Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
–1 Corinthians 13:7
Recently, I was asked to speak at the bridal shower of a dear friend. She was preparing to embark on the wacky and wonderful journey of wedded matrimony,
and her mother invited me to impart a few “helpful hints” I have gleaned in my twenty-two years of marriage. They are all things that God has me continuously striving towards on a regular basis (just to clarify that I have not yet “arrived”).
Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in Over Two Decades of Marriage:
1. Respect and love God and your spouse. What does this translate to exactly? Be your husband’s biggest fan, even when you do not feel like it. He needs you as his cheerleader, to let him know he can take on the world. Your opinion matters most. It empowers him if he knows that you believe in him.
2. Always make one another a priority. Life gets hectic but always make sure to carve out time for one another. And for those busy days, a suggestion if I may: my husband and I have kept a special journal that we write back and forth in throughout the years. It has chronicled the good, bad and the ugly days of our marriage, and helps us to remember all that we have been through together.
3. Communication: This is a big one. Always share joys, sorrows and concerns alike. Learn to use kindness when expressing yourself, especially when frustration or arguments ensue. (This takes time and loads of practice).
4. Never use the past against one another. You were and are two imperfect people who are now striving to be the best versions of you, individually and as a couple. Remember, God is making all things new. So do not allow yourselves to get stuck in the negatives of the past.
5. Always believe the best in and encourage one another as often as possible in word and in deed. Help one another to become all that you were created to be.
6. Song of Solomon 6:3 reads, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.” Becoming one is so much more than about sex. God uses this gift to keep us vulnerable. Do not shoot for perfection in your marriage but definitely shoot for intimacy. The only way to be truly intimate as you are is to be vulnerable with who you are, with what you think as well as how you feel. Always be authentically you and no one else cause this is who he loves.
7. FORGIVENESS: I’ve come to believe that this is THE most important. It is rare for me to be without words, especially when you are trying to resolve an argument because of that need to say, “Just one more thing”. This is when we think we will feel better churning up the dirt and pulling out new arguments that become painful and unproductive. Over time, I have learned that “feelings” of forgiveness follow the choice to forgive. Remember this in the days when your hubby perplexes, angers and offends you. Remember this in days where perhaps your husband has left his dirty garments on the floor yet again, a lack of good communication and/or puzzling priorities that may leave you feeling insignificant. Remember this when you feel like throwing him out on Tuesday with the trash. These are the times to learn grace and the wife of noble character will prove herself. Because these are the times when, if you would be fully loved, you must remember to love him fully. It is almost always when your love is challenged the most that it is also refined the most and shines the brightest.
8. Never lose the gift of laughter and fun. Once upon a time, you were fun people. Rediscover that. Act like children together. Remember why you fell in love.
9. Pray and seek God together as often as possible. You know the saying, ladies: the couple that prays together stays together. It has become a cliché because it is true. And don’t wait for your husband to take the lead in this. The fact that you are praying together is more important than who initiated it. God brought you together and is the only one to sustain you.
10. Always remember that you are a team. Make sure to have/cover each other’s backs through thick and thin. You have a choice: will you war against your husband, or war for him?
We are excited to welcome Denise as one of our conference speakers this Fall. A wife, mom, mental health provider, and avid boxer lover (as in dog…we think) and daughter of The King, Denise brings sweet words of truth and life to those she shares life with. Plan on joining us Sept. 30th-Oct. 1st to share in the blessing of her company!