Ecclesiastes 4:12-Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. NKJV
It’s good to be blogging again. My husband and I visited Jamaica to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary, and I decided to just totally relax and enjoy our time together. While we were on vacation, I received a text from someone who said that we should consider writing a book or doing a podcast about marriage. Maybe someday, but not yet!
That caused me to think about the things that have helped us to have a successful marriage, and today I want to open up a little and share some of the things we have practiced.
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Our relationship has been centered in Christ. At our wedding, my husband shared how God supernaturally brought us together, and I can assure you that God has kept us together. Growing up, neither of us was a witness to a thriving marriage. On our second date, it was a big conversation that we had. We were physically attracted to one another, but we were also spiritually attracted to one another. We believed that if we were going to make it for the long haul, we needed Jesus to be at the center of our marriage.
We agreed that we would always worship together. We attend church together every week, even today. Whenever one of us is not at church together, the other person is out of town or sick. And that is rare because we don’t like to be separated! We agreed in the beginning that we would listen to teaching tapes (before Youtube) and find a married couple’s ministry to participate in. And we did! We gained valuable insights that enabled us to navigate the waters of building our lives together. Eventually, we hosted married couples in our homes with the express purpose of encouraging each other in the journey of marriage and taught a Sunday School class for married couples.
Another thing that we decided on before we married was to never argue in front of our children. I told him how I witnessed my parents fighting, which traumatized me. He had similar experiences, so we agreed that when we were upset about something, it would be discussed privately, without yelling or attacking each other. (Things we learned from those tapes and marriage books). We kept to this!
When we were becoming upset in front of the kids, we would stop the conversation and take it up later or realize it wasn’t worth the battle. In other words, we learned to pick our battles! And we never argued in front of other people! Disagreed, yes; argued, no way!
My husband and I were with another couple heading to an event. They got into an argument and began using profanity and calling each other names. We tried to suggest that this was not good for their marriage, but they ignored us. And they eventually divorced. We really do have to watch our words with each other!
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
If you speak life into each other and your marriage, you will experience a healthy marriage. If you speak negative words or death over your marriage, you will end up miserable or divorced. Watch your words! Criticizing your spouse is a sure way to kill a marriage! Making jokes at their expense is painful. Using threats and manipulation to control one another is selfish! Love and respect are key to a strong marriage (See Ephesians 5).
So what happens when we don’t agree? Because we have not always agreed with each other! When we have a disagreement and things get heated, we step away from each other and the conversation. After we have had time apart, we come back together and discuss it without our emotions flying all over the place. And during that time, God has usually dealt with us, letting us know that we have to apologize or forgive. I know this sounds super spiritual, but it isn’t! It’s the way we do life! Do I always want to apologize? No! Do I always feel like obeying the Word? No! But we are committed to treating each other with respect and love, and according to the word of God, so we do the things that foster that type of environment!
Holding grudges, telling everybody about our disagreements, and talking about each other in a negative light are not things we cultivate! I tell people we aren’t perfect, but we are perfect for each other and have learned to respect and support each other!
Another thing we did was to raise our kids together. It wasn’t me raising the kids and him providing for the family. It was a together relationship. We were involved in helping them with their schoolwork. Because he has an engineering background, he helped them with math and science, and I handled reading and writing. That worked for us! I attended field trips and helped at their school when I was an at-home mom, but when I returned to the workforce, he went to the schools. We enjoyed spending time with our kids. We took family vacations whenever we could and spent a lot of time with them during their growing-up years. We took them to church, encouraged them to serve the Lord, and talked with them about God and their lives in Christ! Do we get along perfectly all the time? We don’t! But we love each other!
When our oldest daughter turned 12, we started having date nights. Every Friday night! We’ve been having them for over 20 years! After 6 days on vacation, we still had our date night. Our daughters plan their Fridays knowing we won’t be around for dinner. Family members, friends, and co-workers know Friday is our date night. Honoring this time together is our way of letting each other know that we value our marriage and each other enough to make this a priority in our life.
Recently, my youngest daughter accused me of being spoiled. She even calls me the passenger princess because my husband always drives when we are together. We taught them as little girls that our relationship with them was important, but so was our relationship with one another. I love them seeing their daddy treat me in this manner. He is a great model of what to look for in a husband, and their our greatest testimony of the life we have lived together in Christ!
We are together and happy because we made a decision over 36 years ago to keep Jesus at the center of our relationship. We chose to obey His commandments regarding our life together. In Him, we have experienced ups and downs, good times and tough times, but we weather the storms of life because we stay anchored in Him. He’s the third cord of our relationship!
My heart still sings the same song today it sang 36 years ago. Only God could love him more! Although our girls give me quite the challenge with who loves him more. Not quite a book, but just a few tips that have kept us “together in Him”!
If you are married, make Jesus and His word the center of your relationship! Build it on the Rock of our salvation, and you will weather the storms of life. If you are single, don’t do life with someone who won’t do it with you and Jesus. They aren’t worth it in the long run. If you are divorced, don’t beat yourself up wishing and wondering; just continue to live and love Jesus! Be encouraged single or together in Christ! Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote our text for today! Wonderful Jesus!