November 18, 2013

Three Reasons My Marriage Has Survived

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary.

I am so incredibly blessed to be married to a wonderful man who cherishes me and treats me as a partner in life. I know not everyone has that. Believe me, I'm grateful.

I sat down to think about the hard things we've been through together: law school, grad school, disappointments, health issues, disagreements about our future, and more. I wanted to pinpoint what it was that allowed our marriage to survive -- and thrive -- for the last seven years, despite the trials.*

Here's what I came up with.

1. We remember we're on the same team. It is so incredibly easy to start to feel like a marriage is a me vs. him thing. Like I need to fight for what I want. Like he's just out for himself. But when I stop to think about it, I remember: he's a good-willed person. He really does want what's best for us, even if it's not exactly what I want all the time. We are a team and need to work together. The hard part is that we are both selfish beings, since we're human. But God has given us the ability to be selfless, and when we focus on what we can bring to a marriage instead of what we can get from it, everyone "wins."

2. Love and respect. Ephesians 5:33 says, "However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." When we were first married, we read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Changed our marriage! Its premise is that most women need love above anything else (other than God, of course), and most men need respect above anything else. When we can give our spouse the thing he or she needs most -- and we give it unconditionally -- we speak to them in their love language. I try to focus on respecting my husband, since that's what God has called me to do. He wants me to do this regardless of whether my husband loves me. That's not always easy. I fail at it a lot of times. But thankfully, forgiveness is a part of loving and respecting.

3. God. I really should have put this first, because the Number 1 reason my husband and I are still together is God. We came into marriage with the same foundational beliefs, and were able to build our marriage on something other than our own whims, desires, and what not. Not only that, but God has given us forgiveness, selflessness, and grace when we needed it. When we're both following after Him, we are able to see the bigger picture and remember that our marriage represents the union between Christ and the Church.

Your Turn: If you're married, what's been something that has helped your marriage survive and thrive over the years? If you're not, what is something you admire about a married couple you know? Or, for fun, who is your favorite married couple in a book or movie and why?

*I in no way mean this as a bragging post. I give God all the glory for our marriage. I know there are a lot of believers out there who tried to do these things and it didn't work out for whatever reason. My heart goes out to you. I'm only speaking to what has worked in my own marriage.

11 comments:

  1. My husband and I often say, "Same team -- no trades." So I totally agree with your Point #1.
    And we know how to laugh together -- not at one another. You can't stay angry with someone you're laughing with.

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  2. Well, I'm not married but when I read your post, I though, yup...that's the kind of marriage I want to have, too. The things you said reminded me a lot of my parents and grandparents, too.

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  3. Happy anniversary! Enjoy celebrating your seven years of togetherness. Sounds like you have an understanding of what makes a marriage work well, which has enabled you to build a firm foundation that will withstand the inevitable bumps and jolts that come your way. That's great!

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  4. Happy anniversary! I LOVE the Love & Respect book. Hard to always put into action, but very good advice. And advice? I have no pithy words of wisdom but I know that no matter the ups and downs, a marriage built on a solid foundation (God) gets better and better as the years go by!

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  5. Married 37 years. For us divorce wasn't an option and it's against the law to kill each other.....so, you have to work through the rough spots. When I'm upset I try to remember all the wonderful things about him that I fell in love with. And yes, we are a team.....this is especially important to remember when the kiddies join the family. Parent as a team and keep your marriage first. There will come a day when you have done your job well and they will be productive independent adults (hopefully). We are there now, "empty-nesters" and it's so wonderful to be just me and my best friend again!!

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  6. Great post, Lindsay. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

    So happy for you both. We will celebrate 18 years early next year. I can't believe it! For us, God is the foundation on which we've built our marriage. I had a wise friend tell me just before I said, "I do," that God is my need and my hubby-to-be was my want." Remembering that my husband cannot meet all my needs has helped me in not placing unrealistic expectations on him.
    Also, learning what speaks love to him and doing it has been fun and strengthening for our marriage. And communication has been key. We date regularly, talk lots and pray together. Almost every night.

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  7. Happy Anniversary! It's been twelve years since Dave and I said "I do." I've learned so much about God, myself, and Dave in those years. We started out on the same foundation (God binding us together) and I can't imagine how we would survive without Him. I love your points and I love how your marriage glorifies our Savior.

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  8. Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby!! The three points you made are so very important. You guys are simply glowing in your picture. A beautiful testimony, my Friend. Hugs!

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  9. Thanks so much for your thoughts here, everyone! I've had a busy few days so am just now stopping by, but I appreciate each one of your thoughts and pieces of advice! Such a treasure. :)

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  10. Lindsay, happy anniversary! You are right on target. We have been married for 27 years! Hard to believe. We were so young. It's not been easy and we've made some mistakes. But I remember as a young wife, listening to Dr. James Dobson say, "Divorce is not an option" ... and I took that to heart. I didn't want to repeat my parent's mistakes, and I don't want my girls to suffer as I through my own parents' divorce. That keeps me working things out. It can be hard enough with God. But without God ... it would surely be impossible. No other option, sweet girl! No other option!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Shelli! I love your commitment and advice to not even consider divorce. Good stuff!

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