Our Best Advice For Making A Marriage Last

It’s easy to find good advice on how to make a marriage last. Anyone married long enough to weather a few storms should have valuable things to say. If you ask enough people or read enough material you will probably get a wide variety of answers. So much so, It may be difficult to choose what is the best advice to focus your attention on.

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Over the years since we started this marriage ministry, I’ve thought about this idea a lot. I’ve wondered as we prepared for teaching a class, or meeting with a couple for private coaching. Is there a single piece of advice that’s more important than anything else we share?

A Great Marriage Is As Easy As One, Two, Three.

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.

a great marriage is easy as 1,2,3

 

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!”

What’s So Wrong With “I’m Not In Love Anymore”

The words “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you” have been said many times by one spouse to another trying to explain the current condition of their emotions. And sadly those words have been used over and over again as an explanation for why one spouse has decided to give up on their marriage.

But as I said in our last post, there is something terribly flawed with this way of thinking. And if this is the way you’re feeling about your spouse and your marriage right now, I want to send out a warning to you.

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Chasing after this type of emotion is very dangerous. Not only is it a threat to your current marriage, this type of thinking threatens any future hope you may have for a lasting relationship.

When I Said I Do, I meant ….

“What right do you have to destroy my dreams?” I asked my wife. It was a question I felt very strongly about many years ago when she wanted to end our marriage. And it is a question I still feel very strongly about today.

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I take the marriage vows very serious. I believe the vows are promises of commitment to see the marriage through even the toughest of times. Vows like “for better or worse, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer,” are meant to foretell our commitment to the marriage and our spouse with the presumption that there is a good chance we will face any number of trials that will test our resolve to stay committed to the marriage.

Committed to a Covenant

Commitment in marriage is an absolute essential for a marriage to last. It’s the promise we make to each other, “until death does us part,” that gives us the hope of going the distance of being married for life. And when we are challenged with very difficult circumstances we find out how committed we really are. In Life decisions, I talked about my own hopes for a lifelong marriage and how commitment has seen me through some difficult times. All marriages start out with this vision of going the distance of being married for life.

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But, have you ever questioned the reason for saying wedding vows? Could it be that the vows themselves are indicators of what challenges a marriage will face? For better or for worst, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, are just some examples of what we have all said. We said these vows as a way of swearing our commitment to each other through whatever circumstances we would face. We swore our commitment in preparation for the tough times. No one ever swore their commitment for something that is easy, fun, and always enjoyable, there’s no need for it. But when we commit ourselves to something that promises to challenge our commitment, we swear a vow to ensure our commitment.