Keeping Marriage Alive

We haven’t aged a bit right?

Over the weekend we celebrated our 5th year anniversary. Wow married for that long already! We got talking about our marriage and all – especially because its wedding season and also because Chris did a sermon on Marriage this Sunday.

Man, thinking back – I was pretty immature when I got married, both Spiritually and as a person. Mum and Dad thanks for letting us get married anyway!

Against the backdrop of marriage being devalued in society and marriages breaking down (check out McCrindle research for some interesting stats) we thought about what were some of the things that kept our marriage going. I thought I might share them.

1. Forgiveness

From the start, our Pastor told us that the commitment to forgive was the key – not ‘Love’, or ‘Communication’ or ‘Conflict Resolution’ or ‘Compatibility’. I think he was right. He was right because it recognises that both people in marriage are sinful. It also recognises that you will feel hurt/angry at your spouse at some stage.

When I first came across this idea, I thought to myself, “this is hard, since I will have to forgive all the time when Chris stuff up.” How stupid I was! I soon came to many situations where I hoped that Chris would forgive me from all the stuff that I did wrong in the marriage!  How great it has been on the receiving end of forgiveness!

2. Recogising Each Others Differences

As you may know already, Chris and I aren’t very compatible in our interests. Our differences were SO obvious. Consequently, we made a bigger effort to understand each other’s point of view. I’m so glad we did this because we realised that even if we did have the same interests, we’re still really different people because men and women are just different! I think a lot of people go into marriage thinking that because this person is their ‘soulmate’ they must see eye to eye on many things and assume that the other person thinks the same as them. I’m sure many couples will attest that this is a bad assumption to make!

Once we figured this out, I was happy that we didn’t try and do anything together. For us, it just didn’t work, particularly in our ministries. Leading bible study together, writing a seminar together – we always delegate things so that we do our own bit and then come together. We also felt comfortable and happy chilling out by ourselves sometimes with our own friends, recharging in the way that suited us best. Of course we still do things together, but we didn’t HAVE to.

Please read a book on Manhood and Womanhood or even like “Men are From Mars, Woman are From Venus” or something like that to understand this better. Yes, there are stereotypes, and you won’t agree with EVERYTHING in the book, but just read it discerningly – I got a lot out of it. Another book that helped a lot in this area was Gary Chapman’s the 5 Love Languages.

3. Our God

In the end, the Holy Spirit is the one that keeps it together. We can try, but He ultimately does the work. He guides and prompts us. We are both accountable to Him for how we act in our marriage and therefore not dependant on how we feel about each other. We are committed to God so that it means that when we are angry, disappointed, bitter at each other, we are reminded that God still wants us to love and forgive and He himself provides the power to do that. Thank you Lord for 5 good years of marriage so far!

There are some things we still find hard. One thing this year we’ve found is we spend almost too much time together as we both work/study from home. Therefore our date day/nights and normal times together aren’t that much different. It’s been hard to ‘make things interesting’. I recently found a prety helpful site ‘Dating Diva’s – their goal is to help strengthen marriages by providing date ideas. Really good! – check it out 😉

Thanks to everyone who has been a friend of our marriage – from the time we started dating 10 years ago, through to all the help you provided on the wedding day and up till now, the people who have prayed for us and mentored us. We really appreciate it 🙂

Books I have read/hope to read in the next few years on marriage (other than the Bible):

What principles helped you in your marriage?

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