My husband and I met the first day of classes freshmen year in college. I, like any “cool” person, was sitting in theology class way earlier than needed. After the other "less cool" students started filtering in, my now hubby, Justin walked into the room and asked if he could sit next to me. I said yes and the rest is history. The past 10 years of my life (approaching 7 years of marriage) have been the most incredible adventure together. While I by no means claim to have this marriage thing perfect and I realize we have many years of growing left to do, God has taught us some awesome things through the joys and trials of our years together. I would love share some of them with you since they have been such a blessing to us and I pray that they may be a blessing to you as well.
1. Serve God together.
If there has been one HUGE and unexpected blessing we’ve found in our marriage it is the joy of serving God together. When we volunteered to get involved with our church’s youth group 6 years ago, we did it because we both wanted to do more than just attend church, we wanted to serve others. Little did we know that working together on this joint mission would be one of the biggest blessings to our lives and marriage. The joy, companionship and unity we’ve found serving God together has brought so much more to our marriage than we could ever claim to have given to our church. We actually look forward to our weekly "date night" that just so happens to be with a bunch of teenagers.
It's too easy for marriages to get inward focused. It can become all about our feelings, our kids, our finances and our future. Walking side by side with our faces and focus on God keeps all those other things in perspective and reminds us of the true reason we are here. We are to be partners in this journey to heaven. We are to prod and encourage each other on to the ultimate goal: eternity with Jesus. We aren't to live for ourselves or even just for each other, we are to live to tell as many people as we can about our savior, Jesus Christ.
2. Pray about your sex life TOGETHER.
This may sound weird, crazy and perhaps awkward, but it works. I remember an older woman telling me before our wedding that she and her husband got down on their knees next to their bed before their wedding night and prayed not only that God would bless their marriage, but their sex life as well. We decided to not only do this on our wedding night but to pray about our sex life together when needed. It seems strange at first, especially in our culture where sex has been dirt-ified, lust-ified and made self serving. To openly pray about sex seems almost, I don’t know... wrong. But when you remember that it is an amazing gift God designed to be enjoyed in marriage; when we remember that sex between a husband and wife is a good, God-pleasing thing, it only makes sense to pray that he would bless that part of our marriages. In addition, being able to pray through the struggles and bumps in the road regarding sex also builds a deeper intimacy with each other and with God. What an awesome way to invite God into the most intimate relationship we have this life.
3. Be friends and enjoy the everyday
It would be wonderful if life could be all romantic dates and amazing vacations. But the reality is that 99% of your married life will consist of chores, obligations and living out everyday life. However, if you can find joy in fulfilling life’s everyday tasks together, you have found a real treasure. Perhaps we are lucky to have met so young and so our lives have inevitably melded into one another, but we really enjoy doing simple things together: Getting a coffee and pretending we are on a date while driving to our parents house (and our kids are all strapped in the back seat), folding laundry while listening to sermons or Focus on the Family podcasts, dancing around the house like crazy people while cleaning Saturday afternoon, or just building a puzzle together after the kids are in bed. (I know... I’m giving away how exciting of a life we lead :-) )
The truth is that you’ll miss out on all the little joys and blessings each day holds if you wait until the ideal or perfect time to connect and enjoy each other’s friendship. Life is the little things. Let go of waiting for the “good” moments and enjoy the ones you have right now.
4. Read the Bible together each day.
I could go on and on and on about the blessings of being in God’s Word together, and I’m pretty sure I gave a few reasons in a previous post on HHH, 10 Reasons to Get in the Word With Your Spouse. Also, how will you and your spouse determine what is normal for your marriage, your parenting, and your daily lives if you don't find it in the truth of God's Word? All I can say is that this is the most important part of your marriage. Justin and I have learned that the truly BEST parts of our marriage are the times we experience God together. There is really nothing more important that getting into God's Word together.
5. Finally, turn off the TV.
I have never looked back at my life and regretted not watching more TV. I personally believe that TV is a time-consuming distraction. I’ve heard many people ask us things like: “How do you have time for sex with 3 kids? When do you find time to work on ACTS? When do you fit in getting in the Bible together, our days are so full?” We have no magic formula or perfect way to make time for God in our marriage, but I've learned that not turning on the TV for hours at night sure gives you back a whole lot of time. I'm not saying that we never watch the news, a favorite TV show or movie together, but we've worked hard to make those things the exception rather than our everyday "go to" when when we are bored or tired. Like many things in life, while TV can be the easy, relaxing end to a night, that doesn't mean it is the best option. Many times, the better option take a little more work and motivation, but usually have a much better return on the investment.
What things have you found bless and encourage your marriage? I would love to hear them!