WHEN TWO PEOPLE GET MARRIED, they are married for life. That’s the purpose of marriage, isn’t it? I mean, when you get married, you don’t get married for a definite period, right? It is “for life”. We have never met a couple who have married with the intention that it not last the rest of their lives, but if there were some, I would hazard a guess that they will eventually get divorced.
Marriage is the period from the vows to eternity; at least when one of you dies. The duration of your marriage can be anywhere from a few months to over seventy years and is easily the biggest commitment you will ever make. Think about it, everything you do after your wedding day stems from your marital relationship, and you will always have to consider the impacts of almost everything you do.
Christians believe that marriage is a covenant agreement, which means that once we are married, we are obligated to our spouse; It’s more than a contract that can be broken if “conditions” aren’t met – it’s binding forever! That being said, there are very limited circumstances in which it may be necessary to break up a Christian marriage. For example, continued abuse without signs of remorse and seeking help.
Many people believe in God, and this is the unique perspective from which we want to share with you! And even if you don’t believe in God, what harm will it do you to continue reading this little article? Can you give him something to think about?
We believe that good marriages are built. They are built and maintained; always attended. It takes a one-day-at-a-time commitment for the rest of our lives: we believe we will never achieve perfection in our marriage, and we can tell you, that brings us an enormous amount of comfort; yes, we are glad. It takes a commitment to learn from each other and serve each other; that the other can be placed before the self. This sounds easy in theory, and we thought it would be, but in practice it’s a whole different matter of putting our partner in the “better” position than ourselves.
Marriage is primarily about commitment. Commitment in marriage is tied to passion and intimacy; check out the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” on this “love triangle” and how critical it is to focus on all three sides. While it’s important to recognize that passion will wax and wane, and so will intimacy, commitment is something that should be non-negotiable and unconditional throughout the marriage. We are told, and believe, that there will be “dry times” in our marriage which will mean that our relationship may need to survive on commitment alone. We (and you) must be ready! If two people remain committed to the marriage and major issues are resolved, the marriage will last until the end.
It is also important to always do the right thing in a marriage no matter the cost, having faith that all the little things will add up to a wonderful harvest of love and a rich marriage relationship.
Solve marital problems before they become problems. We strongly believe that we will always need help in our marriage. As we mentioned before, this gives us comfort because it takes some of the pressure off. Nowadays many people are into personal life coaching and similarly we have a “marriage coach”. Our trainer is a counselor, but we use her as a trainer for frequent pulse checks. This is particularly important in the early years of marriage, and also wherever there is a significant change in the family unit, for example when a baby is born. A lot can be said in the “safety” of a coaching/counseling environment without the fear that the issue (and all marriages have “issues”) devolves into an argument.
Marriage is about communication. It is listening and understanding every word that our partner is not saying. You are paying attention not only to words, but also to tone, body language, and mood. Paying attention to your partner’s unique way of loving and not overstepping their boundaries is vital to maintaining a great marriage. The recommended books “Love Languages” and “Boundaries” are there to help you.
Marriage is about choosing to believe the best in each other. It is essential for the functioning of any relationship, and marriages in particular, to know that our partner is not there just to make us happy. It is very important that our happiness derives from our concept of ourselves and also of God, who can make anyone happy in any circumstance, history has shown once again. Don’t look to your partner to do what no one else but you can do; that is choosing to be happy and to be responsible for oneself. The book “Save Your Marriage Before It Begins” mentions a habit that we recommend to you; it is “the habit of happiness”.
Sorry. All spouses must remember three words, not just ‘I love you’, but ‘Please forgive me’ and the three reciprocal words, ‘I forgive you’. Forgiveness and grace in marriage are absolutely essential. Without it, you and your partner will often feel shipwrecked and lost. Forgiveness is sweet and refreshing to the soul of both spouses, and it is life to any marriage and any relationship!
You have a task: That is to be the object lesson of a faithful person so that your children, friends and family, also receive the blessings that you are receiving. Focus on it and on loving your partner, as if your very life depended on it, because it does!
In short, it would be free of our part not to send you, most loving and blessed couples, the blessing of God through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…
May He, God, continue to be the central figure in your relationship together. May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that wonder that exclaims from the whole world, ‘you have chosen me’, and when life ends, may they meet then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for one another, and may they serve Him happily, faithfully together until Christ returns in glory, Or, until at last one lays the other to rest in the Saviour’s arms. All this by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
© Copyright 2008, Steven John Wickham. All rights reserved throughout the world.
Books we recommend:
“Save Your Marriage Before It Starts” (“SYMBIS”) – Seven Questions to Ask Before and After You Get Married, Expanded and Updated Version, by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, 1995 and 2006 (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Called a self-guided premarital counseling workshop, it’s also great for married couples. These are seven questions to ask before and after you get married. Questions are about marriage myths, love styles, the happiness habit, mean what you say, say what you mean, closing the gender gap, how to fight a good fight, and being a soul mate.
“Destined for Pleasure” – Sexual Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage, by Ed Wheat, MD and Gaye Wheat, Third Edition, 1981, 1997, 2005 (Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan). A great book to learn “how” to have sex; It’s also a great troubleshooting guide, as sex can be more difficult (ie, satisfying for both of you) than you think! It is a good starting point for sexual exploration and mutual discovery. Tim LaHaye writes, “The most medically accurate description of sexual function…currently available…presented in healthy terms that would be helpful to any married or soon-to-be married couple.”
“Five Love Languages, The” – How to Express a Sincere Commitment to Your Spouse, Gary Chapman, 1992, 1995 (Northfield Publishing, Chicago). This series of books has saved many families and brought life to many marriages. The five love languages are 1) Quality time, 2) Words of affirmation, 3) Gifts, 4) Acts of service, and 5) Touch. Do you know your partner’s preferred love languages? Ought! You will learn to speak and understand the unique languages of love, effectively expressing your love, as well as feeling truly loved in return.
“Boundaries” – When to say yes; When to Say No; Take Control of Your Life, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, 1992, 1996, 2004 (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan by special arrangement of Strand Publishing). Boundaries are healthy in all relationships; marriage is no exception. This book guides people to establish physical, mental, emotional and spiritual limits. Sometimes Christians try so hard to please people that they forget their own boundaries and limitations, and how to wisely manage their own needs. This book is a “how to” for considering boundaries in all of your relationships. Newly married couples have to set a lot of boundaries… partner, parents, in-laws, children, etc.
the art of marriage
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
You are never too old to hold hands.
It’s remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.
He will never sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of common values and goals.
It is being together and facing the world.
It is to form a circle of love that brings together the whole family.
It is saying words of appreciation and showing gratitude in a thoughtful way.
You are having the ability to forgive and forget.
It is giving yourself an atmosphere in which everyone can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It’s not just marrying the right person.
It’s being the right partner.
Wilferd A. Peterson.
This poem was included in a 1961 anthology published by Simon & Schuster, USA, and registered to Wilferd A. Peterson.