Some would say that 10 years of marriage is a tremendous milestone to reach. And I would be inclined to agree.
But in reality, in today’s society, every year of marriage is a great milestone. We are constantly surrounded by the world’s standards and ideas, standing in opposition to what we believe and practice.
This past January my husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. We are both so very grateful for every year that God has given to us, and try not to take for granted what he has blessed us with. For we know there are many who struggle in their marriages, and only by his grace do we make it.
So what makes a marriage healthy and successful?
Foundation of Faith
First of all, 2 people who desire to love God FIRST, and their spouse next. To have common ground between them, no matter their upbringings, based on a foundation rooted and established in the truth of God’s word. To actively seek after God and be open, ready, willing to grow in their faith, no matter what the circumstances are that bring it about.
It is so important to agree on the ultimate authority of God’s word in your lives. For we are but human and full of error – yet the word of God is without error.
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who trust in him.”
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
I used to struggle with asking forgiveness when I was younger. I would sit by myself and count to 10, or 30 seconds, or a minute, 2 minutes….trying to psych myself up for asking forgiveness. It was stubborn pride speaking, and it was wrong. When I got married, my dear mother gently warned me to not let my husband be the one to always come reconciling, but to be the one to seek out forgiveness. And oh did I ever need to do just that a lot during our first years of marriage!
For a marriage to be successful, you have to be willing to put another’s needs before your own. To love God FIRST, and your spouse next means. To surrender your rights, even when you just might be in the right, and seek a situation of forgiveness. Don’t let stubborn pride hold you back – you know when you’re wrong! Every seconds you wait counts – pray for a heart of forgiveness for both you and your spouse.
Every marriage needs an element of fun. It’s easy when you’re dating to find fun things to do together – there aren’t many responsibilities dampening the excitement, save for working or school the next day. But as you get older and your responsibilities become greater (children to engage with, work with, help, teach, raise; more demanding jobs; household to look after; tighter finances; complicated life situations; spiritual journeys) the fun can start to fizzle out – UNLESS you actively seek to keep the fun times rolling!
Leading up to our anniversary, my husband planned date nights out to different ethnic restaurants – we ate Italian, Croatian, Greek, French (fries, that counts as French, right?!), Spanish and Turkish. At each restaurant we took photos of ourselves and our dishes and did a little write-up review. It was a lot of fun and something creative we hadn’t done before.
There are loads of great dating ideas out there on the great wide internet, whether you stay at home and plan an evening of intentional time together, or head off on a weekend away. Do little things that make him smile (like buying a bottled Starbucks frappuccino from the grocery store to have ready for when your husband gets home) and plan bigger events (like shipping the kids off to the parents for a night)- but whatever you do, do something FUN together!
Really, there are many more than three things that are critical in marriages. What are some others you’d add to this list?