21. Marriage can be very satisfying and joyful. Many couples experience great pleasure in their marriages. There is great pleasure to be found in marriage through friendship, emotional connection, emotional intimacy and sexual expression.
22. Marriage is hard work. A good marriage takes effort and often requires us to be intentional. As married people, we depend upon the Lord for strength to navigate our marriages well. A very frustrated married person once asked me, “If marriage is right, why is it so hard?” Yet, simply because something was created by God does not mean it will be easy.
23. Marriage requires that we be steady and consistent. After all, the journey is long and requires constancy and faithfulness. But shouldn’t there be sizzle? Yes, of course. However, one would think from watching the way relationships are portrayed on television and in the media that real life is to be found in encounters where there is no commitment to the future, but only an awareness of the moment.
24. Beware of violating the privacy of your marriage in settings where you quote your spouse in ways that would deeply hurt him or her if your words became known. It is one thing to talk about your marriage with someone (a marriage and family therapist, minister, counselor, etc.) who is trying to help you. It is quite another matter to reveal her words to the guys at work or your friend at Starbucks.
25. Dishonesty hurts a marriage. Husbands and wives must not rationalize the seemingly small dishonest moments. Far too many spouses practice dishonesty regarding money and spending. For example, to spend hundreds of dollars on golf clubs or clothing and then attempt to hide this is deceit. Rationalizing these moments can pave the way for continued deception.
26. Many affairs begin as friendships. Don’t think that saying “we are just friends” about a particular woman is going to cure or calm the anxiety of a concerned spouse. This is especially true when her intuitive warning alarm has already sounded.
27. It’s not about you. Far too often our self-centeredness takes over and begins to knock the marriage off center. When this happens, the “we” in the relationship may be ignored while one partner focuses on the “me.”
28. Commitment to one’s spouse and transparency in the relationship creates a climate of safety in a marriage. This safe environment allows a couple the freedom to experience self-giving sexual intimacy. Such freedom not only enhances one’s physical relationship but one’s emotional relationship. Emotional nakedness means that we are free to make ourselves vulnerable before one another.
29. Envision creating a marriage that is an “island of health” in a very dysfunctional, self-centered world. Such a vision will include seeking God’s presence in the relationship if this is to become a reality.
30. Married people should cherish one another. You can tell when someone cherishes a television, a rod and reel, jewelry, etc. It is all in the way the person handles these things. Many us of may be underestimating the importance of cherishing our spouses.