God created marriage. He treasures it as one of the most important human relationships we can have; he even compares it to the relationship between His Son and the church. This is why it is so important for Christians to model good marriages the best they can.
Almost 25 Years
Come February 2016 my husband Ross and I will be celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. When we are asked how we have managed to stay together all these years, our answer is simple: “We made a vow before God that says until death do us part. So that means that divorce was never an option, but to be honest we have considered murder at times!” (Kidding…)
Despite being married twenty-five years, things were not always perfect.
God has a very funny sense of humour sometimes when it comes to whom He pairs together. I was married to Ross and had a child on the way less than one year after meeting him. I knew that it was God’s will but what I didn’t know was how opposite we were from each other and how hard it was going to be.
Compatible is not a word that you could use to describe our relationship. In fact, the first ten years of my marriage was so hard that the only thing that kept us together was the vow that we had made.
How did we Figure it All Out
If things were that bad then why did we stay together? Shouldn’t my needs have come first? Shouldn’t I have the right to be happy?
The answer is yes and no. God’s plans are way bigger and so much more awesome then we can ever imagine. His plans encompass our whole lives and sometimes the short periods of difficulties and trials we go through are the cost we pay for something incredible later on.
After the first 10 years of our marriage things started to get better and better, and as we approach 25 years I can honestly say that we have learned to work things out and that we love each other more and more each day.
So What Actions Did We Take?
Here are the things that we learned to do in our marriage that kept us together and caused us to grow closer as a couple:
We put the Lord first: We both agreed to put our own and each other’s individual relationship with the Lord first. We each learned how to reach out to God and let Him come in and heal our hearts and give us direction. Over time we also learned how to pray and learn the Word of God together.
We learned that we have different love languages: Just like everything else in this world there are different ways to do things and there are different ways to express love. God brought the book The Five Love Languages our way and we realized that we were both expressing love to each other, but the other person didn’t know it because our love languages were different.
Once we realized this, we learned to speak the other’s language so that both of us would feel loved.
We never went to bed angry with each other: We took Ephesians 4:26-27 to heart. “Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
If there were issues we worked them out or came to an acceptable compromise before we went to bed. Not every issue was settled that night but we always reached the point where we were no longer angry at each other. Which leads to…
We forgave each other: It was very hard for the both of us in the beginning, but we have both learned to forgive each other quickly and not to let hurts and pains stay in our heart.
We stopped trying to change each other: It came to a point in our marriage that we realized that we were both so different from each other and that was OK. We didn’t have to change the other person but we accepted them the way that they were and appreciated both their strengths and their weaknesses. We let God change the other spouse, rather than trying to do it ourselves.
God has worked in our lives in amazing ways. Here are three blessings that we have experienced because we chose to stay together.
1. Both of our children serve the Lord: Our children saw us struggle and learn how to stay committed even in hard times. They saw us turn to the Lord for help and to put the other person first. As a result, our adult children serve the Lord to this day.
We both believe that if we had not stayed together, our children would have suffered for it and probably turned their backs on God. That alone is reward enough for all the hard years we first experienced in our marriage.
2. People Know That God Is Real: Believe it or not, people who know us know that God is real because of how He has worked in our lives through our marriage. God has used our marriage to bring family members on both sides to know Jesus. Sometimes the price we pay may seem very hard at the time, but the rewards of obedience are worth it.
3. We work better as a team: There were people that we could only reach by combining both of our strengths together. God used our differences to minister to those in need.
Is It Worth It?
So, is it worth all the hard work it takes to make a difficult Christian marriage work?
The answer is YES!!!!!!
Even though it is hard, even though you may want to give up at times, even though the other person is driving you crazy, it is worth it. When you look back on your life the rewards that you will have received will be worth everything it took to get there.
God honours marriage. Let God show you how to become a better spouse and trust Him to work in the life of your spouse. You will so glad that you did.
~ By Kim Thompson-Pinder
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