My five year wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I couldn’t be more elated! These five years have flown by! I often tell my husband, I feel like I just met him. But, we’ve been through so much together over the last 1,825 days. And the learning is uncharted; I already have enough intel to fill a couple of books with our experiences and lessons learned. Today, I am sharing a few principles that I know will bless some folks! Let’s dive right in!

NOTE: I am aware that 5 years is not 50 years. I am just offering some insight based on my life-- I am certainly not claiming to know it all.

 

     1.Our Spouses Have a Lifetime to Get it Right (and thankfully, so do we)

I once heard a marriage ministry leader say, when we marry (for the first time) we get hired for a job while having no experience. That statement is impactful! When you get hired for a job in which you are inexperienced, you go through a process known as on-the-job training. Your employer is expected to be patient with you and anticipate mistakes-- lots of them. Now, marriage is the most difficult job you will ever have:

  1. It’s the longest job you will ever have

  2. There are no vacations from it

  3. You don’t clock out

  4. Your co-worker often has high expectations

  5. You both bring in all the negative experiences from dead end jobs

  6. You must pray for your co-worker

  7. You must love and respect your co-worker

  8. You must consider your co-worker’s feelings

  9. Sex with your co-worker is required! lol

  10. You’re not supposed to complain about your co-worker

As we can see, it’s a job like no other; but a job none the less! So we have to learn how to be good workers. Nothing will test your true work ethic like marriage. I said all that to say, give your spouse time to be fully trained. Typical training period is 90 days, for a job you may only have for one year. So, you have 32% of the total time you’re there to learn the job (and even then there will be mistakes). A marriage that begins in your 20’s, could very well last 60 years with good health and the favor of The Lord. What’s 32% of 60 years? Approximately 20 years. If you have been married less than 20 years, your spouse is still in training and so are you! Set your expectations accordingly.

 

     2. Our Spouses “Failures” Highlight OUR Issues

Alright, let’s delve deeper. My husband isn’t a big reader. Being that he’s married to a writer, that could be considered a problem. When he didn’t read my work voluntarily, I interpreted this as a lack of support. This grieved me deeply. I had to investigate why it bothered me so much. Do you know what I discovered? I lacked confidence in my writing. I thought I needed someone to be interested, to consume my words, and give me favorable feedback. When I grew to love and appreciate my own writing-- I no longer craved the affirmation from him. Don’t get me wrong, he has gotten much better over the years. But if he never reads another word, I will be just fine. Which of YOUR issues have you categorized as your spouse’s shortcoming?

 

     3. Forgive-Forgive-Forgive Again

Marriage was designed to mirror the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. No matter how many times we mess up, HE is faithful to forgive us. After the 10th time we sin against HIM, we aren’t discarded. We need to show the love of God to our spouse. Many of us know this in theory, but we need to apply it consistently. An inability to forgive will ruin a marriage.

 

   4. If It’s not Unconditional it’s Fragile

I don’t know about you, but I want a strong marriage. I don’t want a marriage that is flimsy, spineless, and frail. I want a marriage that can bear life’s storms. This includes the storms from the outside world and the storms within the marriage. If your vow is conditional and based on your current feelings, YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A STRONG MARRIAGE.

 

strong

strôNG/

adjective

able to withstand great force or pressure.

synonyms:

secure, well built, indestructible, well fortified, well protected,impregnable, solid

"a strong fortress"

durable, hardwearing, heavy-duty, industrial-strength, tough, sturdy,well made, long-lasting

 

An un-conditional unshakeable yes to doing this life with your spouse-- an uncompromising yes to your covenant-- and an unbridled commitment to the vows YOU took are the  foundation of a strong marriage.

 

 5. Focus on Liking More Than Loving

If you married someone (in modern day society) it’s because you love them and they love you. Gone are the days of literal shotgun weddings and women’s dependence on husbands to survive. Don’t make your spouse prove their love to you, and don’t try to prove yours. That is established. You know what you need now? You need to like them. Because the world is full of likeable people. That’s your competition (if any exist). The flirtatious man/woman in the next cubicle-- the too friendly neighbor-- the lingering eye contact with the individual in the grocery store-- that’s the danger. Make it a priority to be likeable, charming, funny, and relatable to your spouse. This will grow the love effortlessly anyway.  

 

I hope this list blessed you! If so, share it!

 

Start a dialogue with your spouse and married friends!

 

Additionally, I have included scripture references to further encourage you!

 

Song of Solomon 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his;

 

Song of Solomon 4:9 You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;

   you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,

   with one jewel of your necklace.

 

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

 

Mathew 19:4-6 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

 

Published by Kamesha Hayes