A Marriage That Lasts
What kind of marriage do you want?
Your answer probably depends on your stage of life. In our younger years, we have stars in our eyes and hope to be swept off our feet. During our busy middle years we want an able-bodied partner who’ll share the workload of juggling duties and raising a family. But in our latter years, we simply desire the gift of companionship for as long as the Lord gives it.
In every chapter we want a marriage that lasts. The question is, how do we get it?
I interviewed several couples from RMPC (whose combined years of marriage totals 151 years!), asking them the two questions from Mark’s last blog post:
- What two things have helped you grow in your marriage in Christ?
- What two mistakes hindered you and how did you address them?
Paul & Lynn Marien
Paul and Lynn brought vastly different upbringings to their marriage, but neither of their families modeled good communication. That was the first barrier they tackled together, attending classes and retreats to gain better communication skills. These skills were often “caught” as well as “taught” from the older couples in our church community. The Mariens still describe themselves as learners! Along with these mentoring situations, they began to make morning prayer and Bible reading/devotions a priority. It “pointed our thinking early in the day towards our LORD and one another.”
But when prayer was squeezed out by duties, things went downhill. They learned firsthand that casting their cares on the Lord together was not optional, but essential.
One lesson they are still learning is to respect each other’s need for alone time, especially now that they are both retired. Checking in with each other early in the day and praying over tasks provides mutual support.
Chuck & Barb Strothman
Our answers to the two questions are basically wrapped into one. They are contained in and key elements of "A Simple Guide for a Strong and Loving Marriage,” available on the RMPC website HERE: https://www.rinconpres.org/marriage-guide. Of the "five words" detailed in the Guide, two stand as most influential in our marriage, "affirm" and "caress." Rather than expand upon them here, I refer you to the Guide for clarity on their meaning and importance.
The second question is like the first. The mistakes we made (and still make) are when we do not practice the five words and particularly the two just mentioned, "affirm" and "caress." We had an intellectual knowledge of Jesus as head of our marriage but we really did not draw the connection between the strength of prayer and marital strength. We began years ago to pray daily together for our marriage and specifically for the five words in the Guide. We feel praying together daily is key to a strong and loving marriage.
David & Sandy Sampson
We had a rule-based marriage for the first nine years which worked pretty well. But our marriage was transformed when we both believed in Christ and began to grow together in Him. This was a new beginning for our life together. Biblical preaching and serving our church together spurred our growth. Small groups added a second layer of “iron sharpening iron” through prayer and accountability.
Two things hindered our marriage and relationship with Christ. In first place by far was pride. Pride can turn a very minor misunderstanding into a raging argument for strong-willed people like us. Then comes silence. Finally an apology. The second hindrance is that we were married so young we literally grew up together. The down side to this is that we think we know what the other is thinking, interrupt each other and dislike having to repeat ourselves.
Isn’t it encouraging to hear how real the joys and struggles are for these three couples? Wouldn’t it be fun to sit with them over coffee and hear more?