Despite what the world wants to tell us, we have seen that marriage is a gift to be discovered each day, hand in hand.
My husband and I will be celebrating six years of marriage this month. We know many amazing couples who have marriages spanning five and six times our own. While I know we have a long and beautiful road ahead of us, I never want to forget what the Lord has taught us in these first years. They were foundational, critical, defining, stretching, and fun. As I reflect on this milestone, I want to share the biggest lessons we have learned.
- Always pursue connectionConnection is the oxygen of any relationship. No other systems can function without it. It may be tempting to choose passivity or aggression, but Jesus gives us a beautiful example of choosing connection when we are hurt. Do you know you need to have a difficult conversation? Do something to connect beforehand. Go on a date, play a game, laugh together. You will be amazed at what mountains you can move together when you are connected.
- Carve out time to communicateOne of my favorite rhythms we have established in our marriage is each Sunday after our daughter is asleep, we set aside a couple of hours to communicate. We settle in, have a sweet treat together and prepare our hearts. We ask the same four questions every week:
- How did you feel most loved/respected this week?
- What are you thankful for about me?
- What could I have done better?
- How is your heart?
This simple, structured time has helped us learn to communicate clearly and honestly with each other. It has grown our capacity to listen to and learn from each other. We have faced significant changes throughout these six years, but we have stayed in synch with one another because of this intentional time.
- Maintain your own connection to The LordThe presence of God can change your heart in one moment. Where there is pain, He can heal. Where there is deception, He can provide truth. Where there is chaos, He can bring peace. Your spouse is a gift from God, but they can never be God. I cannot overstate the value of daily time with Him. There are many ways His children experience Him, but I encourage you to find a way that is meaningful to you and do it every day. There are times when my husband and I sense that the other is overwhelmed and we have learned to say, “How can I help you get time with the Lord today?” It’s a gentle reminder that all we need is a touch from Him, our source.
- Community will bless your marriageHave you ever gone to the produce section at the grocery store and tried to find a good peach? You gently press it, knowing exactly what you’re looking for. You’re inspecting the fruit. Is it good? Is it rotten? As basic as this sounds, this is how we can approach looking for friendships and community. When we see the fruits of the spirit in other marriages and are in community with them, we are welcoming that same fruit into our own marriage.
As we continue to unpack to the mystery of becoming one flesh, I pray that we never stop growing, learning, and laughing together. Despite what the world wants to tell us, we have seen that marriage is gift to be discovered each day, hand in hand.
When we see the fruits of the spirit in other marriages and are in community with them, we are welcoming that same fruit into our own marriage.