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April 26, 2013
The Best Marriage Advice
"Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 (NAS)
A joyful wedding party celebrated the new couple on an evening wrapped in good cheer and candlelight.
The bride and her father danced, followed by the groom and his mother. Adoring eyes framed the room.
Finally, couples young and old hit the dance floor. After a few musical notes, the DJ announced, "All couples married a year or less, step off the dance floor." Then he asked those married five years or less to take their leave. And so the invitation, to make room for couples married 10, 20, 30 years, continued.
While dancing with my husband, I noticed how few people remained.
"40 years!" The DJ broadcast to us last three couples dancing.
When the song ended, our friends, their children - now young adults - and our son, reached out with high-fives, pats on the back, and "Congratulations!"
Many asked, "How romantic ... what's your secret to staying together?"
The question came as no surprise and their idealic vision of marriage made me smile.
Romantic? Not so much. I would describe our years together as lots of tears shed over misunderstandings. Selfishness. Loneliness. Hard and difficult times, pushing through emotions I didn't understand.
Painful words. Challenging moments. Loads of opportunities to compromise. We were stubborn - both of us! As I look over my shoulder on the past 42 years, I know the real glue that has kept us together has been God and the power of His Word.
When I wanted to criticize my husband for offenses real and imagined, I read that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).
When I felt lonely, I read that God was with me (Zephaniah 3:17).
When I thought I was right and my husband was wrong, I read that I shouldn't think too highly of myself (Romans 12:2-4).
When the daily grind of work, chores, errands drained me and my wild heart longed for more, I read that when I leaned on the Lord, through Him, I could get through anything (Philippians 4:13)
Marriage is like a triangle. Want to grow close to your man? Grow closer to God. As both of you reach upward you'll not only come close to God, you'll grow closer to each other. And if you are in a marriage where your husband doesn't want to draw near to the Lord, you keep on anyhow. In Him, you'll find the support, love and hope your heart desires.
A long time ago I was a young bride, asking older married women for advice. I heard a lot of things like keep the fun and adventure in your marriage. "Life is a gift," my mother taught me. "Don't let the sun go down on your anger," Daddy shared with me. "Know your husband" a friend encouraged me. Understanding my man's personality and love language taught me about conflict and acceptance.
I wouldn't hesitate to share any of these wise words to newlyweds. But the very BEST advice I learned along the way? The greatest marriage counselor and guide is God and His Word.
Marriage can be hard, but it's easier when we spend more time focusing on God's encouraging truths and less time concentrating on our husband's faults. Today, let's start a practice of turning to the Bible for answers about our marriage, thanking God for our husband and the Lord for His wisdom.
Father God, You alone are perfect. Help me to keep my eyes on You. I know that no one is an easy forever-partner. Remind me daily to curb my critical spirit. Teach me to see my husband through Your eyes. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
Visit Van Walton's blog for insight into personality styles and how they impact relationships.
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Reflect and Respond:
Are you looking at your husband through Jesus' accepting and grace-filled eyes or do you see him through needs you expect him to meet?
Before today is over, pick 2 verses to pray for your husband and 2 verses to recall that will give you wisdom for your marriage.
Mark 10:6-9, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' '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." (NIV)
© 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.