The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

27 08 2012


Number Six: Praying Together

Sex is not the most intimate act within marriage.  Does that statement surprise you?  Today it seems that it takes very little commitment to another person before experiencing a sexual encounter.  The intimacy of sex in the way God created it for us has been stolen by an enemy who counterfeits everything holy and pure.  After 37 years of marriage and speaking to literally hundreds of couples, we have come to believe that the most intimate act within marriage is for a husband and a wife to come together in united prayer to their heavenly Father.  To bow our heads and hearts in one accord means that we have put our differences behind us; as partners we come united in agreement without fear and without competition and we exercise faith in Someone greater than ourselves and our abilities.

Prayer is intimate and thus many couples have forfeited couple prayer for prayer with a same sex friend or prayer partner.  Disclosing our hearts in prayer, sharing our deepest desires, sorrows and aspirations is an act of revealing spirit to spirit to Spirit.  “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)  Early on in our relationship we discovered that we could fight and argue or pray and agree – both are very powerful.  We also discovered that prayer brings security to my wife and honor to me as her husband.  Where to begin if you are not praying together:

Take five minutes in the morning or as you close the day and pray.

Do not pray at one another, but for one another.

Start praying by giving thanks for all God has done and is doing.

Do not “out pray” your partner.  Keep it balanced and simple.

Start small and allow it to grow over time until you discover the need to pray.

Hold hands while you are praying.

Disclose your heart to your heavenly Father and find agreement with your earthly life mate.

Watch your prayer lives grow as you ride in the car together, as you turn off the TV, put down the book or turn off the computer, as you sit with one another in the morning or holding one another at night to pray, pray, pray.

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

19 08 2012

 Number 5: Change vs. Resistance

Resistance just comes naturally.  Often our first response to our child when they make a request is, “No.”  Charles Swindol once said that if he could raise his children over again he would say “yes” more often.  Without thought, have you said “no” to your spouse more often than you have said “yes?”  We resist because some things initially seem out-of-order or different; we resist because it’s new and unfamiliar; we resist because the new way represents change and change is often insecure to us, hard work, uncomfortable and/or outside of our “normal” range.  In our marriage, I love change while Mary finds herself often initially resistant, at least until she can “see” the need for change.  The thought can be, “Why change, things are fine the way they are.”

God, however, specializes in change by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  His change is for our individual good, maturity, and healing (to become more like Him).  But here’s the catch: He often uses our spouse to provoke certain change in our life.  Early in our marriage, I thought Mary was a spender and she thought me to be tight with finances.  As God opened our eyes to each other’s gifts, we discovered that Mary was a giver, one who blesses, and I was the one who was saving for future needs and future vision.  Together, as we adapted to change vs. resistance, we became a powerful team of balance.  As we embrace godly change, we may discover a gift in our mate that we have been resisting and it just may lead to a deeper unity.

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

13 08 2012

Number Four: The Six Most Difficult Words to Say in Marriage

Why is it so easy to apologize to the person on the street when you bump into him?  How can apologies come flying out of your mouth so fast with a complete stranger?  Why is it so difficult to say that you are sorry to your spouse when you “bump” into their emotions or unknowingly hit a sensitive issue?  To the stranger on the street, we have nothing invested; the relationship is nonexistent and therefore an easy apology surfaces.  To the one you have invested your life into, that’s a different story.  What are the six most difficult words in marriage?  In my opinion they are: “I am sorry, I was wrong.”  To make it nine words add, “…please forgive me.”

There is an amazing question in chapter four verse one of the book of James, “What cause fights and quarrels among you?”  Think back to the last words of disagreement you had with your spouse.  The next verse reveals the desire of that disagreement.  “You want something but don’t get it.  You kill and you covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You do not have, because you do not ask God.”  At the core of conflict is a desire for something and it may actually be a good desire.  But when we do not get the response we’re looking for, James says we then take selfish means to make it happen.  In our human nature, we quarrel and we fight because we are forgetting a very important step – asking God.  The sooner we come together to “ask God” the fewer times we’ll have to say the six, no the nine, most difficult words.

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

7 08 2012

Number 3: Honor

Thirty seven years of marriage can teach you lots of things.  When we spoke our vows to one another, to God and to those who witnessed our wedding, we were young, could not see any sickness ahead or any major bumps in the road.  We went as far as to say that we would honor each other.  Honor, what an interesting word?  How does a 21-year-old comprehend honor?  Romans 12 says to honor one another above yourself.  Selfishly, I couldn’t wait to be married for all of the benefits.  In the Greek, the word for honor is, “temay” and it means to give of your time for another to be more important than you are (not quite the definition of selfishness).

In selfishness, we naturally dishonor in word and deed.  We use “put downs,” joke about our mate, neglect their needs, are lacking in affection, and want to talk rather than listen.  Further, homes that do not honor God and give Him first place will as well lack honor within the marriage relationship (see John 5:23 & 12:26).  Children will not honor their parents when honor is missing within the marriage.  Dishonor comes easily while honor comes with sacrifice of one’s self.  To honor is to serve, to speak life and encouragement.  It is to esteem and to respect.  It is to see the queen in every woman and the king in every man.  Honor focuses on the gifts and strengths and acknowledges them out loud.  Honor defends, believes in and stands guard over one’s life mate.  As you choose to give and show honor, it will change your marriage and your life.

%d bloggers like this: