Tips for a Lasting Marriage (Part 1)
This being my 20th Valentine’s Day with my husband, I want to share some of what I think makes a marriage last.
Marriage takes effort, and it’s worth working and fighting for. Every situation is different, but in most cases, marriages can survive—and thrive—with real effort. As Philip Stanhope said “Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” And as Colossians 3:23 (NIV) says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” If there was ever anything worth working at with all your heart, it’s marriage! I’ve seen couples come back from seemingly hopeless situations—through prayer, counseling, and WORK! You chose to be in love with your spouse in the first place—keep making that choice, even when it’s not easy.
When you live with and do life with someone else, they are going to make mistakes; they are going to hurt you; they are going be thoughtless and inconsiderate. So are you! And sometimes, you’re going to read between lines that aren’t there—and “make mountains out of molehills.” You’re probably going to think they are trying to hurt you when they aren’t. At the end of the day (and the beginning and the middle!), you must decide to forgive your spouse and move forward. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Couples thrive when they surround themselves with others who value marriage. It’s okay to have single friends, but make sure you also have married friends who believe in their marriages and in your marriage. If you don’t have friends like this, find some! Attend the couples class in your church and get to know them—or start a couples class/fellowship at your church. Invite another couple over for dinner. Participate in a hobby or sport with another couple. There’s no right or wrong way, just find what works for you. These people will stand in the gap for you if a time comes that you just don’t think you can keep going, and you’ll do the same for them.
These are just a few of the values I’ve learned and try to incorporate in my marriage. What works for you?