So yesterday my hubby and I marked 12 years in our marriage belt. I honestly feel like I’ve been married for longer, but 12 still feels really good to say. But what’s really awesome (and wasn’t planned at all this way) is that we share our anniversary with my grandparents who have been married for 62 years. 62 years, just let that sink in a bit…..
You know it’s all too easy to just think it’s going to be too hard one day and that it isn’t going to last. But looking a my GP’s, I’ve learned so much from them and how they love each other in a very simple way. Now, they’re not perfect and neither are Tim and I (thank goodness) or else where would we need Jesus in all of this right? But observing them, and walking on our little road I’ve learned a few things.
Serve each other – With life getting horribly busy and in the way, it’s really easy to forget to do this for each other. I’m not talking about rubbing feet every night or getting on hand and knee to be at someones beck and call. I’m talking about an attitude of the heart. I constantly have to remind myself that this marriage isn’t about me, it’s about serving and aiding my team mate. It’s thinking beyond myself and how I’m feeling and doing my best to lift him up when he’s down, and being strong when he’s weak. Like I said, I have to constantly remind myself to do this – selfish is what selfish does and that puppy needs to be put to bed daily.
Don’t be critical – the bible is clear about the tongue. There’s life and death in it. Google it – you’ll see. It’s honestly, sooooooo easy to look at someone else’s faults and flaws and what “they’re” doing wrong. I mean, come on! I can do so much better right? WRONG!! Marriage isn’t about that, neither is life. (this is such a hard one to work on) Looking in the mirror and trying to find the flaws that are so glaringly obvious isn’t nice or fun to do. Even then, I can’t look at myself and be critical – it’s about being honest with myself and asking what needs work. We live in an age where “strengths” are the focus and “weakness” is on the outside, looking in being told, “it’s ok, you’re fine – every one is like that and it’s ok”. I don’t think so. When I look at myself that way – I get reminded that that isn’t enough. I’m called to be a whole being and that means identifying the weak spots, consulting my team mate and working on them. It’s amazing that when we can honestly share these things together as a couple that it makes us stronger in some weird way.
Forgiving the mistakes – Just like love, forgiveness is a choice. I say this because I don’t always “feel” like I love my husband, neither do I “feel” like forgiving his mistakes and flaws. Flaws that can often be the actions that feel like they cut right through me intentionally aimed at breaking me. But this often isn’t the case, he’s a human man – not God. There will be times when either one of us will mess up in any different kind of way and its up to me to dig down deep, and walk in forgiveness or else it will break us. Rome is never built in a day, and it has become easier over the years to do these things – but reminding myself that I’m also “flawed” and have done my fair share of hurting, he has to walk in forgiveness just the same. This comes alongside being able to say I’m sorry, sincerely. Repentance is key in order to make forgiveness easier for the other person.
Dreaming together – If we don’t have a vision or a hope for us, then where are we going? by saying, “I want to grow old with you” we need to have a picture of what that looks like. If there is no goal, then the race isn’t worth it. We’ve looked at this one, not only for ourselves but also for the generations that are following us. As much as marriage is an intimacy shared between two people, it’s way bigger than that and its impact is far reaching over hundreds of years. So we every so now and again will dream together about who we want to be, what we want to do, where we want to go, what kind of grandparents we see ourselves being and so on.
Keeping the main thing, the main thing – This point is going to sound simple to some, but it’s completely vital for this to work. The main thing needs to that my spouse is not my source. He isn’t my provider, he isn’t my well I drink from, he isn’t my world, he isn’t my source of intimacy. Jesus is. Without Him as my focal point of all of our “stuff”, when things get hard, be it financially, physically, emotionally – His face is where my focus needs to be. Without Him, this is all useless jabber and pointless noise. I can’t even dream of being a good wife without Him. Tim can’t be a good husband without Him. Our team isn’t just two, it’s three.
And watching my GP’s go through their lives, this last one is the one that I’ve seen them apply so well. We may not agree on how we walk this road but as long as we both have our hands gripped on the Dude in the middle – 62 years is completely possible.
When you think about those in your life that are married, pray for them. We all need it.