The Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage
So what is the secret to a long and happy marriage? We’ve all heard the question before, and can’t help but lean in to hear the “secret” that person will share. So, even though you didn’t ask, let me tell you what I think. To be frank, my husband and I have only been together ten years. So I can’t so much speak to “long”, but I can speak to “happy”. And that would lead to “long”, right? And happy and long, is much, much better than just long, don’t you think? By far.
So… what’s the secret? Here are 10 Steps to A Long and Happy Marriage
1. CHOOSE SELFLESSNESS
Imagine you’ve both had a long day. You’re both exhausted. The last thing in the world either of you wants to do is to lift another finger. But, there is still work to be done. So one of you digs deep, and selflessly takes care of it, so the other can rest. That is kindness. No words of glory or pity or complaint are necessary. That is selflessness.
2. SPEAK WITH LOVE
And how about this example? After that long day, and you’re both exhausted, and there’s still more to be done, the urge to snap at the other would be so easy… so natural. But you don’t. You wouldn’t. Not just because of the fight it might cause. But because it is settled in your mind to speak to your spouse with kindness. You have an established habit… a good habit… of always speaking with caring and respect. Anything less would be unthinkable!
Let me take it a step further. Let’s imagine, just for the sake of argument, because this could never, never happen! (Of course.) But let’s just say that after that long day, when you’re both exhausted, let’s just say that I snapped at my husband. Maybe I just said something unthinking that hit a very tired and touchy nerve. What’s going to happen? I bet you he will say something funny… something so off the wall, that we laugh, and all the pressures of the day melt away. Yep, that’s likely what will happen.
You see, he is just not. Not. Not. Not going to be rude. He’s not even going to “think” rude. He’s just not. He has that settled in his mind. He will not go there. So that’s that. Decide that in your mind… right now.
3. TRUST GOD
Let me brag on my sweet husband for just a minute. I hope the men who read this will benefit from his example. He is always… and yes, I said always because I mean always… patient. No matter what happens. His patience is deeply rooted in his faith in God. Whatever happens, even when I make mistakes or touch a nerve, he trusts God and keeps his cool. Though he is an incredibly industrious man, who can fix most anything… and though he thinks on his feet and solves problems right and left… and though he deals with difficult people just like everyone does, he recognizes that the Lord is in control. So he doesn’t worry or let things bother him.
4. BE HUMBLE
He is humble, so if someone treats him with disrespect, he blows it off. He doesn’t think he is God and demand respect. (By the way, Jesus didn’t even demand respect, which is completely amazing, and a very good topic to consider.) Because of his faith, my husband doesn’t get uptight. Not one bit. How much peace do you think that accounts for in our home? A lot!
5. ACCEPT OTHERS’ FAULTS
Here’s a good one for you. I remember seeing someone yell at him at the top of her lungs, over something that was clearly not his fault. After that episode was over, I asked him what in the world that was about. Do you want to know what he said? He said, “I guess she just needed to blow off some steam.” Wow.
6. ACCEPT PROBLEMS OF LIFE
I remember another incident where he pulled over to the side of the road to let someone pass, and hit a piece of wood that ripped a gash in his tire and also bent up the wheel. Several hundred dollars down the drain. He just got out of the truck, rolled onto his back on the skillet-hot asphalt, and proceeded to replace the wheel and tire. No grumbling. No yelling. No tirade. He just dealt with it, and we went on down the road.
7. BE FAITHFUL
How ‘bout trust? I trust him. And he trusts me. Really. He knows that wherever I go, I am faithful to him. Heart. Mind. And Soul. And I know that wherever he goes, he is faithful to me. Heart. Mind. And Soul.
