Life lesson: Marriage is a roller coaster
Walking down the aisle as a young bride, vowing to love Brian for “better or worse” I could only imagine days of sunshine and rainbows. I knew a few rain showers would come, but we would be together under our nice little umbrella and we could stand the storms. I had no idea we would endure literal fires, fires of attack, lean times of financial famine, emotional earthquakes, and tsunami force floods of pain. Nor did I know we would experience joy I never could not even imagine, delight beyond description, and exhilarating love that literally takes my breath away. I could not even begin to comprehend what I was agreeing to when I said, “I do.” But I am so glad I did.
In just a few days Brian and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. If you include the four years we dated, I have spent more of my life with Brian than without him. I feel so blessed to have such a great friend, partner, and heart-mate to partner with on this journey. I wanted to offer some of the best marital advice I have learned along the way as I reflect back upon highs and lows of the last 17 years.
1. Worship God together. Don’t isolate worship to the Sunday morning church box. Remember your marriage is meant to model the passionate love relationship God has with His church. Celebrate your marriage and your intimate relationship as an avenue to worship the Creator. Work to make your love resemble His perfect love. (Eph 5:25)
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t waste time arguing about things today that won’t matter tomorrow, next week, or next year. Be aware of the little things that are attacks of the enemy, don’t get sidetracked from the joy Christ wants you to experience today. (Col 3:2)
3. Serve your spouse. When I remember I am a servant like Christ who washed the feet of His disciples, I remember to serve Brian. Rather than expecting him to meet my needs and focusing on myself, I am most fulfilled when I work to meet his needs. (Philippians 2)
4. Stand together. Create a culture of partnership and teamwork within your marriage. Never speak ill of your spouse to others. Don’t stand facing each other in attack or vying for attention, rather stand back to back and work together in all things…parenting, ministry, finances. (Ecc 4:12)
5. Dream together. Each year set aside a time to get away together and DREAM. It can be every anniversary, every New Year, but make it a non-negotiable. Each year reignite the flame and excitement by dreaming and planning together. God has plans for your marriage. Spend time together praying and seeking His perfect will and making plans to place your marriage and your family right in the center of His will. (Jer 29:11)
6. Know both good and bad times have a purpose. When you commit to love your spouse for better and for worse, worse will come. No marriage is perfect, because no husband or wife is perfect. Be a learner, study to become the best husband or wife you can become, endear yourselves to mentors, love the word of God, always work to find the purpose in your circumstances. Every twist, every turn, every loop can be used by God to help you build the marriage of your dreams and it can be better than you ever imagined. God is for you and He wants your marriage to prosper! (Gen 50:20)
Hang on and enjoy the ride. Marriage is a thrilling adventure. Looking back, I can say I could never have enjoyed the thrilling highs had I not endured the devastating lows. I have learned so much about the perfect love of my Heavenly Father as I have called upon the perfect grace of God as I extended forgiveness and humbled myself many times to ask for forgiveness. I have worshipped in awe as God’s intimate, perfect love was modeled in my marriage. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has been a great, thrilling roller coaster ride. I have my hands high in the air as we gear up for another 17 years of celebration and worship! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!