I don't usually post on this blog and in reality I call it "your blog" (to Kim), not because I don't care about it but rather because I see it as one of Kim's wonderful ways that she has to express herself and keep in contact with friends. But Kim and my 10th Anniversary is coming up on May 11th and I thought it might be nice to include something here about marriage as we are in a time of reflecting on 10 years of marriage. Not that I know that much in comparison to our parents and others that we look up to that have many, many more years of happy marriage but I thought I might share a little bit of what I have learned over the course of 10 years. So without further ado, my top 10 ten list of keys to a happy marriage:
1. Keep your focus on God! The more that you both are able to keep your focus on God and His teachings, the happier you both will be. A family that is centered on the Word and the Church will have proper focus and a proper vision for what their relationships should look like.
2. It's the little things that count and mean the most that show your wife that you love her and are thinking about her: Flowers when not expecting them. An unplanned date night. Taking the kid to the park so that way she can stay back to work on something she needs to or just relax.
3. Always be thinking what would make your wife happy. For Christians, this seems like the most obvious one that should come natural to us in that we are considering the needs of others before ourselves. But unfortunately, when it comes to marriage, it can be the toughest one because deep down we are all selfish people who make selfish decisions and its easiest to be selfish with the person you are closest to. In the end, if you follow the example of Christ, one should be always looking to the needs of his wife for how to use that extra money, where to go out to eat, where and with him to spend your free time, etc.
4. Keep talking and keep listening! When marriages get bad is when the couples stop trying to work through their difficulties and decide that she is never going to change. Marriage is the most difficult yet the most wonderful, joy-giving relationship you will ever have. You have to keep talking to make your spouse a better person. You need to keep listening and encouraging her to talk about her frustrations so that way you can understand and you can become a better person. This is a lot of hard work and those who are truly happy in their marriages have figured it out. The Bible says to not let the sun go down on your anger so maybe we should listen to the Bible.
5. Tell your wife she looks beautiful without her needing to ask how she looks before leaving the house.
6. Take time for your wife. I've kind of already talked about this one but I think it's so important that I want to separate it as its own point. Be honest with yourself... take a day when you are not working and go through the day recording everything you do and the amount of time you spend doing it. Take a look at this record at the end of the day and see how much time you spent on things that revolve around yourself and how much time was spent on things for your wife. You will probably be surprised! Time is the most important thing these days and the more time you invest in your relationship, the happier you both will be.
7. No laundry lists please! You need to forgive and forget and move on. Yes, there can be some deep pains in marriage but once your wife has truly repented for something and you have forgiven her for it, you need to forget also. Bringing up the laundry lists of all the things she has done wrong in the past will not help anyone. You need to move forward together in your marriage.
8. Have a vision for ministry. I believe that whether you are a pastor, missionary or involved in any other form of paid ministry or not, you need to seek a sense of call for service in the church: individually but also as a couple. Again, when a family is focused on God and the Church or in this case ministry, life's small difficulties and troubles don't seem as important plus you have the church community around you to support you.
9. Setup a date night for once per week. This is one area that I have to admit that I have not been successful in keeping our commitment to. It's my fault. I'm the workaholic that doesn't think to keep the fun aspect of our marriage going. But that's also why I have a wonderful wife who does stress this side of things and helps me to relax and enjoy ourselves every once in a while.
10. When you know your wife has been working on fixing something or just doing something well in some area, tell her that you are proud of her and that you appreciate all her hard work. Again, it seems obvious but there's a lot that seems obvious about marriage which many married couples don't do well. Complementing your wife for something that she has been working hard on or some accomplishment will make her very happy!
Kim... I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to learn many of these things and that I still fall short in our marriage. I love you very much and I'm so happy that God blessed me by allowing me to be your husband 10 years ago. Happy Anniversary honey!!!