With my wedding anniversary rapidly approaching, I decided to reflect back over the years and was just amazed at how far God had brought my husband and I. I was just 21 years old when we got married and did not understand what I was thoroughly getting myself into at the time. I remember hearing from those closest to me, "Are you sure you want to do this?" At first, these words caused doubts to form in my mind, but I believed my husband was heaven sent. Our initial attempts to make our lives become one flesh were rocky, and we encountered many challenges we were not sure how to face. Even though we both knew God, our relationships with him at that time were more like the on again, off again type. As we began to place God at the head of our marriage, we began to notice a significant shift happening. It was as if our hearts began to soften for one another and we finally began to listen, communicate and love one another more. So I wanted to share with you some valuable lessons I've learned over the years which have helped my marriage to grow.
1. Keep God First
My godmother explained this to me at my wedding in the most interesting way. She made a triangle with her hands and pulled it apart. She said, "On this side is you and God and on the other is your husband and God. As she raised her hands back together to make a triangle, I realized what she meant. For my marriage to work, God needed to be at the head of it. He was the glue that would keep everything together. Now, this did not guarantee us that we would not have any problems in our marriage, but we would have God there to help us fight the battles that could come our way. Luke 1:37 KJV says "For with God nothing shall be impossible." So how can you go wrong by placing God first in your marriage!
2. Work Required
Many people get into marriage thinking that it will be easy and this is a huge misconception. Marriage takes work! Just like anything worth getting or having in life. There will be its share of good days as well as bad, but you must be willing to keep working on it. There have been plenty of times where my husband and I have wanted to quit, but if we had, we would have never seen the fruit our labor. So continue to press through the hard times and don't give up so quickly because there is something sweeter on the other side.
3. Get On One Accord
The Bible even shares this sentiment in Mark 10:8 KJV which says "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh." Twain defined here means the word two. At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I were two different people with our distinct personalities and ways of doing things, but we quickly realized to get on one accord we needed to make some changes to be able to operate as if we were one person. To make this a reality we needed God to transform our hearts and minds to be more like his and seek his will for our marriage. Once we discovered these things, we were able to have clarity about the direction to go and what we needed to do.
4. Pray, Pray Again and Pray Some More
This one I could not stress enough, so I wrote it three times. I can remember a time when my husband and I were in need of some extra income. At the time my husband had his DJ equipment and while he was throwing out ideas he mentioned looking at picking up work at some nightclubs. I knew in my heart immediately this idea was not what God had in mind for us or our marriage, so I looked at him and answered, "Ok." Well, later that night I went into my closet and prayed. I had a real candid conversation with God about how I felt. I mentioned in my prayer how I did not think these places were where he needed to be and I was not sure if our marriage could handle the spirit of lust that he could have brought back home with him. As I waited for God to move on my behalf, I chose not to nag my husband about my feelings or even speak to him about it anymore because I trusted that God was going to answer my prayer and he did three days later. So remember no matter what may arise in your marriage pray without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
5. Always Make Time
Now, of course, this one seems like an obvious one, but it is also the easiest to overlook. We live in a society where it is easy to stay busy. So to strengthen your marriage, you must be willing to make time for one another. For my husband and I, we had to get to the point of scheduling time to spend together. With our many responsibilities in and outside of our home, we have learned that we must be intentional about making sure that we are not overlooking our marriage. Right now what works for us is having a movie night at our house or even making time to talk about our dreams for our families future. So by setting aside time for one another, it allows you to continue building and strengthening your marriage for years to come.
Remember marriage may not be easy or something for everyone, but it is a gift from God. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33 KJV "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." So if you desire more love, joy, peace or purpose in your marriage then continue to look toward God. Lastly to continue reading lessons six through eleven, click on 11 Years, 11 Lessons (Part Two) !