Building a marriage that lasts

Do you realize that you and your husband (or wife) might be poster children for marriage?

After all, you cared enough to commit--and you're still married. Every day you decide again to love each other.

Blog. Older married hands. 10.11 One day at a time you keep on loving and keep on growing.

If you doubt that you've grown, take a look back. Notice how your marriage relationship has deepened and strengthened since you said, "I do.". How you have a new understanding of what it means to love your spouse.

This screams against the plot of almost every TV show and movie. If marriages are shown, most often they are depicted as troubled relationships. Married or single, people sleep around. It seems to be standard fare to include cynics and bitter divorcees as secondary figures.  

Off the screen, where are others to find a positive image of marriage if not from people like you and your spouse? 

Notice, I did not say, "perfect marriage partners."

Marriages endure not because the husband and wife are perfect, but because they love and they are willing.

Willing to forgive. 

Willing to work through the tough stuff of life together.

Willing to keep at it and try again. And again. And again.

The Apostle Paul tells us how to accomplish that:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   Ephesians 4:32                                 

Everybody has "issues." Get over it

That's a lesson many of us have to learn along the way. 

Children and singles think in terms of, "I, me and mine." As a married couple, life gets happier--for both--when each one frames life in terms of, "you, us and ours."

One day it's this person whose needs take first priority, the next it's the other. In a marriage, in a family, it's give-and-take. Without keeping score.

In a marriage, if one person always "wins," both lose.

This requires us to learn to do what may not come easily. For example, instead of harping on faults, real or imagined, we strive to commend strengths and affirm what's good.

Do we all fail? Yes. Can we fail and yet be worthy of love? Yes. Those of us who are Christians know what it means to be forgiven and loved and accepted in Christ, so it becomes a matter of passing on what we've been given.  

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8                                                                                                   

Just "being there" counts

So you're not perfect. No one is--or can be. But you are there.

When you stay, you give your kids a gift beyond price. Your children will know the balance of having a mom and a dad. Moms provide the, "Oh, be careful! You could get hurt!"

Dads say, "Aw, you'll be fine. Go for it!" 

Children do best when they grow up with that mix of caution and daring.

As you stay, you model for your children that you believe in marriage and consider your life as a family worth what it takes to keep it going. You give your kids an example that will strengthen them when they marry. 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.   1 John 4:11

You bless the people around you, too, the silent watchers

Some may be disillusioned and uncertain about marriage because they tried it and ended up divorced. Singles may think they don't want to risk because they think at some point divorce would be inevitable. 

Seize openings to come alongside, not to pressure anyone, but simply to share how God strengthens you. Tell them he supplies the love you need to forgive each other and to keep on. Your words carry weight because you are living out what you say.

This already qualifies you to encourage other couples who've hit a rough spot.

You don't need to be an expert or play games. You point them to Help when you humbly say, "My husband (or wife) and I couldn't make it if we didn't know we can lean on the Lord."

As you do, you witness to the value of marriage, but also that you belong to Christ. 

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Ephesians 4:1-2   

It's a given that no one can do this flawlessly, but in every situation, every time, we can put our hearts and our prayers into doing and saying what builds up, rather than in being proven "right." 

Lovingly,

Lenore


October 06, 2021

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