I will never forget the phone call I made that day. I was fighting to save my marriage and after weeks of sleeping on the couch because I refused to move out, I finally saw a glimmer of hope. Janet started showing she was willing to at least talk about our marriage and ask questions that sounded as if she was considering giving us another chance.
But for her to give us another chance, she needed to be free from this other guy. So it was then, after I started feeling this new hope, that I felt I needed to make a phone call and talk to this guy. If only, I could get him to back off and give her some space so she could make the decision that would be best for her and our children. Then maybe I thought, we would have a chance.
After all these years I don’t remember too many details of that phone call, except for two statements. As our conversation started turning into more of an argument I heard him say, “well you know, it takes two to make a marriage!” And before I knew it and without any hesitation, I answered back, “Yeah, but it only takes one to quit!”
It only takes one to quit
A great marriage is as easy as one, two, three. So the first step is you have to stay married if you want a great marriage
So, don’t be the one that says ” I quit.”
Be the one that says “I will never give up on my marriage.”
Don’t be the one that pulls away and builds walls.
Be the one that stays engaged in the relationship.
Don’t be the one that sabotages and undermines the relationship.
Be the one who will find ways to make investments into your marriage.
Take the words quit, divorce, it’s over, out of your vocabulary. Commitment is everything, and the only way to make it all the way is to stay committed to the course you are on. Is it going to be hard sometimes? Yes. Will it take a lot of work? Yes. Does it take courage? Yes. That’s why you made a vow. No one ever made a vow to do something that was always going to be pleasant or easy. A vow of commitment is for the very purpose of seeing you through the hard times.
“It takes two to make a marriage,” he said, trying to ridicule me for the way I had treated my marriage. And in fact, those words did strike a nerve with me. Those words did remind me of how much I had failed my marriage. And those words did help to open my eyes to what I needed to do differently.
Because I was the one who still wanted my marriage. But I really had no idea what it took to “make a marriage.” For me, as long as I worked to provide and come home every night to my wife and children, that qualified me as a good husband. As long as I would stay committed to never leave my family, that qualified me as a good husband.
I didn’t physically abuse my wife and kids, I didn’t gamble, I didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol. I didn’t make the mistakes I watched other people make in their marriage. My dream was to stay married for life and as far as I knew, I was doing marriage the way I should.
It actually took a few more years and a fourth trip down the road of nearly losing my marriage before I finally started to understand what it took for “two to make a marriage.”
And for two to make a marriage I had to learn a few things.
- I learned that love is something we should show and not just say. My wife has a love language and I had to learn how to speak it.
- I learned that a marriage requires nourishment. It should always be growing and never to be a place where we have arrived.
- I learned that it was okay for us to be different in many ways. Our differences are there to compliment each other, not to combat each other.
- I learned that marriage is about oneness. A fusion where two people become one. A single identity that we both share.
Marriage is not what we do – it is who we are. It is not my marriage or Janet’s marriage. It’s our marriage. It’s not about either one of us as individuals. But who we are together. So, we are two joined together as one.
So, a great marriage is as easy as one, two, three.
- Easy step number one: Don’t quit, a great marriage is just ahead.
- Easy step number two: Give up your singleness and be joined together.
The truth is it has not been that easy for us. Actually, we consider ourselves very blessed to have the marriage we have today. Especially, when we had to learn so many lessons the hard way.
For one, we learned to take quit out of our marriage. Then we learned both of us had to continually invest in the health of our relationship. And finally, we learned “to have a great marriage it actually takes three.”
For two people, who have been as imperfect as we have been, to try to make a life long commitment work is absolutely impossible without the Lord’s help every step of the way.
The Bible says “a cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecc.4:12). When we have Jesus at the center of our marriage we are woven together in a three-way relationship that is not only healthy and strong but is also powerful.
3 reasons why this truth helped us build a great marriage.
1) Our mutual desire to serve Him draws us closer together. Then the closer we are to the Lord, the closer we are drawn to each other.
2) As we both walk in relationship with Jesus we are taking on His nature and expressing His attributes. We are becoming like Him.
We want to love each other as He loves; unconditionally.
We want to forgive each other as He forgives; with no limits.
We want to accept each other the way He accepts; with grace.
3) As the Lord, in our lives, He gives us what we can’t give each other.
- Our security and significance are in Him. He gives us our value and therefore we do not have to put that burden on each other.
- He is our counselor. We can go to Him and receive wisdom, guidance, and relief from our stress.
- He is our helper. He gives us an inner voice that helps us pick up on our blind spots and teaches us how to love and care for each other in ways we would otherwise miss.
4) Knowing that Jesus is Lord in each other, we learn to trust what each other has to say and give. We know sometimes the voice of the Lord will actually sound just like our spouse. Because He will be using us both to speak His words into each other’s lives.
So there you have it – EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE.
One: don’t quit, a great marriage is just ahead. Two: Give up your singleness and be joined together. Three: Let Jesus help. When you let Jesus into the center of everything you do, your marriage will be better than you ever hoped or dreamed it could be.
Are you having trouble with either one of these steps? Share with us in the comments. Janet and I and the whole community of Redeeming Marriages followers are here to help.