He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22).
This month, Susan and I have been married 41 wonderful years! It’s a milestone in this day where so many marriages end in divorce. Here are 10 ingredients in our relationship that have helped us over the years.
1. Accept your spouse the way they are without trying to change them. Susan and I are so different! And that’s a good thing. If both of us were like me, we’d explode! Years ago, the Father dealt with me about comparing Susan to this image of a perfect wife I had in my mind (men will sometimes even compare their expectations of their wife with their mother’s example). I learned to accept Susan for who she is, and just love her. That changed us!
2. Walk in agape love. While phileo love (friendship) is the reason you marry someone, agape (God’s love) is the oil that keeps your relationship running smoothly. Agape doesn’t take account of the evil done to it, doesn’t pay attention to a suffered wrong. All of us will fail at times. And this agape will cover the multitude of mistakes! Agape treats the other person as if they had never done anything wrong! It doesn’t bring up the past.
3. Date each other. Susan and I usually take a night a week to “date.” We’ll go out to eat, watch a movie at home, go to a shopping mall, etc. And we’ll just talk about whatever.
4. Verbalize your love. You can’t wear I love you out! We tell each other several times a day. And we hug and kiss and show affection every day. One thing I picked up from Ken and Lynette Hagin when they were with us several years ago is that they give each other a quick kiss after they pray over their meal. Kenneth got that from his daddy. Keep the flame alive!
5. Give each other some space. Susan needs her time for her woman stuff. I need my space for my man stuff. Give each other some liberty to take time for personal hobbies and friendships.
6. Allow differences without anger. Two people living in the same house coming from different families are at times going to disagree. That’s not a bad thing unless you are self-centered and have to get your way all of the time, or you let uncontrolled anger enter the picture. I think that if you never disagree, you’re not being honest about issues! Allow for differences in views.
7. Don’t go to bed angry. Each day, clear the air of the day’s conversations and differences. Love forgives, accepts, and forgets. Ephesians 4:26 reveals, Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
8. Keep your physical relationship strong. Sexuality is a part of human life. God’s answer to the sex desires He places in us is marriage! Hebrews 13:4 reads, Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Keep this area of life private. It should never be discussed with others. As your marriage ages, and children and busy careers enter the picture, it’s important to make private time with each other.
9. Pray for your spouse daily. Instead of praying, Lord change my spouse, pray Lord, help me be the best spouse my mate could possibly have. Help me be what (he or she) needs.
10. Above all, just be a good Christian! IF you do, you’ll honor your mate, you’ll be responsible for your actions and words, and you’ll humble yourself and admit when you’re wrong! And you’ll love and respect your spouse.