Hey friends, how are you today? How have you been throughout the last month? What goals did you accomplish? July became an unexpectedly busier month for me, than I anticipated, but it was a good busy. Travels, family and plans to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary and the actual celebration, all conspired to rob me of time and thus something had to give. Please say you forgive me for my failure to alert you of the sudden hiatus, I took away from the blogosphere. Anyway, my friends, how are you? I’ve missed you and I know that I’ve missed several of the happenings in your lives. What’s been going on?
Twenty-eight years and counting… wow! Although I know that it’s our anniversary, I’m still surprised, at times, that we made it this far. Have I told you before, maybe a time or two or three, that I am a control freak? Yes, I do believe I’ve said so, just a couples of times. I hate surprises and I like things my way. When we celebrated our 20th anniversary, at that point I think I believed that time cemented our relationship. I believed because we had already spent so much time together this would equate to a lifelong commitment to each other. Funny, isn’t it? How easy it can be to give something the credit, rather than Someone? That belief makes for carelessness, where intentionality should count. Throughout this past year alone, I’ve had a few friends part ways; one marriage ended after almost 40 years and another after 15 years together. Therefore, time on its own cannot sustain a marriage, can it? “Familiarity breeds contempt”, or so we’ve been told. The more time spent with someone, the more their unsavory qualities are discovered. Time, time, time does not cover all sadness, disappointments, betrayals, and grief on its own. Time may just cement these emotions until they can’t be suppressed anymore and then ‘boom!’ the lid is flung into the stratosphere. In both these marriages, the men were taken by surprise when their wives left. They never saw it coming. Why? What was missing?
Complacency, that’s a word that should bring fear to our very souls, I think. Complacency: the belief that I’ve arrived, I can’t be taught because I’ve learnt all there is to learn. Or on the other end of that spectrum is the knowledge that something is wrong and say nothing and do nothing. Complacency gives up, does she not? Talk baby talk!
2022 has definitely been surprisingly hard on our marriage. I say surprisingly because as I said before, I thought time had smoothed out our wrinkles. But of course, time on its own can’t do that. Extended family’s issues caused us to realize that we had become complacent and, in my case, perhaps a bit vain in our union. Ahh vanity of vanities…pride usually goes before a fall, I’ve heard. But God…
What beauty these two words bring our lives! What comfort and peace these two words cause to flow to the very marrow of our souls. But God… Lord, how thankful I am that these two words exist. He brings beauty from ashes. He brings restoration to the broken and renews the tattered and torn. He sustains what vanity and complacency sought to destroy.
The truth is no matter how bad life appears to be; it can be worse when our we remove ourselves from the presence of God. The truth is no matter how bad life appears to be, it is never so bad that gratefulness and thankfulness should be far from us. So, in the 28 years of marriage, here are five truths I’ve learned to live by:
1. Put God first! Literally, before spouse, before the kids, before other family members, before self, before anything and anyone, put God first. Spend time daily with the Lord and talk to Him about all the concerns and fears and cares. Make Him the number one Therapist. Complain if you must about the spouse, but don’t just complain and go. Wait a minute in His presence, He will show you, you. We need that, else we become puffed up.
2. Never speak or act in anger, it profits nothing, but rather creates more problems. Don’t worry, I didn’t say it first. In fact, it is another nonnegotiable command from the Lord.
3. Talk baby talk! Talk about the important things. As women, we have the tendency to talk about everything but what really matters. Problems must be brought to the surface in order to be dealt with properly.
4. Expect the change, but don’t expect the change. I know, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s like this. Act like change has and will happen, giving the benefit of the doubt, but hold on to that loosely remembering that non is perfect and change isn’t instant.
5. Be quick to forgive, forgive, forgive. I once heard someone say, we should never treat strangers better than we treat our spouse. Believe me when I say I had to check myself. That was an Aha! Moment indeed. Again, that complacency thing…. We can sometimes take each other’s love for granted.
6. Did I say five? Here’s the 6th; Watch the thoughts, they control the actions. Be intentional in love, in service. Be prepared to give much. Lower the expectations, be thankful and complain less.
7. And lastly, be aware that because the Lord is first in our lives, does not mean that we now live a problem free life. Troubles will come, expect them. Our relationship with the Lord, allows us to put these problems in His hands and cause us to obey Him in spite of the circumstances. Time with the Lord is for our benefit as much as it is for the good of others.
The Lord has been good to us. He has kept us together. We know that marriage is the union whose purpose is to glorify God. He uses the union of two sinners, with all their quirks and faults to display love, patience, grace, and forgiveness to just name a few. What are some things you’ve learned if you are married? If you are not married, what are some things you’ve learned about yourself and about God?