It. Is. Awesome.
Our pastor and friend David Chadwick has been doing a series on the book of Malachi. One recent week focused on chapter two and the marriage covenant. If you are married or know someone who is, chances are you know marriage takes much love - real, sacrificial, selfless, Jesus-centered love that all of us have to work at. If we don't, things can deteriorate right before our eyes. Anyways, at the end of the message they gave out this card with ideas for marriage enrichment that I wanted to share with all our married friends and hopefully-married-one-day friends who can soak up all this advice before walking down the aisle. It's good stuff.
If you can't read that tiny font or don't want to download the image, here's the quick list:
- Take the Two Becoming One class (offered through FHC)
- Go to bed at the same time - it helps with communication.
- Remember dates don't have to always cost money, your back porch is sometimes just as good as going our to a restaurant.
- The most important minute for your marriage is the first moment you reunite after the day - greet your spouse with a hug and a kiss and let them know they are important to you. Leave the weighty discussions for later when rested.
- The couple who prays together, goes to church together, or reads their bible together has less than a 1% chance of divorce.
- Don't always make communication a task - if your spouse isn't naturally the one to share his/her heart with you, let their few words suffice. Only look to him/her to provide a few minutes of heart talk and then keep it playful and fun. You want to be the kind of spouse the other one craves to be around!
- On dates, try to talk about work or kids for less than 20% of the time.
- Get to know your spouse's friends - it means a lot that you care enough to know their buddies.
- Believe the best in your spouse - take time often to remember the person who you first met and what drew you to them
(Side note: I once heard Andy Stanley do a message on marriage. After interviewing like 100 couples - some still together and some not, he found that the single common thread between the marriages that were able to stand the test of time were that they chose to consistently believe the best in their spouse instead of assuming the worst. This in my opinion is priceless advice because we can often become frustrated over time and allow ourselves to blame our beloved or lash out at them when that frustration is based on assuming our spouse intends to hurt us when they don't. )
- Publicly praise your spouse - to others, with social media, to family, etc.
- The couple who plays together stays together - look for a hobby you both can enjoy.
- Major in the majors and minor in the minors - choose your battles and don't let yourself be a nag.
- Don't always wait for the other to initiate (communication, sex, etc)
- Pray for your spouse and let them know you are - pray for their heart, pray you will be daily encouragement for them, pray God would show Himself to you through your spouse, and pray that your marriage will be honoring to him always.
I think this list is great advice and things we need to remember as life and circumstances change. Marriage is a huge gift from God and often the place where He does his greatest work in us. Hopefully with that perspective we can find joy in all seasons and all chapters of life we spend with our spouse.