Today is a continuation of the blog series "Beyond the Big Day." These blogs are intended to help engaged couples, newlyweds, and anyone who is open to wisdom from others who have been married and learned a few things from it! Today you'll hear from my mom and her 30+ years of marriage experience. I'm so grateful she was willing to share!
Thirty-two years ago, Gary asked me to marry him, and I said, “Yes!” Seven months later we walked down the aisle and committed our lives to one another before God and friends and family. I remember our pre-marriage counselling with a couple we deeply respected. As they outlined typical problem areas in marriage, I thought to myself, “Oh, those will never be issues for us. We agree on everything!”
I can tell you that it was not total agreement that brought us through many years of marriage. In fact, it was surprising to me how we could agree on so much, yet interpret the same set of circumstances so differently. While our families shared the same bedrock values, we learned to approach joys and problems in nearly opposite ways. Depending on the situation, this could be either extremely stressful or totally hilarious!
I discovered that to stay together “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and health; ‘til death do us part” calls for real humility. It calls for the daily practice of putting another above self, of forgiving small offenses, of realizing the need to remove the log from my own eye before demanding the speck be removed from the other’s. I fall so far short in this daily discipline of putting my husband first. We both know we won’t accomplish this “putting the other first” perfectly, no matter how excellent our intentions! But as we learn and grow and ask God’s help, we find grace to fill that gap. We are always a couple, having accepted the calling to go through life together, growing in our faith in God and love and respect for each other.
Those attitudes of unselfishness, respect, trust, and humility also serve to multiply and magnify the joys and victories we navigate together. It’s natural to focus in on our present interaction, whether good or bad, and let it fill our viewfinder. But choosing the wide-angle lens allows us to see that there is far more to the picture. Now as we look back on our happiest memories, as well as the less happy ones, we can see the ways that God was at work in our lives. We recognize the way God took us by the hand and walked us through our own abundant inadequacies and missteps so that we would learn to depend on Him more. We can see some of the ways He brought undeserved blessing after blessing into our lives. We can look ahead, too, with excitement that God is building a future far better than we could ever work out on our own. Life is truly an endless adventure!
So many weddings include the words from the Bible: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:7-8a)
My best advice to couples starting out is to seek God as the source of unconditional love that lasts an eternity.
Click here to read more from the Beyond the Big Day series.