Lucretia and I have been married for over 11 years, we’ve been together (dating & marriage) for well over 15…and as I reflect back and look to the future there are five things that I really do believe a successful marriage HAS to have…
(AND…BTW…these need to be evident BEFORE marriage!!!)
#1 – Honesty
Two people who are not going to be honest with each other need to go ahead and plan to not make it.
Lucretia and I made the commitment before we got married that we would not have secrets from one another–EVER!
This is especially true when it comes to finances. I’ve seen so many problems happen in marriage because one person decided to spend money without the other person knowing it…this NEVER, I mean EVER turns out to be a good thing.
AND…if you are dating and do not feel like you can tell the person you are with anything…then why in the heck are you dating that person???
#2 – Humility
Philippians 2:3-5 are incredible verses for ANY married couple…because…two people who consider each other better than themselves will NEVER have problems! I can honestly say that the biggest problems in my marriage over the past 11 years have came as a result of me being frustrated with my wife about how I perceive she has fallen short of “serving me,” which is arrogant, self centered and sinful! Reality is that when I become more like Jesus I become more of a servant and not someone who simply wants to be served!
Two people who make it their goal to out serve one another never wind up in divorce court…and…if you are dating and the other person is always trying to get something from you but never wants to do anything for you…RUN!!!
#3 – Patience
If we want to be more like Jesus we have got to be more parient (see II Peter 3:9!) One of the thing, though, that I have noticed is that the person I seem to trend towards being the least patient with is my wife…when, in actuality, I should demonstrate the most patience with her because she and I are one!
Couples that are always biting at one another are NEVER pleasant to be around…and Galatians 5:15 carries a warning for people like this.
AND…once again, if you are dating someone and they constantly demonstrate impatience with you and always seem to be attacking you rather than building you up…RUN!!! Marriage is NOT going to bring understanding…marriage is a magnifier and will simply bring out more of what already exists in the relationship.
#4 – Self Examination
I am learning more and more that EVERY time I get angry/frustrated with my wife that, instead of taking that opportunity to point out her “opportunities for improvement” that I should instead step back, look in the mirror and make sure that what seems to be frustrating me about her isn’t, in fact, something that is wrong with me.
A person that is open to the Lord’s correction and willing to examine themselves will make an excellent spouse. (I have NOT been an excellent spouse in the past…so thankful that I have a patient wife!) :-) Because, I fully believe that self examination will always result in some sort of confession and repentance.
Think about this…even if 90% of the problem is attributed to your spouse, what if you stepped up and owned the 10% of the problem that you were responsible for? WOW! It is an amazing relationship with the spouse will beg God to “show me how to improve” rather than, “God, please fix my spouse…they are CRAZY!”
AND…if you are dating and the person is always pointing out your problems but never has said “I’m sorry,” you guessed it…RUN!!!
#5 – Jesus
Take a look with me at Colossians 1:17 with me. Go ahead, click on it!
Scripture clearly says that “in Him ALL things hold together.” Every marriage that I’ve ever seen fall apart has one thing in common, either one or both of the people involved decided not to wrap their lives up “in Him!”
As we get closer to Jesus we become more and more about Him and others…not ourselves!
If we want our marriages to hold together then each person must consistently pursue Jesus–period!
And…if you are dating and the relationship ISN’T focused on Christ…then I PROMISE you that whatever the focus of the relationship is will not be enough to sustain it long term. If the person you are dating isn’t becoming more like Christ then I can promise you that the relationship WILL hit a wall and it WILL hurt…so…RUN!!!