What I learned in 15 years

 My husband and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on yesterday.   You know what I learned?  I’m a cheap date!  (smile)   We shared dinner, a movie, and ice cream– a rare treat since I started my low-carb, low-sugar diet last fall.   We started the day with a long, uninterrupted talk (also a rare treat) about our goals and dreams for the next 15 years.   How refreshing to know that, with the exception of a couple of minor tweaks and specifics around goals, we were singing to the same sheet of music.   What a melody it’s been, with comedic and tragic notes, thankfully a lot more of the former than the latter. 

My sister-in-law celebrated her wedding this weekend.   Amidst the beauty of watching these two lives start the journey as one, I thought about what marriage has taught me, and what I’d share if I had the opportunity.  As a Christian, praying alone and praying together would be obvious, but then I thought about the practical things to do when I get off my knees:

1) I am not the head.   I am here to help, and there is a blessing in being aligned that I limit when I get out of order.   Submission requires that I, my agenda, my plans, and my way duck low enough for God to sock my husband. 

2) First sow, then reap.  Rolling up our sleeves early and working toward unity through listening and being honest, yet empathetic in our communication, has given us a solid foundation upon which to build.

3) Marriage is seasonal, and every season won’t be spring.   I am convinced that too many marriages end because people don’t want to weather the storms.   Our task in marriage is to be willing to love each other through the winter, even if it’s a blizzard, having faith that with God’s help we can conquer anything.

 4) A happy, healthy, long-lasting marriage requires that I die to self.   I’ve apologized for things that weren’t my fault, I’ve gone along with plans that weren’t mine, and I’ve cleaned up messes–physical, emotional, and otherwise–that I didn’t make.  So has my husband.    When my needs become first and foremost in my mind, I limit my abilities to minister to my husband, and I hinder the happiness and success of our marriage.

5) Piggybacking off #3, my job is to learn what  my spouse likes in every room of the house, and then provide it before he has to ask for it.   Pretty self-explanatory, right?

6) As a wife, what my husband needs most is respect.   No other earthly relationship comes before him, and I look for ways to praise and appreciate what he does (especially when I don’t feel like it!).   Even something as simple as greeting him at the garage door when he comes home from work (as opposed to being on the phone or preoccupied with other household tasks) goes a long way toward letting him know that he’s a priority in my life.

7) Keep our marriage and home sacred.   No one–including parents or best friends–needs to know the intimate details of our relationship.   Our business is just that–ours.

8) Remember that my husband is a good and perfect gift from the Lord.   To remember why I married my husband, and what the Lord has promised me about him and about us, I must look through my faith eyes when we’re in the "winters" I describe in #2.   I prefer him over me and I pray for him each day.

If I had the time, this list would be three times longer, with much more elaboration on how God taught me some of these lessons, and most of it wasn’t because I had the sense of Mary to simply sit at His feet!   Yet, it was the abundance of my heart during these last couple of weeks and I thought I’d share it.  I hope it ministers to you.

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