Love is in the air! Can you smell it? Weddings everywhere you look! We celebrated a wedding just this weekend. Our youth pastor is just two months away from saying “I do.” With all the plans he is busy making, I pray that he’s had time to get ready to preach today! Even as you read this, Heather and I are on our way to the Bahamas to celebrate ten wonderful years of marriage. I know that’s just a “grain of sand in the hourglass” compared to many who will read this, but we think it is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Anytime in life we celebrate an accomplishment or complete a new task, I think it is worthwhile to sit down and think about what lessons were learned in the process. So, after ten years of marriage, what lessons has this husband learned?
- Romans 12:10 – “Outdo one another in showing honor.” This may not be the key to a happy marriage, but it is certainly on the keychain. The days when marriage is tough are the days when we forget this. Doing this well requires 110% commitment from both parties. If only one is doing it, then the one feels like he or she is giving ALL the time, and that honor is not reciprocated. Admittedly, after ten years, I am still learning how to show my wife honor, but by God’s grace I think I am getting better at it all the time.
- Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” Very closely related to the previous lesson, but unique unto itself. Serving may indeed show honor, but showing honor does not always serve. I am learning that one of the greatest ways I can show my wife how much I love her is by serving her in various ways. Men who refuse to serve their wives are men who in some sense have put themselves higher than Jesus. Jesus was God and he served. How much more should we be focused on serving others – especially our spouses?
- Song of Songs 2:2 – “Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the young women.” My standard of beauty must not be the magazine cover with its airbrushed perfection, it must be my wife. All other examples of beauty must be like thorns compared to my beautiful lily. As most men are visual, my eyes must be fixed on my bride. I have said from the pulpit before that I am married to the prettiest woman at church. That’s not just to score myself brownie points, that is a statement based in fact. And your husband had better say that about you!
- Songs of Songs 2:15 – “Catch the foxes for us — the little foxes that ruin the vineyards—for our vineyards are in bloom.” As the shepherd of my home and marriage, I have to be constantly looking out for the “foxes” that will bring destruction and damage to my home and marriage. They come in all shapes and sizes, from out-of-control calendars and finances to disorder and chaos in the home.
- Songs of Songs 7:11 – “Come, my love, let’s go to the field; let’s spend the night among the henna blossoms.” Never stop dating. When a couple is dating prior to marriage, they work a little harder. They dress up a little more. They mind their manners a little better. Never stop doing that. Even after children are born, make dating a priority. You don’t have to break the bank to go on a date. Find a couple you trust and exchange childcare, so you don’t pay a sitter. Find ways to spend time together, “to go to the field.” Hold hands like you did when you were dating. Something I have to work on, don’t answer the phone – unless of course it is from the people who have your children.
I am sure there are other lessons learned, but these are some of the most important ones. The best thing is that they’re all biblically based. Maybe in ten more years, I can get these things more perfected and can move on to some other areas. Maybe you’re struggling some in your marriage. Have you done your own “lessons learned?” Perhaps you can implement some of mine.