My husband and I have just celebrated 39 years of marriage. I remember celebrating our 25th by taking our first cruise. The cruise was amazing and I’m grateful God has allowed us to do many more since then. One of Mike’s dearest friends says that’s the best way to vacation because you get more bang for your buck – it’s all inclusive! I agree.
One thing that will be forever etched in my mind about that 25th anniversary trip is that whenever we told other cruisers that we were celebrating 25 they were shocked and impressed. Well, that was 14 years ago. Those same people would be REALLY impressed now. These past 14 years have held many joys and some sorrows. I’m grateful to say that we both made the choice to intentionally grow up in some places where some refinement was seriously needed. Through much prayer and much work our marriage continues looking like the marriage I know God always intended.
Mike and I always give each other gifts on our anniversary. Sometimes they’re practical, sometimes not. I’m glad that this year we were able to tell each other what we really wanted. That helps us both out a lot. Neither of us really like shopping. We loved on each other by doing just that. I wanted something that is useful but has some bling: a new watch. He wanted a ladder. It was not just any kind of ladder, it’s an amazing Megamax made by Little Giant. It has heavy –duty construction, folds to a compact size for storage and portability, holds up to 300 pounds (Yea! We can both get on it if needed), extends to a nice height of 15 feet, light weight (35.5 pounds) and has many safety features. It sounds like the perfect ladder and gift!
Where do you find this item? In the Home Improvement Department. As I read of these fabulous qualities of this amazing ladder I can’t help but be reminded of the things we are learning to put into practice that make up a great Marriage Improvement Plan for us in our couple-ship.
- Practice communicating well in humility and honesty.
- Practice showing love in action. Ask: What makes you feel loved? Then, do those things for the other person.
- Practice sharing at the soul level. This is where we share how we feel. The response we both desire is that the one listening will listen attentively – without judgment and without giving advice. The best definition of intimacy I’ve ever read is that intimacy is “into me you see.” At times this is a scary place, but it’s worth the price to go to this deeper level.
- Practice telling each other what we need. We should not assume we know what the other one is needing at any given time. My spouse cannot read my mind.
- Practice lots of forgiveness and lots of patience.
It takes a lot of determination to make a good marriage but with God’s help, it’s possible to have one that brings Him honor and glory. He delights in taking broken people, which we all are because of our sin nature, and making us whole. Marriage is the perfect life stage in which we see ourselves as we really are. It’s the perfect place to grow in our spiritual walk. One of the first questions Gary Thomas asks in his book “Sacred Marriage” is “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” The beauty of this is when we’re becoming more and more transformed into His image there is more joy, there is more happiness because we’re walking in closer fellowship with God, and therefore with each other. And, that can be a little bit of heaven that we get to enjoy in our homes, in our marriage here on Earth. And, God said, “It is good!”