Today’s blog is lovingly dedicated to a special couple as they enter into a life of matrimony in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The intended couple may never read these words, but this would be my sentiment and advice if they did.
As we enter the Fall wedding season many couples will choose to marry their partners or soul mates in ceremonies as simple as a backyard wedding or as grand as a private island with all the trimmings money can buy. Regardless of the size of the party attending or the price shelled out for the event, it is likely some sort of vows will be exchanged during the ceremony, especially if the marriage is religious in nature and performed by clergy. A vow is a solemn oath or promise made declaring your commitment to remain faithful and at all times to be “all in” the relationship. Some couples will choose to write their own vows while others will exchange the more common traditional vows. But as people evolve during the course of their life, and all of us do to some extent, those vows often become difficult to honor, especially in a world where lifelong commitment common to our parents generation have become somewhat relevant to more progressive ways of thinking. So here is my humble advice to safeguard your marriage against the forces that would fight to it’s demise.
First, a wise Proverb cites that we should love the wife of our youth. The gem of advise is priceless as it encourages us to at all times, and in all situations, good and bad, remember the qualities that compelled us to enter into this marital commitment to begin with. Our bodies age and we quickly lose our youthful attitude and appearace, but the mind is sharp and fully capable of recalling things like the first kiss, the first dance, that first flirting glance and the first “I love you”. Like photos in an album, these mental images and recollections will serve as a constant reminder of the reasons you fell for, became engaged to and eventually married this special person. Use these images at all times to strengthen your relationship when times and waters become troubled.
Second, always see you mate with a wide-angled lens. If I were sitting on the beach of Oahu but had a telescope focused on a dead palm tree at the base of Mt. Mauna Kea or a dead fish floating on the surface of Hamana Bay, I might ask myself what why all the fuss over such a dead island. But yet sometimes in a long relationship that same wide-angled lens is often exchanged for a 10 power telescope and instead of seeing a person for all they are and including all their traits as a whole, one simply focuses in on the dead wood, the floating fish, losing sight of all else so that their mate is suddenly defined by the limited view within their magnified sights. When this happens and is not quickly caught, a terminal cancer takes hold and the usual result is not good. Never lose sight of your mate as the whole and beautiful person you first fell for and be quick to overlook faults when the tendency is to magnify them.
The third piece of advice would be to make every ocassion a memory. Life can’t always be comprised of festive parties or grand vacations. A marriage is made of days with a cold, nights too tired to venture out and sometime limited options due to limited funds. The magic happens when a night on the sofa watching a favorite movie brings as much contentment as an all-night club-hopping adventure, or times when a walk in a nearby park can do when a walk on the beach is not possible. These little moments are the first things that a person recalls when life suddenly and cruely takes one of them-the simple dinners at home, the family events for no real reason, the cuddling at the end of a long day with agenda thn just to be present. These “little” things are the big things that make a marriage and fill in all the gaps of a fulfilled life together. Take none of them for granted because once gone, they can not be recaptured.
And lastly, throw away the old marital playbook that suggests that marriage is a 50/50 proposition. What foolishness! If you want a succesful and long-lasting marriage, be 100% All In. If truly in love, deeds and sentiments won’t be exchanged expecting something in return. Love is expressed just because! You are compelled to show your affections because it is now instinctive to everything in your nature to do so because of this special person in your life. Give them your all. From the Message translation of 1 Corinthians 13, the Love chapter;
Love never gives up. Love cares for others more than self. Love doesn’t demand what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut orhave a big head. Love isn’t “me first”. Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings. Love puts up with anything.
At all times continually ask God to show you how to love your spouse. Do everything within yyour power and capbility to water, to fertilize and to protect your marriage from any and all forces that would oppose it. Don’t wait for symptoms before considering treatment options when the relationship shows sign of illness but be proactive in diagnosing and administering the proper remedy to assure complete restoration and health. The alternative is not pretty. God bless all couples embarking on what is still a grand institution.