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Marriage is tough.
If you disagree, I’d like to know your secret, because everything I’ve experienced and seen and read says it’s hard. They just don’t tell us that before we get married. Or if they do, we’re all so blinded by love that we think it could never be difficult for us, because we’re different. We’re special.
Nowadays it seems as though married couples encounter difficulty and suddenly feel like something is wrong just because marriage became hard. I hate to see so many marriages fall apart just because we can’t push through the tough stuff. I mean, sometimes there are very good reasons for separation and divorce, but many times what it comes down to is quitting because it’s hard. Difficulty has been equated with “falling out of love.” And what many of us fail to do is choose to love. And fight for marriage.
Now, I’m no expert on marriage. And I’m no saint; I have plenty of issues, and we’ve been through some difficulty in our marriage, I think it’s safe to say.
But one thing I love to do is fight for what I want, and what I want is for my marriage to last. I fight best when I’m educated though. That being said, I do a lot of reading on marriage.
I recently encountered a book written by marriage expert Gary Smalley’s son, Greg, and Greg’s wife, Erin. It’s titled Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage. It was a great book, and I did a lot of underlining as I read through. In it, Greg and Erin offer 12 secrets that will help you develop a lifelong romance with your spouse. This is instead of the alternative of suffering through marriage or just giving up altogether. I’d love to just share the entire book with you, but since I can’t, here are my top 15 takeaways, all quotes from the book.
- Healthy habits in marriage develop only when you’re intentional about them and put consistent effort into growing them in place of bad habits.
- Our first and most important job in marriage is to open our hearts to God’s unlimited love…God alone can fill you to the full.
- Dying to self daily is a key to not only the Christian life but also to lifelong love and romance with your spouse.
- Spiritual intimacy in marriage seldom occurs without effort. It must be intentionally developed.
- Communication is the lifeblood of a marriage. Blood is responsible for supplying oxygen and transporting nutrients to the far regions of the body. It also fights off infection. Without communication, a marriage will suffocate. Without communication, a marriage will starve. Without communication, disease will run rampant in your relationship.
- It’s imperative that you learn how to face your differences and work through your disagreements and hurt.
- The responsibility falls on both spouses to love, honor, cherish, and respect the other, reciprocity being the main emphasis.
- You are to labor to nourish your spouse. If you don’t, you are essentially starving him or her, and your relationship–and your spouse–will suffer.
- If you don’t spend time bonding, your marriage will grow cold, and you or your spouse may be tempted to find warmth elsewhere.
- Righteous sex is about self-sacrifice not self-gratification.
- Winning is losing when a couple is unable to submit to each other in love and unity.
- Conflict management can actually help you build intimacy once you learn how to resolve issues.
- The secret to loving well is first being transformed by God; only then can you truly serve your spouse.
- A spouse alone is not enough to fulfill our deep desire for fellowship. By experiencing married life in a healthy community, a couple realizes multiple benefits.
- We need to choose, every day, to pursue a great marriage.
If you enjoyed my fifteen takeaways, you’ll have to find out what else Greg and Erin have to say by reading Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage. These tips are just a small sampling of the wise advice they offer.
Just, whatever you do, don’t give up on your marriage yet. Keep plugging away, and push through the hard things. I know it takes a lot of time and effort and energy, and sometimes living with another human being so different from you is just plain difficult. But it doesn’t have to be like that forever. Push through hard. And don’t just survive marriage. Thrive.