Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love and marriage

You'd think the institution of marriage would be linked to the concept of love, don't cha?  Yet with better than half of the marriages in the US ending in divorce, this doesn't seem to be the case.  It's sad that it has become so easy to divorce.  It's sad that many are choosing to avoid marriage and the commitment and sacrament that it is meant to be.  It's sad that most children today don't live with a mother and a father that have only been married to each other.

I am so blessed to be in a long marriage.  I've been married over 30 years.  My secret to a long marriage is simple.  Don't get divorced.

Believe me, I know marriage is difficult.  My marriage isn't special or blessed or easier than anyone else's marriage.  My husband and I just decided we wouldn't get divorced.  No matter what, we didn't want to get divorced.  I know this sounds like an impossibility.  Of course, there were absolute deal breakers.  Of course, I wouldn't tolerate abuse.  But everything else was a negotiable.  I won't break the privacy of my marriage and share the things we have forgiven each other, but let me tell you, some of these forgivables are things that are considered deal breakers in a lot of marriages that fail.

We have learned a lot of things about staying married during our 30 years as a couple.  One of the first things we learned, and this was learned at a marriage retreat we were sent to attend by the church we were attending at the time, (see, life wasn't all diamonds and roses) is that my spouse is not my enemy.  Did you get that one?  My Spouse is NOT my Enemy!

This was a revelation.  It's been at least 15 years since I heard that phrase and I still remember it.  This was life changing stuff for me.

Another thing that has kept our marriage together is a couple verses in the bible.

Ephesians 5:22, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord."

The other verse that has helped comes very near after the above.

Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

And, the thing we do that makes these verses work well for us is to only work on the verse that references each of us, specifically.  I work on verse 22 and I leave verse 25 to him.  We find this is much more effective than monitoring how the other is doing on their respective verse.

There are more words from the bible about love.  My husband and I had these words read at our wedding ceremony.  At the time, I believed the minister was reading these words for my husband's benefit.  Now I know, they were for me. 

I Corinthians 13:4-8, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away."

The last thing we have found to be a key to a long and happy marriage is one simple phrase.  This phrase is always appropriate.  This phrase is always welcome.  This phrase can be used in almost all situations.  This phrase is not only appropriate for husbands to say to wives, or wives to say to husbands, but also children can say it to parents and parents can say it to children.  Friends can use this phrase.  Co-workers can use this phrase.  Seriously, these are magical words.  Do you want to know what they are?

"How can I help you?"

So simple, but so effective. 
 I'm linking with Emily today at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

160.  Husband coming home tomorrow
161.  Progress on getting a raise
162.  My ankle and knee are just about healed
163.  Buying train tickets to NYC
164.  Cheese and cherry danish
165.  Dreaming of tulips
166.  Finding a solution to a difficulty with a co-worker that works for everyone
167.  Being Happy in this day and enjoying the feeling of Being Happy


  1. Great post!  I absolutely agree!

  2. my spouse is not my enemy is huge....and not letting divorce even have a space on the table...i think for far too many communication break downs cause many a problem...and that is what i would consider the

  3. Not being married, I have little to contribute to this discussion, except to say that I've seen this to be true. I have a friend who got married and said, 'if it doesn't work out we can always get divorced!' and sure enough, a year and a bit later, she was. I know others who said that marriage is for life no if's and's or but's about it and, not only are they still married, but happily so. so my small sample size would agree with you ;) way to go with your wisdom.

  4. What a great post!  Such wisdom!  I'm with you, so disappointed that marriage has no value today.  It IS work, but it's worthwhile.  Never heard "your spouse is not your enemy."  But, that's a good one!  Sounds like you've found the secret!  Congrats on your many years together!


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