The wonders and joys and trials of marriage have been written about for many centuries. Ever since Adam and Eve first kissed in the garden, it has been an ongoing challenge to turn a marriage into a good marriage and then to turn a good marriage into a GREAT MARRIAGE. I would suggest to you that we all have the ability to have and enjoy a GREAT MARRIAGE. There are many things that are critical to making that a reality. Here are just a few for you to consider:
1. Commit Entirely – After you have said “I do” and you take those first steps towards life together, it is so important to lock into the vision of “life together.” If we have the understanding that our commitment will last only until the problems begin, then our relationship is bound to fail. Our commitment needs to be unconditional. It needs to be “I Love You” and not “I love you if…” A love based on conditions will eventually fail. Columnist Doug Larson wrote this about marriage: “More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.” Have a commitment to get through the early years of marriage so you can enjoy the “better years.” Mark Twain said it this way: “Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”
2. Love Selflessly – All too often the primary reason that marriages end in divorce is that one or both partners feel that their needs aren’t being met. “I’m not getting what I want out of this marriage.” It’s the My and I syndrome.
- My needs
- My wants
- My expectations.
Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner said of marriage: “Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” Get outside of yourself for a minute. Are you being “the right mate” for your partner? Are your selflessly loving? Professor Jerry McCant said, “You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.” If we invest ourselves in building up our spouse and truly loving our spouse, we begin building a lasting marriage.
3. Forgive Endlessly – Another cornerstone of a GREAT MARRIAGE is becoming a master at forgiveness. Much like commitment, forgiveness needs to be unconditional. If we can have the grace to forgive, we extend love and acceptance to an imperfect spouse. In an environment of unconditional love and forgiveness, we experience both giving and receiving the Godly quality of grace. Billy Graham’s daughter Ruth Bell Graham said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” Forgive one another… as I have forgiven you – Colossians 3:13.
Just a few Common Sense basics on how to have a GREAT MARRIAGE.