That’s the word I would use to describe our life together. As you know, adventure is filled with mountain top highs, and valley low moments. We believe that each make us better people and better spouses. We’ve been fortunate to have had both. That may catch you by surprise. You may find yourself asking, “How could you use the word fortunate to describe the difficult moments of life?”
It’s simple really. We choose to see it that way.
No one on earth is perfect and we are Exhibit A. We have made more mistakes than we care to admit. Recently, we were out to dinner with friends, swapping stories of all the household items that wound up broken or in pieces in the early days of our marriage. Our laughter could be heard for miles! It happens. It’s real life. Nobody’s perfect. If you’ve ever said or done something to your spouse in frustration, be encouraged by our story. Sometimes, in marriage, you will fail. But it does not equal the end unless you let it become the end.
How did we make it? How have we survived 16 years and still going strong? It hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a lot of work over a lot of time. But it’s not rocket science. It really never is. We’ve learned that it’s as simple as making a few things top priority.
- Serve one another. If I wrote a book on making marriage I would center it around serving one another. In fact, very soon we’re opening up an entire marriage course on this very subject! This is the most obvious means to keeping your marriage healthy and at the same time, the most overlooked and underused. Several years ago I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. In the middle of a really bad stretch for us, God spoke to my heart and simply said, “Serve her just like you serve others.” For some reason, we can be so good at serving people we don’t sleep next to but terrible at serving the one we do.
Why? It’s simple- serving others is a choice. And when I chose to serve my wife and actually put her needs above my own, there is peace between us and in our home. She echoed the same back to me. Fellas- it’s easier for your wife to want to serve your needs when you’re serving hers. Trust me.
- Let love grow. I’m not a believer in love at first sight. I never have been. Even when I was in high school and gushing over Richard Marx power ballads (it’s true, I admit it. Mancard will be surrendered shortly). I think infatuation at first sight is real, but love at first sight? Nope. The reason? Love is a process that grows over time. The moment you see “the one” for the first time it’s impossible to have weathered storms like changing diapers, feeding a new born baby every hour together, holding their hair while they hug a toilet and vomit, standing at a funeral and saying goodbye to a loved one together, figuring out how the bills are going to get paid, and living with each other’s idiosyncrasies.These are all things that happen over 3, 5, 10 & 20 years or more. Through it all, love grows. Love is more than just a feeling. It’s a deep-rooted commitment that holds strong through really great times and really hard times. I look at our life over the past decade and our love has grown. I love my wife more today than I did when I first married her. How we feel about each other today is far beyond how we felt about each other when we first met. It’s taken a mixture of really difficult and really celebratory times for that to happen.
- Celebrate Success AND Failure. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Why would I celebrate failures? Here’s why- our failures, like successes, build character and they bind our hearts closer together. This is true for any area of your life but especially marriage. The truth is- you might have more failures than success. That’s just the way life is. In marriage, figuring out how to move on through failure is tough, but it makes you stronger together.I could spend thousands of words telling story after story of friends and colleagues who’ve walked through the most devastating failures with their spouse and lived to tell about it. Almost all of them would echo that it’s turned them into a better person and developed more character than they ever knew was possible. Learn to celebrate both success and failure.
Truth is, marriage was never created to be easy. God never said getting married would make life easy. He just said we CAN get married. That’s why grace exists. Grace covers a multitude of sins and it sustains marriage through the strongest hurricane.
I had to laugh a while back when a friend of mine told me that in a recent fight he was having with his wife, she blurted out, “If only our marriage was like Mike & Kristin’s. I bet they don’t fight like this!” Obviously this was an assumption based on what she did NOT know about our marriage, or our relationship. We can fight with the best of ’em! We are far from perfect, but we are committed to never giving up. Maybe that’s where you need to start?
Have you heard that we are very close to launching a brand new marriage course called The Serving Spouse Marriage Enrichment Series? Have you ever looked at your marriage and felt overwhelmed, wondering how you and your spouse will ever get on the same page? Have you ever wondered how your marriage can survive the trials of life? If so, you’re not alone. In this online course we teach you 5 easy steps you can take to help you build the kind of marriage you’ve always dreamed of having. Right now we are tying up loose ends on the course and not quite ready to open registration, but you can get on our VIP list to receive updates and the latest news. When you get on the list we’ll send you some super awesome bonus content. It’s free to add your name to the list. Only thing it will cost you is your email address. What are you waiting for? Click here to add your name today.
How’s your marriage? In what areas have you struggled? What has helped you succeed?