Build a lasting marriage on "we" instead of "me"

Blog. Bride. groom. 5.15Ask any bride or groom what they want from their marriage and they'll answer, "A happy marriage. One that lasts.

"I just want to make him--or her--happy."

On that happy day it's love, love, love all the way.

You'd never hear one or the other proclaiming to their guests, "Once this day is over it's ME FIRST all the way!"

That attitude kills love as surely as Roundup kills weeds. 

After every wedding comes a marriage

Over time it's easy to forget those promises and become wrapped up in ourselves and our own needs.

  • The rosy glow of the wedding fades and real life takes over.
  • No matter how well we knew each other before, being married strips away any remaining illusions. 
  • Day-after-day responsibilities wear us down.

Then there's the bottom line. We simply don't have it in us to be always sweet, loving and unselfish. 

We are human beings. Even believers saved in Christ and redeemed in Christ remain imperfect. 

As the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 7:18-19 (NLT):

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

I heard Paul's words in my mind every time I "forgot" to be the kind of wife I wanted to be.  

After a long day, we're too exhausted to think--or care--about the needs of our husband or wife. 

Then it's easy to give in to the "me first" mode.

Yet Jesus loves us! Here's the rest of the story, from John 3:16-17 (ESV):

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Tender plants need nurturing; so does a marriage

Most marriages can survive spells when one or the other spouse is under pressure and has no time--or energy--for nurturing. If it drags on long-term the marriage may endure, but the joy will slowly seep out of it.   

No wife wants to be neglected. Neither does any husband.

If we want a strong marriage we're called to care more about our marriage and our spouse than having our own way.

This is not to say one spouse always "wins" and the other "loses." It's more about attitude, how we think and how we speak--kindly and considerately or abruptly and absent-mindedly.

Easy to do? Never.

Is it worth it? Always.

Old wisdom that's still true

On the day my husband and I were married a sweet little lady gave me some advice: 

"Dearie, treat him like a king and he'll treat you like a queen."

If that sentence makes you see red because you think it's unfair and one-sided, consider this: Most husbands give back what they get.

So do most wives. 

(Can I hear an Amen?)

Besides, who among us wouldn't like to live the life of a queen? Or a king?

Three simple principles

The story goes that someone found this carved on a tree at a Christian campground. I can't think of a better formula for maintaining a happy marriage:

  • God before we 
  • We before you
  • You before me

Jesus said much the same thing in Mark 12:30-31:

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8  ESV

This much I know for sure 

In every situation, every time of life, every day, we can rejoice in what is, or we can bemoan what's missing.

Always, we get to choose. And our choices dictate what comes next.

Learning, always, 

Lenore


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