A few days ago I shared “5 Things We Would Do Differently In Our Marriage If We Started Over.” I got some great feedback and comments, both on and off the blog from friends.
In today’s post, I am sharing “5 Things We Are Glad We Started From Day One of Marriage.” We celebrate 13 years of marriage in a few weeks, and below are 5 patterns that helped us lovingly make it to year 13!
5 Things We Are Glad We Started From Day One of Marriage
1. We established boundaries with men and women of the opposite sex.
We are freaks about this. We want to live above reproach and avoid temptation of any and all kinds (see this previous post on avoiding sexual temptation). We don’t drive together with someone of the opposite sex, other than each other. We never have meals, meetings, or travel alone with someone of the opposite sex, and we know each other’s passwords for all social media and email accounts. There is nothing I am afraid of Kristen finding and vice versa.
1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” In other words, don’t think you won’t give in to temptation and make sure you do whatever you can to avoid a fall.
Have you ever taken the time to discuss opposite sex relationships and boundaries? There is too much at stake to mess around. I’d encourage you to have some significant, hard conversations with your spouse/fiancé/boyfriend/girlfriend about this one.
2. We understand, embrace, and celebrate our differences.
Kristen and I couldn’t be much more different from one another in pretty much every way. Despite our differences, we have never allowed them to cause extended conflict. To be clear, our differences have led to frustration, confusion, and some conflict, but since day one we have taken steps to quickly resolve any differences. We have also learned how to embrace our differences and celebrate them. I appreciate her quirks and vice versa.
1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
What can you do, today, to better live with one another in an understanding way? What are some conversations you can have or steps you can take to better understand, embrace, and celebrate your differences?
3. We decided Divorce is never an option.
We made the bold statement in our vows and hundreds of times since that divorce is not, and never will be, an option.
Here are two great quotes from Bob & Carol Kraning from Pine Cove Woods Family Camp:
- “If our commitment is greater than our problem, we will always solve our problem.”
- “Lock the escape hatch” – you can walk through all kinds of hell when you are committed to one another.
Your commitment to one another creates safety in your marriage for you and your spouse and provides security and comfort for your kids, knowing you are committed to one another.
Matthew 19:6 says, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Are you committed to one another? Is divorce an option in your marriage? If so, please seek wise counsel, today. I know many of you are struggling in your marriage. Please check out re|engage and get the help you need from a Christ-centered, biblically-based ministry.
Community has played a major role our lives, both as singles and as a married couple. Our wedding vows included a promise to one another that we would always be in small group community. It is not good for man (and woman) to be alone. We need wise people around us to help provide care, encouragement, acceptance, and accountability. In addition, we need community in order to challenge us to be a better spouse, parent, friend and follower of Christ. God’s people have helped carry our burdens, celebrated our victories, and provided quality friendships along the way.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Find and surround yourselves with others who will help fight for the health of your marriage.
Do you have Christ-centered community around you? Are they helping you grow in your marriage and are you helping them grow?
5. We make romance and fun a priority.
We regularly date each other and make having fun a high priority as possible for our marriage and our family. We do a date swap with friends (they watch our kids and we watch theirs) so we save money on babysitters. We work hard to stay out of the dinner and movie date night rut/routine. We schedule dates and make them a priority.
Ecclesiastes 9:9a says, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun.”
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What can you do today to help prioritize fun in your relationship (either before or after saying “I do”) and what can you do to bring more fun into your family?
6. We serve together.
One consistent thing we have done for all 13 years of marriage has been serving together in the church. Find some way to serve together in your church or community. When you serve together, you get to see your spouse using the gifts God has given them. You grow in your marriage as you serve and pour into others.
Ephesians 6:7 says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.”
All followers of Jesus have been entrusted with certain gifts and talents which are to be used for the Lord’s purposes and for His glory.
Are you and your significant other using the gifts the Lord has entrusted to you?
I am sure there are many reasons you can add to the list, but the above five (plus the bonus one) have enabled us to honor and love one another for almost 13 years.
How about you? What are you glad you started doing from Day One of your marriage? What counsel/wisdom would you give to a premarried couple?
Photo credit: Adam Foster, on Flickr.com
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