"Two are better than one." Ecclesiastes 4:9
Today is hubby's and my 26th Anniversary. Twenty-six years ago we said, "I DO!" and twenty-six years later we still do! We've shared the good, the bad and even some ugly along the way, but by God's wonderful grace and mercy, we're making it through this life...together!
Marriage is a wonderful thing, but I'm here to tell you it is not all roses and candy. Marriage takes work, from both partners, to keep it alive and thriving. When things get hard -- and they will get hard, no matter who you are, how in love you are, or how much money you have -- it is tempting to give up. The divorce rate is proof of that.
Normal life stresses -- things like jobs, children, financial problems, health issues-- put a strain on your marriage. Yet the greatest enemy of marriage is the Enemy of this world. He is out to destroy as many families as he can. How do I know? Because he tried to destroy mine! You can look back to Genesis 3 and read about the first family Satan tried to destroy. Not only did he try to destroy man's relationship with God, but his lies created all kinds of trouble between Adam and Eve. Adam blames Eve for his failure. "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (Genesis 3:12) Satan is still telling lies to couples today! He does not want us to enjoy happy marriages. He does not want us to enjoy fellowship with God. And certainly, if we're so consumed with all the problems life throws our way, including marital strife, we often allow our relationship with God to fade into the messiness.
So how can young couples -- and old couples! -- keep their marriage strong, alive and thriving? Here are some things I've learned in the past 26 years:
- God MUST be the center of the marriage. A marriage not built on the foundation of biblical truths is doomed.
- Each spouse MUST put the other first. Always. Winning an argument or being "right" isn't worth the cost.
- Never let your children come between you. Your first priority is your spouse and your marriage. Your children should always come second. The second greatest gift you can give your children is to love their Mom or their Dad. The greatest gift is, of course, Jesus.
- Pray together. Every day. Sharing a devotional is good too.
- Make a point to spend time together, alone, to talk. Real conversation.
- Adam and Eve enjoyed a sexual relationship in the garden before sin entered the world (Genesis 2:24). Enjoy each other! Regularly.
- Volunteer as a couple. At church or in the community.
- Find a hobby you can both enjoy. Cruising antique shops, bike riding, motorcycle trips, camping, whatever. Just do something together.
- Take a weekend trip alone at least once a year. Even if you don't have kids at home, go somewhere special.
- Say, "I love you!" to your spouse EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!!
"It's better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there's no one to help, tough!
Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
By yourself you're unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 from The Message Bible
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
Romania, USA, UK, Australia, Belarus, Canada, France, Philippines, Serbia, Russia, South Korea, Germany