Since I will hopefully be getting married next fall and because I am running off the high of just purchasing our wedding bands; I have decided to give you all a piece of my mind about marriage. Did you just ask yourself, “What business does someone who is not yet married have giving marriage advice?” I sure hope you did, because I have a lot to say. I wanted to share with you some advice we have heard and learned about through others’ successful and failed marriages.
1. God is your first priority followed by your spouse, then your children, and then your job. If marriages are not allowing God to be the cornerstone upon which they are built, then they are built to fail in some way. Your spouse is your second priority. You should love him or her before your children and before your job. When your children see and understand that you love God and then their father or mother ahead of them they will see the way in which they are to love as well. Finally, your job is not your life. Even for pastors and other ministry workers. Your relationship with God and then your family are your priorities. You will not be able to be ‘successful’ or ‘providential’ at your job when you make it your priority.
2. Communication is key. Not only communication within your marriage, but communication with other people, and especially with God. You need to communicate with your spouse about your feelings and pains, and also about your joys and love. You need to communicate to others that you are in a dedicated monogamous heterosexual married relationship and you intend to keep it that way. You need to communicate with God through prayer and Bible study, always asking for Him to have His will for your marriage.
3. Share the pants. Do not be the only one making decisions and do not allow your spouse to be the only one making decisions. Whether it is a trivial decision about what’s for dinner or more tender issues like financial stability, share the decisions and responsibility. Your marriage can and will grow stagnant if you do not share the pants. I had a pastor tell me once, “Eve was created from Adam’s side to be beside him; not his head to be above nor his foot to be beneath.”
4. Respect is a must. I will never forget this one instance where my family was having Sunday dinner with this elderly couple when the husband began yelling and shouting at his wife because she did not cook him any biscuits to accompany his meal. She had spent hours before church and after church preparing this meal for us and I was ghastly appalled at his remarks. He had embarrassed them both and I am sure the wife was fighting back her sorrow and/or anger in front of their company. This man had no respect for his wife and the labor she had endured while he watched NASCAR. I honestly feel that respect is something that comes from the above listed points. Respect will develop with time and grow by leaps and bounds if you will get your priorities in order, communicate, and share the pants.
Now, I know you are probably thinking I still have no business writing about marriage when I am not yet married, but I encourage you to implore my reasoning as for writing this. I know my marriage with my wife will not be perfect. I am not perfect. She is not perfect. We will not strive for perfection with the idea that we will ever be perfect. We will work towards pleasing and honoring God through our marriage to the best of our ability and He will guide us the rest of the way. Be set apart in your marriage to show the world what a real marriage is and can be when priorities are in order.