I’m coming up on 38 years of marriage. Years ago that wasn’t odd. In our culture today it’s a long time and people marvel. They wonder how we have such a strong marriage. I started wondering too.
Our marriage isn’t perfect. We’ve had some rough times. But for the most part, it hasn’t felt difficult — why is that?
Especially when many people struggle so much — why is that?
What’s the secret sauce that makes a marriage strong?
Is mine just easier? I used to think so because our pairing has a supernatural story to it. But now I think differently.
We’re still people and people have issues. There must be something we do or don’t do that lends itself to why our marriage is strong.
I looked at my marriage and then asked a group of people to find answers.
The primary thing that makes a marriage strong is so obvious we miss it.
It takes two. Two people who make the same decision. Two people who form a partnership. Two people who make life mutual.
One person cannot carry a marriage no matter how much they try or hard they pray. It isn’t 50/50 — it’s 100/100.
A strong marriage takes two.
Before our wedding day we faced and accepted the mindset of forever. Forever is a big word to commit to. It’s scary. How is anyone supposed to know what will happen next week let alone forever? What about this and what about that questions rush through your mind.
But dedication to this commitment forges a strength to endure no matter what life throws at you.
There’s a reason the old traditional vows said for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. It’s normal to hesitate before saying them — it takes commitment that doesn’t give up when life get hard.
A strong marriage takes true commitment.
My marriage began with God in the center. Many of those in the group I asked put God in the center also. If you think about the origin of marriage this only makes sense.
The one who designed marriage, God, established it as a covenant between Him and the couple. So if He’s in the covenant, He’s involved. And if He designed it, it’s wise to have Him in the center.
Marriage in our culture has been reduced to a piece of paper or a business contract. Covenant is an archaic word to many but it’s much more powerful than a contract.
A strong marriage takes the help of God
Many marriages begin with what people call love when in truth they have feelings. We can feel love but love in truth is a choice. Building a strong marriage takes many choices and choosing love is the first choice to be made.
Things happen and feelings follow but having a commitment to love will supersede emotions. Choosing to commit to love will be visible in the choices that follow.
Love does no harm. Love serves. Love honors. Love is not self-serving. Love lifts up. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love speaks up and corrects with gentleness and grace.
A strong marriage takes choosing love.
Life is complicated and so are relationships. It takes many things to build a good strong marriage — and keep it strong. It’s a process so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Building anything of value takes time.
With the help from the group I asked, here is a list of building blocks to add to the things above for a strong marriage.
- Communication — active listening
- Intimacy — emotional and physical (sex)
- Willingness to grow together
- Play — laughter — sense of humor
- Love them more than being right
- Good will toward each other
- Compassion — understanding
- Cooperation — Happy willingness to help each other
- Support — encourage one another in hopes and dreams
- Humility — Being able to apologize even if you’re not wrong
And the list goes on…
A strong marriage takes many things but most of all it takes two people building together.
- What on the list can you use?
- Can you add to my list?
- Get some love for yourself here.