I realized after I published my most recent podcast this week that Valentine’s Day was coming up, and I missed a great opportunity to put together a little something on the the issue of love and marriage. So, at the suggestion of my wife Meagan, I have decided to publish an extra “bonus episode” this week with my podcast.
The following are 3 simple keys to a better marriage. Be sure to listen to the podcast for my full take on these things. I’ve also mixed in some Princess Bride references. In case you never saw this movie classic, here’s a video for some humorous context:
Change Your Perspective
We need a re-orientation in our perspective on marriage. Some of you act like marriage isn’t much different than simply have a roomate. In marriage we become, according to the Bible, “one flesh.” So if we are one flesh, let’s act like it.
While we have not lost our individuality in a marriage, I am my own person and so is my wife, in marriage I have surrendered my life to my wife and vice versa. Everything I do should be done in consideration of my spouse. Career choices, ministry choices, financial choices, and even what I do with my spare time should be done in consideration how it impacts my wife.
Whatever it takes, get on the same page with one another spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and in all other arenas in your life. Build consensus, like in a partnership. And whatever you decide to do, don’t do it in an, “ugh, I gotta do this…” begrudging sorta manner. Rather, rejoice in the opportunity of what you “get to do” with your spouse and on their behalf. On some days this may be easier than others, but it is an attitude we should ultimately take on.
Be Life-Long Newlyweds
When I was in college, and old pastor friend of mine told me that whatever I did when I became married one day, make sure to always pursue my wife and never stop dating her.
It’s easy for marriage to get on auto-pilot, and to simply coast. The everyday comings and goings of life threaten to put the flame in your marriage out. Jobs, kids, medical issues, finances, and other such things will interrupt the flow of everything.
But, whatever happens, don’t let these things get between you and your wife. You made a choice to marry your spouse. Such wasn’t merely a one time decision. It’s a life long decision that you get to repeat every moment of every day. Be intentional about your marriage.
Don’t let a day pass where you don’t kiss your spouse. Make it a point to go on dates as frequently as you can— whatever that date looks like, even if it’s just the choice to run errands together. Do special things for each other, like pick-up flowers, make a special meal, etc.. And while things may never be as exciting as when you first got married, things can still be quite fresh and exciting, just like when you first got married.
Walk In Forgiveness
You are going to do things that upset each other. You might even manage to do this multiple times in one day. Whatever the case, make it a choice to forgive one another. And do that daily. Refuse to mull over and replay arguments in your head. Don’t speak harshly to them. Rather, realize we are all a work in progress, and personality hiccups and flaws may take years to iron out. Be patient, gentle, and treat one another with kindness.
Deliberately praise your spouse and tell them and others about how awesome they are. Don’t backbite and gossip about your spouse and put them down, either to their face or to friends, family, and coworkers. Your spouse shouldn’t find out what’s wrong with them from the lips of someone else. Sing their praises instead, and let that get back to them.