John and I just celebrated another anniversary. Our 36th! Where has the time gone?!
Well, we devoted time to growing together in God… nurturing our diverse ministries, including raising our wonderful daughter, creating careers in business, teaching, consulting, and coaching… encouraging others… enjoying and creating music… and attending grad school not once but many times. )
What’s the secret to a vibrant, joyous marriage? Here are a few things that have helped me. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
♥ Commitment. Begin with the end in mind. Even before you say “I do,” create a shared vision for your life together. And when you say “I do,” know that you are making a vow, a sacred commitment for the long-term. Remember that those 2 precious words—“I do”—are intimately connected with “’til death do us part.” When you hit the inevitable snag or a bump in the road, it helps to know you’re committed to each other, to God, and to working together to move through the rough times… and live to tell about it!
♥ Love. The language of love includes gratitude, patience, courage, and forgiveness, along with a good sense of humor. Love is the only thing that multiplies when you share it, so be sure to love generously—with your smiles, kisses, hugs, whispers, laughter, snuggling, hand holding, stories, and hallelujahs. Discover your mate’s love language—and use it! If just thinking about your spouse makes you flush, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell him. I love romantic surprises—a love note under my pillow or, when I’m on the road, tucked into my luggage… a shared sunrise or sunset… hearing John play the piano while I’m writing or cooking… or even better—having him cook!
♥ Communication. Be sure to talk about everything—the big things and the little things. Share your beliefs and dreams… about faith, money, children, romance, family, friends, work, and recreation. If it’s important to you, then it should be important to your mate. Remember that in the grand aria of life, time is precious and life is short. Don’t waste precious time pouting, sulking, or dishing out the silent treatment. When you fight, get over it—the sooner the better. Do you really care about being right or being with Mr. or Mrs. Right?
♥ Time together and time alone is essential. Be intentional. If you’re raising children, set aside time each day that’s just for the two of you. If you can arrange for a relative or friend to care for your children every now and then, do it. If your nest is empty, set aside a special time for a date night: take a walk, play a game, sing, watch a movie, learn how to say “I love you” in as many languages as possible. The important thing is to have fun. Invest in each other and the rewards will be a joyous relationship, good times, and memories to cherish for years to come.
John, here’s to you… Happy 36th! To many, many more.
Pass It On!