Here I am, three years later, and life is great! By this time in my first marriage, I was drowning with a husband who was addicted to porn, had already kissed another woman, was working 80 hours a week, and so on. So, what's the difference? I could write a book on this, but they say blogs are supposed to be short and sweet so I'll just give 3 things that I believe are strengthening our marriage.
Mark and I are consistent in not only our prayers for each other, but with each other. I always heard the saying, "Families that pray together, stay together," and thought it was cute, but it's so much more than cute - it's true! There's no better feeling than waking up, having Mark spoon with me, and ask if he can pray over me and my day. I get to wake up feeling not only loved, but protected personally and with all the day has in store. This protection in not only in the fact that I know Mark cares because he is praying for me, but because we have placed my life and it's craziness in the hands of the Creator - the One who holds the whole world in His hands. I love returning the favor and praying over Mark and his day - his concerns, his job, his relationships, life. There's something so honest, so transparent, so intimate about this time together.
In addition to our morning prayers, each night, a part of our family bedtime routine is for all of us to crawl onto our couch in a cuddly fashion and pray as an entire family, each getting our turn. Our prayers cover anything, everyone, and all things in between. We all love this time together, and I am so confident it makes us stronger.
In a world where "You're way, right away" has become the motto, when things don't go exactly the way we picture and expect, it is very easy to focus on the bad stuff. It is so hard, but necessary that we change our way of thinking to the positive. Marriage is a sinner committing to another sinner. Sin definitely needs to be addressed, however, the focus needs to be on the good in your spouse. I pride myself in the fact that Mark calls me his biggest cheerleader. I purpose ( it won't happen on accident) to find things to build him up. My dear friend Ruth Clow once gave me the BEST marriage advice that I try to share with all, "Before saying or doing something in relation to your spouse, ask yourself, 'Is what I am going to do/say going to build my spouse up or tear him down?' Act accordingly."
There are two things I think about this. First, the world does an awfully good job and tearing people down. According to everything we see and hear we are not good enough, skinny enough, fast enough, perfect enough. So after the wear of the day, who is going to remind your spouse that they are created by God with purpose in life? Second, with the fully co-ed offices around town, I can almost guarantee someone is pouring life into your spouse... just a little innocent flirting here or there? Hmmmm... Not a good start if you are tearing down and someone else is building up. I love to flirt with Mark. Texting is my favorite form and occasionally email. Stuff that is immoral outside of marriage is totally kosher within those bonds of commitment - go for it! I also have these little coupon books that I occasionally pack in his lunch- HOT! If anyone in Hollywood ever got a hold of Mark's phone, email, or even lunch box they would have more than enough material for an R-rated movie... that and our time in the woods ;-)
3. MAKE THE CHOICE
Marriage is tough. There will be days where it is hard - so hard you will want to yell, shout, scream, run, cry, pout, and make them pay. CHOOSE to love. Don't trust your heart, don't trust your feelings. They will lead your astray. Don't even put all your trust and hope in your spouse - they are human, and they will fail you. But you CAN trust the God of this universe who put you together to see you through and give you the strength to do what is right. Have an over abundance of forgiveness and have an over abundance of selfless love... you know, the unconditional type. It's not based on them - just your choice to love no matter what... to forgive no matter what. The type God has for us!
Three years later I am SO happy! Not because Mark is perfect or because my marriage is perfect, but because I make choices to love him through the good and and bad, sickness and health, till death. My happiness comes from the joy of pouring out the love that GOD has put into me. It's a never ending waterfall if I continue to allow HIM to pour in and me to pour out.
|Our 1st Date|
|Mark always says He should have proposed this night because it was perfect - but who needs perfect?|
We've got each other!