Marriage: What I’ve Learned at 30 Years (Part 4)

coffee39.jpg (You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.)

 
Just a few weeks ago, we were at Mitchell’s Fish Market in Sandestin, Florida, celebrating our thirtieth anniversary.  Now did I ever enjoy that!  Celebrations are that way, aren’t they?  You just enjoy them.

 
I do continue to think about what I have learned over these years of being married.  As I suggested in the last post, I have learned that marriage is really about something larger than ourselves.  After all, marriage is a gift.  Marriage is a place of ministry where a husband and wife serve one another.  Marriage is a place where God shapes us into a Christlike people.  Marriage was always meant to be a relationship in which two human beings can experience joy and deep abiding love even as they surrender themselves to God and one another.    

 
In the early years of our marriage, I might have given an affirming nod to this but I don’t know that I realized what this meant.  After all, it is far too easy to evaluate a marriage based solely on what I/we seem to be receiving.  Is this pleasurable?  Am I happy?  Am I satisfied? 

 
Are these bad questions?  No, not necessarily.  However, there are other issues that Christ-followers need to be attentive to in marriage.  Over the years, I think that God has taught me some things about marriage, some of which I missed in the early years.  A few things I have learned:

 
1.  The two great commandments — loving God and loving people — are to be lived out in my marriage.  Part of being a Christ-follower means that I behave as a loving person at home as well as in public settings.

 
2.  Life is sometimes hard.  We are not always "fine."  We do no one any favors when we are emotionally dishonest in our homes.  (If you have children, they will pick up on this very quickly.)  That doesn’t mean that I must air every negative emotion I feel.  However, it does mean that I don’t say that we are doing "wonderful" when I know we are not. 

 
3.  There is great power to be experienced in marriage.  Marriage is not up to me or even the two of us.  God works in our marriage through prayer.  The Holy Spirit enables and empowers me to live as a Christ-follower in my marriage.  Marriage is not just a matter of willpower.  It does take effort and intention.  However, there is something at work here that goes beyond my own energy and strength.

 
4.  Be aware of your baggage.  We all come to our weddings with some kind of baggage.  It is difficult, however, when we will not acknowledge this.  Because we are human and sinful at that, we come to marriage as a work in progress.  It is far too easy to see this in our spouse while we perceive ourselves to be much farther along.

 
More later. 

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5 thoughts on “Marriage: What I’ve Learned at 30 Years (Part 4)

  1. What great advice"After all, marriage is a gift.  Marriage is a place of
    ministry where a husband and wife serve one another.  Marriage is a
    place where God shapes us into a Christlike people."Let hope more young married couples read this and take the adive to heart.

  2. I have only been married 14 years, seems like a short time compared to 30.  Anyway, I have 3 children and I work full time, my husband is on the road at least 6 months out of the year.  It’s all me (really God) holding everything together.  I don’t think my husband can even fathom how exhausting it all is.  I just wanted to say thanks for your writings on marriage.  It’s gratifying to know that others have been through the same struggles and can validate the overwhelming feelings of exhaustion and lonliness that one can feel.  Any books or literature you can recommend on this subject would be appreciated.  Keep up the good work.

  3. Lonely mom,I’m thankful you wrote.  Fourteen years is a long time and you are to be commended for that.  It does sound like you are in a challenging situation.  (Working full time, three kids, husband on the road) It does sound like an exhausting and lonely situation.  One suggestion.  You might think about the exhaustion and loneliness that Jesus must have felt so often in his ministry.  Pray that he will give you what you need most as he is very familiar with these emotions.Re books:  I would recommend most anything by Gary Thomas.  You might consider reading either Sacred Parenting or Sacred Marriage or both.  (available from Amazon.com) Thanks,