Last week I gave you my perspective on “What I wish I Knew Before I Got Married.” If you haven’t read that, take a moment to go back and read it - especially if you are single.
A few weeks ago, Jonathan and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary so I thought I would give you my thoughts on a few things I now know after 42 years of marriage.
It is easy to look at other people’s marriages, families, ministries, homes, etc, and get the impression that it was easy for them and that you are the only one who struggles. Not so.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 says, “For a dream comes with much business and painful effort…..”
This is so true in marriages and families as well. If you have God’s dream for your family and His vision for your future, it will come, but with much business and painful effort. You are going to have to fight for your family and the vision God gave you. It will require perseverance, tenacity, focus and most important of all, faith.
Here are some of my thoughts after 42 years of marriage.
1. The Place of Agreement is the Place of Power
Can two walk except they be agreed? Amos 3:3 (KJV)
Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place? Amos 3:3 (MSG)
Over the years, Jonathan and I have had lots of “intense fellowship” over certain issues. There have been many things we have not agreed on but the one thing we determined from the beginning is where we were going. Just like Amos 3:3 of The Message Bible says, “Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?”
The smaller issues of life sometimes loomed large, but the real issue, that had already been determined, was we were going to walk hand-in-hand and keep our eyes on where we are going. For us, “where we are going” is the call of God on our lives and the agreement that we are going to fulfill our destiny.
I’m often asked how do we handle things when we aren’t in agreement, which can happen often. For me, I can agree with Jonathan even when I don’t agree with him! We discuss the issue, sometimes quite passionately, and I let him know exactly how I feel about it. But I also know, as the head of our home, he has the responsibility, before God, to make the decision he feels is the best for our family and the church. At that point, it is between him and God. I’m good with that!
A good marriage isn’t one without disagreements. A good marriage is one where two people learn to respectfully resolve their disagreements. That’s the win!
2. Nothing Changes Until I Change
We can blame each other, get angry, stay offended and pout, but nothing changes until I change. We can even be right about the situation, but nothing changes until I change. We can prove our point and have it all laid out like we are presenting it in court, but nothing changes until I change.
My attitude, thoughts, and words all come into play and will either lead me to resolve the issue or continue to press to prove my point even though it doesn’t help the situation at all. Nothing changes until I change.
When having challenges with the need to prove a point, after I have already been at it for some time, I have to switch my mindset to what the Bible says.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8 (MSG)
Nothing changes until I change and that means I have to change whats on my mind.
3. “Doing What is Right” is More Important Than Having to Always “Be Right”
I have come to realize that being stubborn is simply the worship of your own opinion. There is no room for this in any marriage that wants to stay the course especially if you always have to be right.
To be stubborn means to refuse to change your opinion and ideas and to be difficult to work with. There is no room in marriage for stubborn people who are difficult to work with and refuse to change.
I have a question to ask you. What is more important to you? Is it having to always be right or be righteous? The way you answer that question tells it all. After 42 years of marriage, I can, without any doubt, say that being righteous is much more fruitful and life-giving than always have to “be right.”
4. Staying the Course will be so worth it
It’s so easy to give up or give in to the pressure of a dry, winter season of marriage. It’s easy to give in to the lies of the devil. It’s easy to prefer the counsel of the ungodly that tells you “leave him/her.” It’s easy to give in to the flesh. It’s easy to argue about everything to prove your point. It’s easy to give in to the voices that are screaming at you.
With every voice you hear, there is a choice you must make.
I pray you listen to my voice right now and make the right choice to stay the course and fight for your family.
You are blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right - you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. Psalm 119:1-8 (MSG)
Stay on course with God’s plan for your marriage and family. You will never have any regrets!