Friday, April 22, 2011

Worth the Work

I met with an amazing woman today. She has been married to her husband for 52 years and claims that the last 15 have been the most wonderful. She teared up when she spoke of her relationship with her spouse and had a glow in her eye and a smile across her face that becomes a newlywed. I want to pass along some of the advice she offered to a friend of mine and me.

*Ask him what he wants. Ask your husband which household things are most important to him - a clean home in the evening, a hot meal on the table, a little decompression time before letting the kids loose on him - and use this as a guide to set your priorities.

*The best thing she and her husband did for her children was to love one another.

*Know your husband. Know what he needs and doesn't need. Know how best to serve him and love him by taking time to learn these things. For example, if he struggles with stress and anxiety under certain circumstances, figure out what you can do to help alleviate some of his concerns.

*Reserve a couple of hours every week to have time alone with your husband.This woman and her husband have had Saturday morning dates since their eldest was 8-years-old. It was certain time together that they could look forward to and enjoy each week.

*Work at it. The last 15 - of 52 - years have been the most wonderful for them because they worked so hard early on - ironing the wrinkles out as they went. She said that patiently working through all of their differences, misunderstandings, and issues in the first part of their marriage has made this latter part "easy." They know each other so well and have been through so much that this season is one of calm, peace and immense enjoyment.

*Have a sense of humor. She said there were times in their marriage when they could have let pride take the reins, but they chose to see the humor in the situation instead. Not only do they love each other, but they have fun together, too.

These encouragements are not intended to be read as a "6 steps to achieving a perfect marriage" guide. The ultimate reason that they are so blissfully united after 52 years is due to the Lord's grace and their continual dependence upon Christ and the Holy Spirit to lead them each step of the way. They have been through tough times, very tough times, but they endure because they recognize that their spouse should not and can not be their standard of perfection. He/she will never ultimately fulfill or satisfy them. Only the Lord can.

Marriage is not a mere social innovation, a piece of paper, or an outdated tradition. It is a gift of God from the beginning of creation. It is intended to reflect on earth Christ's love for His bride, the church, and the church's love for Christ. Constantly reminding ourselves of this truth should encourage and inspire spouses to love selflessly and completely.
If you know a couple who is older and still seem to be madly in love after years and years together, take time to meet with them and soak up all the advice they're willing to share.

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