In a nutshell I was married and had become a mother all before my 19th birthday!! Wow! Time most certainly flies! Just a few weeks ago we celebrated twenty years of marriage and we are “In it to Win IT!”
We had a wonderful high school courtship that has blossomed into a lifetime commitment. At ages eighteen and nineteen, my husband and I stood at that alter (goo-goo eyed, coo-coo for cocoa puffs, barely legal, fresh off of similac, not even legal drinking aged –bride and groom) so excited to recite those vows, kiss, jump the broom, have biblically legal sex, and ride off into the sunset to start our perfect little lives together; so we thought. We have learned that it’s not “perfect” but we are “winning”… twenty years and four children later!
After you have been together for some time, issues arise, problems come and go. Maybe some financial difficulties have affected your lives. Or perhaps children have come into play, as well as other challenges that this life throws at us. How does a married couple keep it tight? When these things arise the average person does not reflect on those vows they so eloquently repeated to their spouse before God, the minister, and family & friends. While reciting these vows do we REALLY think about or really even know or fully understand what, “For better, for worse, for richer, or for poor, in sickness & in health” entails? I mean, the vows don’t really indicate how good or bad it can get.
I remember learning in premarital counseling that marriage is give and take; 50/50. I tried to always be mindful of that and it always stuck with me, and through the years I would reiterate that when talking about marriage as well as during some arguments with my husband. I thought that was so important because 50+50=100, so naturally if he was giving 50% and I’m giving my 50% then we were keeping it 100% Tuh! Boy was I wrong!
Somewhere between years nine and twelve, I learned that the whole 50/50 theory was in fact no good. Incorrect. So wrong. At that point some trials came and we were no longer those two kids that stood at the alter but we were now grown with some years under our belts, children, paying taxes, mortgages, car payments, 401K plans along with everything else that comes with being a full-fledged adult. We were good and grown! This is when our relationship became very predictable, the spontaneity was gone. At times we barely even talked and sometimes we would unconsciously not even speak to each other. When we did talk it was mostly about the kids, the house, bills, etc. We had even stopped laughing together the way we used to, which was odd because for years we lived and stayed high on love and laughter. Our lives operated much like a machine -or- an assembly line.
*WE HAD BOTH UNKNOWINGLY STARTED TAKING EACH OTHER FOR GRANTED*
Our marriage was no longer our priority. We had allowed everything else to take precedence over our marriage without even realizing it. In doing that, we had become roommates with sexual benefits. Shoot, for us we were doing darn well in comparison to what we had witnessed in other peoples relationships within our families and beyond. In that season a storm came and because divorce is not only very prevalent in today’s society but it also runs on both sides of our families, on top of dysfunctional relationships, it became an option for us. Even knowing that divorce was a generational curse, it came so naturally as the answer to all of our problems! We thought we would just end this thing and go on our merry way. After battling with the “D” word and going back and forth with the specifics of it, along with Godly wisdom poured into us and the simple fact that we were STILL in love with each other, we decided to make it work!
We made a decision that the only way that this could work was with God and God alone. We came up with the conclusion that if we both put 100% into our marriage it would be, healthy, happy, successful, and most importantly the way that God called it to be. I remember thinking, “This IS possible” but that the process would be a job in itself. However, I quickly learned that a happy healthy marriage and giving it 100% is NOT a job BUT a lifestyle. A couple must actively pursue happiness and walk in love. 1 Cor. 13:4-8, Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
IT’S NOT FOR THE SELFISH OR SELF-CENTERED!!!!
One thing I can say is marriage is not for selfish people, it requires happily giving of yourself. It is like a bank account, you only get out of it what you put into it, the more you put in, the more interest you will accrue. The same way that investing is a good thing in the financial arena, that very same thing goes in marriage. A couple must regularly invest in their marriage. Just like with people, plants, and animals in order to grow they MUST be fed and the same thing goes for a marriage, it will only grow if it is being fed properly. Both people will grow and mature and each person needs to allow the other to grow. Make the effort to grow together not apart! Being married as long as I have with so many odds stacked against us even before we even got down the aisle good, I can say with confidence that young marriages can work and I have no regrets at all.
The way we see it now, a marriage license does not come with a warranty nor does it come with an instruction manual. However if you depend on the word of God as your guide and instruction manual you can have an, “until death do us part” type of a marriage.
Don’t be too grown for guidance!
For us being a part of a ministry with Spiritual Parents that have also served as “Marriage Mentors” has been a true blessing which we absolutely love. It wasn’t until we joined this ministry that we actually learned how to be married. Prior to that, we just simply didn’t know and were going with the flow. The few examples that we had of marriage were… hmmm… let’s just say they were, not so good examples and clearly nothing we would want to model. With any healthy marriage it is a MUST that God is the center of that marriage and you must actively be searching for ways to make a good marriage better, a great marriage greater, and an excellent marriage awesome. I find it healthy to read about the Christian marriage whenever I can even if it is something as simple as a passage that I see on social media. We also attend Marriage Boot camp, Marriage seminars, as well as Marriage conferences when these opportunities present themselves.
A few people have raised an eyebrow as to why we even bother with marriage classes as we have been married since Ronald Reagan was President! LOL! My answer is “there is no such thing as a perfect marriage and there is always room to grow and you can never get enough Jesus.” It is a requirement to have car and home owners insurance for the purpose of, protecting our assets. As Christians we are still subjected to adversity and a “S.T.O.R.M” here and there but with spiritual training and Godly wisdom we are able to Survive Trauma On Righteous Maturity. Our marriage is our ministry and we make it a priority to always strive to be better and do better because we want better.
Now, understand that we don’t walk around with permanent smiles, skipping around like we are Ward and June Clever! LOL! There are still times that we have to go back and apologize to one another and there are other times where I have to just sit tight and be quiet. Over above and beyond that… MARRIAGE TOTALLY ROCKS!!!
God has been so good to us and we have been so blessed because even after twenty years, four children, and all that we have walked through, we are not only still standing but we actually still like each other! As a married couple we are still growing, still learning, still laughing, still kicking it, still having fun with each other, and still in love. That’s my Hubby Dude!