Marriages staying in love is not the norm these days. But it should be. The statistics of broken and divorced marriages are sadly growing. Our world seems to be so backward in the process of marriage and love. Couples move in together to “see if it will work” before they make the commitment and get married. But, interesting is the sad fact that even though they often guess that it will after this trial run, these couples so often still end up alone, separate, and divorced.
According to Wikipedia, marriages that end in divorce last, on average, for 8 years (and that’s from 2009). That would mean that I have only 3 more years left if I were to fall into this category. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Barna Group discovered in 2008, that one out of three marriages have experienced at least one divorce. You don’t have to go into marriage with your fingers crossed! I don’t know all the tricks and steps and plans of staying in love, and I am not a marriage expert or counselor, but I am so grateful that after 5 years of marriage, I can truly say that my wife and I are still in love, and we are staying in love! I love my wife and the life that God has given to me with her! I couldn’t imagine life another way. By God’s grace I’ll be saying the same thing 50 years from now.
Three things have happened in the last couple days that have gotten me thinking about and writing about this: First, my wife left me a bag of candy and a note in my lunch at work. Honestly, she does this often. But this time the note was much longer than usual. Now, I don’t want to get too mooshy-gooshy on you, but it was a note expressing her thanks and love for me. It truly made my day. It was a great surprise! Second, she text me later that day and surprised me by setting up a tee-time for me to play golf and said that she is going to ride along with me. Now, many guys would rather just go play with their buddies to get out of the house for a few hours, but I would rather play with my wife riding along any day (being that she is 9 months pregnant, she will not be playing)! This was such a huge surprise! I can’t wait to go on this awesome date with my wife! And last, friends of ours at our church got married Friday night. I am so happy for Chris and Beth!
Now, my marriage isn’t perfect, but, it is GREAT! And your’s can be too. Here are three basic principles that will help you stay in love and blow those statistics out of the water:
Keep God first and foremost in your life. I’m sure you have heard the triangle example of this, but it is so true. Keep God first, work at growing closer to Him, and as you both do grow closer to Him, then you will continuously grow closer to each other. In Rhode Island called Clingstone, that is literally built on a large rock island in the Narragansett Bay near Jamestown, RI, that has stood through storms and hurricanes when others were destroyed. The reason is because it has a strong and sure foundation. When God is your foundation in your life and marriage, it can withstand anything. Don’t just cross your fingers, keep God first and pursue Him foremost.
Keep your spouse above anyone else, including yourself. There can’t be any other person who is more important to you than your spouse. This includes yourself. Sometimes, yourself, is the hardest one to put aside. But if you want a GREAT marriage, you must. This also includes your kids. Your kids should actually see that there is no one else more important to you than each other. And your spouse wants to know and see that he or she is still more important to you than the kids. Don’t just cross your fingers, keep your spouse above everyone else.
Keep fighting for your spouse. Remember back when you were going after your spouse, just to get a date with him or her? Remember all the things you did to get their attention, to get them to just have lunch with you? When I first started to attempt to talk to my wife, Susannah, we were in Bible college and knowing what I was up to, without batting an eye, she told me that she was not there to date. Well, it became a mission. I had known that she was the one God was showing me He had for me. God made it so clear. Now, “we” just had to make it clear to her! Pray? YES! I prayed. And I also went a semester long mission of doing whatever necessary to get her to give me a chance. I FOUGHT for her. I wanted to show her that there was no other girl on this earth for me, than her. I’m sure you did some coaxing, buying of gifts, writing of notes, fighting yourself. Well keep fighting. Don’t ever stop showing your spouse that there is no one else on this earth for you. You know what they say, “anything worth having is worth fighting for”. Don’t just cross your fingers, keep fighting for your spouse. Stay in love. Don’t be a statistic.