So enjoy the finale of A Realistic Guide to Love.
In It To Win It
As the years tick by, some couples settle into an amazing bliss. Those six people are fortunate. The rest of us will run into epic personal struggles, both within our marriages and beyond. We don’t learn in school how to deal with miscarriages, debt, depression or unfaithfulness.
These serious needs underscore the importance for deep community, solid mentors, excellent communication skills and habits, grace, patience, forgiveness, conflict resolution and big faith. One piece of advice that has proven invaluable was to remind ourselves that we’re on the same team. If we’re talking about something, even if it’s where one person really hurt the other, we’re trying to work it out and move forward together.
We’re also learning to be gentle on each other. We all react differently to stress–some become militant commanders, some look cool while choking on internal tension, some lose sleep, some sleep more, some cry, some can’t handle seeing tears. Learn how you each react to stress, and be prepared for your spouses’s reaction, as well as to tame your more damaging reactions.
From the first days of our marriage, we had a saying: “The honeymoon never ends.” It leads to adventures and laughter, memories and romance, optimism and joy. It is the long-term effect of the “date your mate” principle. You might not have two weeks in the Cayman Islands, but a picnic of bread, cheese and chocolate next to spring blossoms is pretty fine too.
Build traditions to encourage and facilitate what really matters–assign an evening for a tea/coffee/hot cocoa date at home. Make space, time and a routine for prayer together. Read a book that can motivate your love, for God and each other.
Keep finding mentors a stage or two ahead of you. Don’t just talk about your life–talk about theirs. Hear their struggles and how they work through them, from talking to their kids about puberty, to parenting angry teenagers to caring for a spouse with a terminal illness.
Love feeds on the times you stop and thank God for the precious person you have the privilege of sharing life with. So thank God. At the same time, don’t let your focus only and always be on each other. There’s a world of need out there, and some of the finest marriages around are in the tick of it, serving side by side.
And perhaps some day you’ll be that married couple with the smile-wrinkled faces whose lives after umpteen dozen years together still shine with such love that the word “awww” just slips out of your mouth when he reaches for her hand.
I hope you enjoyed this series and learned a bunch. I know I did.
Until next time readers, God Bless!
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