The One Lesson That Changed My Marriage
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
As Marie and I just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary, I got reminded of the one marriage lesson that changed my life and consequently, ours.
We were visiting a church in snow-covered Washington DC. Though it happened in 1988, I can still remember the moment vividly in my mind. The pastor said the following: “At the end of your life, you will find yourself in a hospital bed somewhere and the people surrounding your bed will not be your business partners and associates; they will be your wife and children. The saddest day of your life is when you look into her eyes and you both realize that you did not love her and your children the way you should have.”
It was then that the Holy Spirit used this man’s sermon to put a longing in me to make my marriage become what God intended it to be. Such is the power of a preacher whom God uses at the right season and moment.
I knew it would take years of renewing my mind to get it there, but God rewarded my desire through a simple revelation about marriage. I have grown to call it the four essential ingredients to a successful marriage.
Trust is the foundation of a successful marriage. Whatever you do, make sure that it builds trust. Anything that destroys the trust must be avoided or discarded.
There is nothing uglier than a jealous wife or husband. Make every effort to build trust, whether through your words or actions, in all aspects of your marriage.
While trust is the foundation, love is its motivation of a great marriage. It’s about serving the other person and not waiting for them to serve you. It’s about dying to selfish desires and finding joy in bringing pleasure to your spouse.
Marriage is a daily journey of continually growing in joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
There is nothing more beautiful than a confident spouse who knows she is the one who brings joy, warmth, and pleasure to your eyes.
Forgiveness is the reset button of a marriage that has hung. It allows couples to reboot when the frictions of life affect them. It’s the thing that Jesus says that makes the imperfect perfect. Forgiveness is what cleanses a relationship everyday and leaves no trace of rust that creates even more friction.
There is nothing more peaceful than a marriage further overwhelmed by a constant and immediate atmosphere of forgiveness.
Lastly, communication is the process to a successful marriage. Just as photosynthesis is to plants and sun, communication is the process of continual and interdependent exchange of words, ideas and actions between two people that build the relationship.
Couples are like trees and the sun; the more they communicate, the closer they lean toward each other. And there is nothing more comforting than to know that you can freely share, be heard and listened to by the person who loves you the most.
As I look back on 32 years, I am grateful to God for this one lesson that changed my marriage and my life. They are after all the same four ingredients that have made my relationship with the Lord what it is today.
To be continued….