5 Things I’ve Learned In 5 Years Of Marriage

February 06, 2019

I’ve learned the vitalness of daily prayer.

I cannot stress enough how prayer literally makes all the difference. With a divorce rate of almost 50 percent, it’s safe to say there’s an attack on marriage. Since this attack isn’t physical, and because our weapons are not carnal, we know the only way to fight back is through prayer. Prayer is meant to be preventative, but unfortunately it’s often only used as a last resort. In order to maintain a Christ-centered marriage, we must keep God involved always, and not just when things aren’t going as we desire. We must be in communion with God in the wilderness and on the mountain top. My husband recently preached, “You may have lost some battles, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost the war.” Our marriage doesn’t have to be perfect in order for it to be worth fighting for. We aren’t perfect, and yet God remains faithful to us. If our marriage is to reflect the love that Jesus has for us, we must continually fight. 

I’ve learned that love is a choice, not a feeling.

If you are not yet married, please understand how important it is to build a marriage on a strong foundation. Be careful not to build on a foundation of emotions and feelings, because feelings fade, and when they do, your marriage is likely to follow. Speaking of feelings fading, no matter how many “heart eyes” you have for your someone, you’re human and so are they, so let’s face it, they’re bound to annoy you at some point. That’s why it’s so important to choose love every day, no matter what you’re feeling. For me, some days that decision is easy as pie, and other days my husband tosses his dirty clothes on the ground beside the laundry basket, and then I have to try a little harder. (Kinda kidding, kinda not.) Really though, we should take note from the greatest example of all time, Jesus Christ, who felt every emotion under the sun, and even in the face of shame, betrayal, and death, He chose to love. It doesn’t matter how we feel, because our feelings will come and go. What matters is that we make the choice daily to love our spouse no matter the conditions. 

I’ve learned to communicate my feelings WITH WORDS.

Staring at the wall in silent protest will solve nothing, trust me . . . I have years of experience! My go-to defense tool when I’m upset is silence, so this is something I have to continually work at. Wait, what? We have to work on things rather than just writing them off as character flaws? Shocking news, I know. The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not: don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Frustration, hurt, and anger are natural, God-given emotions, but the latter part of that verse lets us know that we must work through these emotions rather than harboring them. When we fail to communicate regularly, we not only make room for assumptions, we end up exploding about multiple offenses at once, which is unhealthy and usually doesn’t end well. Speaking of unhealthy habits, we must be careful not to take frustrations we have with our spouse outside of our marriage. If you’re one of those people who just has to vent to someone, guess what, girl: Jesus hears you wherever you are, so find a private place and tell him all about it. 

I’ve learned to be intentional about celebrating my marriage.

Though sporadic, unplanned dates are important, I’ve found that it’s equally important to schedule special time together. Though it may sound silly, scheduling a date gives you something to look forward to. As fast-paced and hectic as life can be sometimes, my husband and I often have to move things around in our schedule in order to make alone time work. Early on in our marriage and ministry, we always said yes to others, which in turn meant that we were often unintentionally saying no to one another. We’ve finally learned that not only is it okay to say no sometimes, it’s appropriate when saying yes comes at the expense of your spouse. Just make time for one another and remember, there’s no rule that says you have to save dates for special occasions and holidays. Celebrate the ordinary days.

There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on. –Leo Christopher 

I’ve learned to focus on the good.

Life is a constant rotation of ups and downs and in-betweens. You’ll have good days, better days, and days you wouldn’t want to relive even if someone paid you. If we’re not careful, unthankfulness will quickly weasel its way into our minds and we’ll begin to maximize the negative while totally disregarding all of the good (e.g. a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, health in our bodies, salvation, love, laughter…). We can choose to focus on the fact that we have a cozy place to call home or complain that it’s not the home of our dreams because there’s no shiplap and subway tile. Practicing gratefulness on a daily basis not only alters your way of thinking, it will radically change your life. I will openly admit that it drives me insane when my husband is snoring like a freight train while I am trying to sleep. But I have a confession: One night while he was snoring his little heart out, I briefly imagined how broken hearted I’d be if he wasn’t lying beside me. I’m pretty sure that in that five-minute span, I felt every emotion possible (being a woman ain’t easy, folks!). Seriously though, I see news stories every day where someone’s spouse, due to unforeseen accidents, didn’t make it back home. We’re not promised tomorrow, so don’t let trivial little things keep you from appreciating your spouse and celebrating what they mean to you.

How are you intentional about celebrating your marriage? Let me know your ideas in the comments!