I have a funny example to show this point. One of my girlfriends and I were out shopping, being silly, and I decided to buy a wig. I thought it would be fun to surprise my husband without telling him about it first. So I went to the bathroom and put it on, and came out to see him. He jumped like he had been shot! To my amazement, he couldn’t even look at me! I looked so different, he just couldn’t bring himself to see that it was me. I kept telling him, “It’s me, darlin’. It’s just me.” But he kept diverting his eyes. It was as if he was alone with another woman, and he just couldn’t. Because he is faithful. Down to the deepest part of who he is.
8. DO NOT HOLD GRUDGES
So let’s just say there was a “misunderstanding”. We could have a disagreement, a spat, a lover’s quarrel, or a downright argument. Well, we could go to bed angry. But guess what? We’ll just wake up angry. And miserable. So we choose to let it go. We don’t hold a grudge. We accept each other. Accept each other’s weaknesses. Talk… kindly… through issues. My husband won’t ever understand me completely. Just like I won’t understand him completely. And that’s ok. He’s not God. He’s a man. I have to simply accept him as he is. Grudges get you nowhere… but miserable.
9. VESSEL GOD’S LOVE TO YOUR SPOUSE
In a beautiful way, I get to see the love of Christ through him. Oh. That is the way Jesus speaks to me. Oh. This is the patience Jesus has for me. And the forgiveness. And the gentleness. And the selflessness. And the faithfulness. So I can be at peace at all times. “Husbands, love your wives as Jesus loved the church, and gave Himself up for her”. Jesus sacrificed His wants… for hers. And He still does.
And as for anyone’s inabilities, we get to appreciate our relationship with the Lord all the more. The Lord completely understands us. We don’t even have to try to explain how we are feeling to Him. The Lord can always listen, if we feel like bothering him in the middle of the night. So take God-stuff to God.
10 STEPS TO A LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGE
1.. CHOOSE SELFLESSNESS
2. SETTLE IN YOUR MIND TO ALWAYS SPEAK WITH LOVE
3. OVERLOOK FAULTS
4. TRUST GOD
5. BE HUMBLE
6. ACCEPT PROBLEMS WILL COME EACH DAY
7. BE FAITHFUL – TRULY FAITHFUL
8. DO NOT HOLD A GRUDGE
9. VESSEL GOD’S LOVE TO YOUR SPOUSE
10. MAKE EACH OTHER’S DAY – EVERY DAY
If this sounds a lot like the “Love Chapter” from 1st Corinthians 13, that is read at almost every wedding, that’s because it is. The age-old truth is just a true as it ever was. Love really is the answer.
10. Make Each Other’s Day – Every Day
So choose to make each other’s day… EVERY day. Choose to have a happy marriage. If you and your spouse have gotten into bad habits, change ‘em! You go first. Put on your big girl or big boy pants, and go first. You CAN sweeten a sour marriage. TODAY. Yes, you can do a do-over! Start with my “100 Wonderful Things to Say to Your Spouse” page on www.ReachALifeToday.com. At first you might choke on the words, so pick an easy one… pick an easy time… and give it a try. Say something or do something that will make your spouse feel special. Feel loved. Feel accepted. Feel appreciated. If your spouse gives you a crazy look, that’s ok. You’ll turn it around and you will not only have a “long” marriage, you will have a “happy” one!
Much, much better by far.
I can’t begin to do any of this without Your strength. I will run out of gas before I leave the drive-way! So live in me in a powerful way. Transform my mind into Your mind of humility. Transform my heart into Your heart of love. Be so great in my eyes, that I become just like You, in all Your beautiful ways. Speak thru me. Guide me in everything You would have be to do so I can bless those around me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
LET’S GO REACH A LIFE TODAY!
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Hope you love these stories I wrote about ordinary people like us, who received miracles from Jesus! Imagine yourself as the blind man who received his sight! And the paralyzed man who was healed! And even the thief on the cross beside Jesus! Jesus is the Miracle Man!
The Miracle Man 7-5-14 (PDF)
The Miracle Man 7-5-14 (Word doc for Kindle)
The Miracle Man 8×11 (Word doc for printing)