge part of that process.
- Laughter is the fuel to a joyous marriage. Laugh as often as possible.
- Your spouse is the best ally you’ve got. Never forget that.
This is just a small sample of the lessons of the past 17 years – just enough to get you to think about lessons you have learned. Ponder it. (Don’t forget to click the link and read Cindi McMenamin‘s excellent blog.)
And then comment below – What are the top lessons YOU have learned during your marriage? Let’s compile a list and use them as a sequal, or continuation, or this one.