My husband and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary! The older we get, the more marriages we see fall apart. Seeing our friends go through divorce saddens me and it scares me. It reminds me that we can never take our spouses for granted and treat our marriages as anything other than top priority. So we took a day to celebrate and have fun together. My dad came in to stay with our boys and we spent the day watching a movie, doing some shopping, and enjoying a nice dinner together.
For those of you in the area, I recommend The Oaks Lakeside Restaurant in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. It isn't cheap (we would only go on a very special occasion), but the atmosphere is wonderful! We were able to sit outside with a view of the lake and watch the sunset. There was also a live band playing. Here are some pictures...
I've been doing some reflecting on the things we've done RIGHT the past 15 years.
Here are some of our keys to success:
*We are quick to forgive and don't hold grudges. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says to keep no record of wrongs. We bring out into the open what needs to be discussed, and then we move forward.
*We don't expect the other person to meet all of our needs. It's unrealistic to expect our spouse to make us happy all of the time. We take responsibility for our own attitudes and turn to God to fill and instruct us.
*We make our relationship a priority. We schedule time for date nights, time alone after the kids are in bed, and occasionally vacations to re-connect.
*We don't send each other out into the world hungry. Here's what I mean: Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry? You end up buying much more than intended because everything looks so good! Items that you might have easily passed by are all of a sudden very tempting. I do my best not to send my husband out into the world unsatisfied, so that his temptations will be minimal. Scripture talks about this in 1 Corinthians 7:5. It says "Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time...then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
In many respects, our marriage has been easy. But there have been seasons and moments when love has been a choice. It's a choice to bring up a difficult subject that would be easier to ignore. It's a choice to believe the best about another person's intentions instead of making assumptions. It's a choice to love and serve your spouse in ways that he/she will understand. No, we don't do everything right. But we choose to strengthen and re-build because there is no "exit door" in our relationship.
My friends, I pray for your marriages, and I ask that you pray for mine. Please take time to celebrate the successes in your relationships and persevere through the rough patches. It will be worth it.