We are home! It was such a wonderful time with my husband. This vacation taught us so much about God and each other. Over the next several weeks I will share some of the lessons learned through creation and I promise to share some pictures. (I only took about 300+!!) But this morning I wanted to share with you about something I realized about my marriage.
As we were on vacation and got to talking with various people and couples they all had the same question. "What is the secret to staying married for 25 years? And being happy about it!"
The question often brought a smile to my face because it says a lot. Many couples do stay together for 25+ years, but they aren't happy. So what is the difference? What makes a marriage last, grow, and filled with love. My first response would be a mutual commitment to God and one another, and yet sadly statistics would not back that statement up. For recent surveys show that divorce is just as high in the church as outside the church. And I know plenty of Christian marriages that are not filled with a growing, deeper love for one another. So what IS the difference?
Keith and I talked quite a bit about this. What have we done to grow deeper in love? What have we learned along the way that has helped us not only stay together but grow together? As I've pondered those questions I believe God has give me some insight to share.
First of all it IS all about commitment to God and one another! A commitment, a promise, and a vow that I will stay beside you, love you, and encourage you no matter what life may bring. Keith and I decided very early in our marriage that the word divorce or separation would never be an option, we would always work through our differences.
Marriage is about serving your mate, being Christ to them. Putting their needs above your own. It's about praying for one another and with eachother. Learning to laugh together. Learning to talk heart to heart. My husband was not good at this, and didn't really like to talk on a heart level, but I patiently taught him how important it was. (OK! OK! sometimes I wasn't so patient) but the point being that we can teach one another what is needed. I was able to, over time, teach my husband the art of effective communication. He has taught me that sometimes we need to just let eachother process our thoughts and feelings before spilling out all my emotionally stuff!
I have learned to be joyful and content in my role as his help meet. Yes it was a long process to get here, and yes, there are days I struggle. But quite honestly the days I fail, the days I try to "rule the roost" I have gone to God and my husband for forgiveness. I am willing to call it what it is - disobedience. After doing that a few thousand times you do finally get it!! :-)
Keith has learned to love, cherish and lead our family. But please hear me on this, our husbands will only lead when we let them. I hear so many women complain that their husbands don't lead. My question is always, "Are you letting them?" Ladies we need to be obedient to God and allow our husbands to lead, even if that means letting him fail. God will deal with his heart. God will mold him into the man He desires. I can not be the Holy Spirit in my husbands life. I can not change him, only God can. And like wise Keith has learned that only God can change me. So we have given eachother room to make mistakes, to fail and allow God to do a work in us and through us.
We are friends. We spend time together. We have always made family time and couple time a priority. We talk and talk and talk through those things that we are struggling with. We share our hopes, dreams, disappointments, failures and sin with one another.
We recognize that marriage is HARD work. A good marriage doesn't just happen, you have to work at it. It has to be important enough to you that you are willing to sacrifice daily for the continued health of it. You can't let your children, your parents, or your girlfriends come before your husband. After God he is your first priority. God give me to my husband to be his help meet and that means to come along side him and help him.
Please don't read this and think I have a perfect marriage or perfect husband. Neither of us are perfect, but we have made our relationship to one another a priority over every other relationship. We have worked hard at it, and not given up. We have stood in the mud together (and most likely threw mud at eachother) but then we help with the clean up.
My husband and I both are committed to our Lord and I know that your circumstance could be different making it more difficult. But as a Christian wife we are still called into obedience to God regardless of whether or not our husbands are Christians.
I am blessed and so thankful to God for my marriage, and my husband. May God alone be glorified!