Pastor Norma's Journal of Wisdom

Marriage


Thoughts on marriage…

Marriage— one of the hardest jobs in the world. There is no book, manual, seminar or training that can truly and realistically prepare one for marriage. There are some basic precepts that can help. First of all, marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It is 100/100!

God says that when we marry we become “one” with our mate. Ephesians 5:31. The blending of two distinct persons together takes a lot of time and effort. It takes many “I’m sorrys” and many “I forgive yous”. Marriage is full of much laughter, but also many tears. It is teamwork at its best; two people pulling together for one goal and one purpose.

When we enter marriage we often think that “mate” is going to meet our every need, and there is no one on earth who can meet our needs. Only God can do that. When we put too high expectations on a person we set ourselves up for disappointment. With disappointments come disillusionment… “But I thought ______!”

The reality of living together brings up many “but I thoughts”! Learning to blend together is hard enough in itself, but there are many outside influences that make it even more difficult; in-laws, work, finances, our relationship with and dealing with God, and people in general.

Then when children enter the picture it brings complications of its own.

Marriage is wonderful because you always have someone beside you, pulling with you. The someone whose dreams blend with yours. One who will hold your hand and your heart; your true friend of friends.

Marriage is a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.

— Beverly Nichols

Know who you are marrying…

Don’t be in a hurry to run to the altar when you think you’ve found the right mate.

Don’t let the physical attraction be the deciding factor in your relationship.

Develop a strong friendship.

Your mate is a person… an intricate creation of many moods, values, mind-sets, emotions and will.

Through your friendship learn what “makes him/her tick”. Observe how he/she handles pressure and stress. Look for qualities that matter in the long run: gentleness, kindness, tenderness, caring, a sense of humor, patience, morality, willingness to admit when they’re wrong.

Observe their willingness to forgive and be forgiven. Observe how they treat children and old people. Can you “fail safely”? Or do you “pay” for your mistakes by being rejected or being reminded of it over and over?

Find out what you really have in common besides sexual attraction.

What do you enjoy? Sports, hobbies, picnics, music, movies, and entertainment?

Don’t be afraid to explore the person… be real with one another. Speak the truth in love.

If you have to “walk on eggshells” constantly, being afraid of a reaction or attitude, proceed with caution.

Learn what motivates him/her. What their goals are… their ideals.

Learn how they view life, death, illness, hardship, finances, and most of all, God.

All of the things I’ve mentioned and there are others I haven’t, but you get the picture, are an expose of the person. These are the valuable qualities that stand the test of time. Don’t be afraid to put them to the test. Several years into the marriage you’ll be very glad you did.

Don’t marry a man to reform him… that’s what reform schools are for.

— Mae West

The commitment of marriage…

In this day and age people look at marriage as a contract instead of a commitment. God calls marriage a covenant, not a contract. A covenant cannot be broken. God declares, in support of a covenant, “what God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart” (my translation). God says He also hates divorce.

You need to face marriage and enter into it with the commitment that it’s for the “long haul”… not with the attitude, “if it doesn’t work I can always get out of it”. Endurance is necessary in any task we undertake; whether athletics, music, a job, etc. There’s a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” You don’t quit just because there are obstacles to overcome and hurdles in the way.

You figure out ways to work through the obstacles and get over the hurdles. Approach those obstacles and hurdles as a team. Don’t “cop out” on your partner.

Marriage is for the good times and the bad.

Sex is a wonderful part of marriage but it isn’t what holds it together. Sex is a fleeting moment of passion and expression of that passion for one another. But it isn’t what makes a marriage work. Grandpa and I have been married almost 50 years and have known each other for over 50 years. I was 16 when I met him and these are things I have learned through those years of friendship, then courting and dating and then marriage.

Chains do not hold marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.

— Simone Signoret

To make a marriage last…

Make a commitment from day one that it is for a lifetime.

Grow together. Learn together. Play together. Worship and pray together.

Keep each other in “1st place”.

Don’t go into it with selfish attitude— “what am I going to get out of this?” – but rather cultivate a servant’s heart toward your mate. “What can I do to help him/her… to ease his/her journey… to make him/her happy?”

Keep a fresh slate between you. Don’t go to bed angry… talk it out and work it out each day… Don’t bottle it up.

Communicate, communicate, communicate:

Be quick to say, “I’m sorry”, “please forgive me”, “I forgive you”, “thank you”. And offer praise freely. Express your love in small ways and big ways. Bring home a treat for each other… plan a surprise weekend away to play. Don’t forget to hold each other. Don’t nag, whine and complain—present your “case with love”. Look each other in the eyes and say something tender. Have a date night once a week – set it aside every week as “your own night together”. Keep your marriage young. When you forgive let it go. Don’t store it up to throw it back in each other’s faces. Don’t keep track of offences. Work at “responding” to one another rather than “reacting”. Develop your relationship with God separately as well as together—as you each draw close to God you will draw closer to each other. Don’t exclude each other from outside activities, yet give each other space. Don’t be possessive. Be sensitive to each other and talk about what’s causing stress, worry, etc. Don’t give each other the “silent treatment”. Talk, talk, talk! Work through it. Never withhold sex from each other as “punishment”. Tuck little expressions of your love away so they will find them unexpectedly (in their own drawer, on their pillow, etc.) No matter what happens during your day, don’t take it out on your mate. Don’t hit them in the face with troubles or complaints the minute he/she enters the door. Make a time “after” dinner to share and unload with each other and to pray together and commit those things to the Lord. Don’t become sedentary, couch potatoes in front of the TV day after day and night after night. Don’t become a TV addict. Pick and choose carefully what you watch. Develop friendships with other couples of like values and likes. Be hospitable and have guests in at least once a month for fun and games. Come up with a “pet name” for your mate that no one else calls them. Just between the two of you. Try to check in with each other once a day when you’re away from each other just to see how they’re doing and to express to them that you’re thinking about them. Don’t be afraid of change! Changes keep us young. Keep the mindset that you can face anything together—crises, storms, set-backs. Let nothing that comes along separate you. Face it together as a team and work through it together. Don’t have secrets from each other (except pleasant surprises!) Always see yourselves as a team. Work together (cooking, cleaning, yard work, child care, laundry, etc.) You can have separate chores but sometimes, due to circumstances, you will have to help or take over that chore. Give smiles freely and laugh together a lot. Don’t try to change your mate. That’s God’s job! Sometimes it’s us that has to change. Don’t make plans (unless it is a surprise) without consulting one another. Don’t make purchases over a certain set amount without consulting one another. Present a united front to your children.

Don’t let them come between you and manipulate you to get their way. One of you will always be a “soft touch”. If you don’t agree with a decision talk about it later, not in front of the child. Don’t talk negatively about your mate to anyone but God!!! When you have to confront your mate about something do not say “you always… you never… you can’t… you won’t”. Don’t accuse! Be free with praise and expressions of appreciation (even for what’s expected – like a good meal, or clean clothes, etc.)

To keep a fire burning there’s one easy rule. Keep the logs together, near enough to keep warm and far enough apart for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.

— Marnie Reed

 

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