This past weekend my wife and I went to the wedding of some friends of ours. While listening to a conversation my wife and daughter were having about the weddings that our daughter could remember, I realized that attending weddings come few and far between for us today.
We have been married 13 years, and most of our friends have been married about the same, give or take a year or two. Most of our friends are married, and all of our kids are no where near the age of even dating, let alone getting married.
During the season that we were married and our friends were doing the same, our lives and mindsets were completely different. We were young, clueless, and didn’t have a clue what to expect. Today is different.
We have 13 years under our belts. We have studied our marriage and other marriages. We’ve been counseled and taught by more experienced couples. We even speak and teach about marriage ourselves, now.
Marriage is a ministry
I’ve written hundreds of blog posts about marriage. I’m writing a book about marriage, The 7 Rings of Marriage, we co-host a web show about marriage where we interview couples about their journeys through those 7 Rings, and we are creating marriage courses and a curriculum based upon them all.
So, you would think when we sat down at our table for the wedding reception that when we saw “Advice and Best Wishes for the Mr. & Mrs.” cards in front of us that it’d be a piece of cake. I mean this, marriage, is what I do daily, and a ministry for both of us. But, for a minute we both found ourselves challenged with what to say, on a small comment card.
Is there a silver bullet for marriage?
There are so many ins and outs, possible experiences, and variables when it comes to marriage. How could I boil them down to a comment card? Well, after a few minutes of reflection, I was able to do so.
While my advice may not specifically cover every single thing a couple will experience in marriage, my advice will equip them to handle issues no matter what marriage experiences present themselves. Here is the advice I gave our friends on their wedding day:
1 – Pray together daily
I have written about this before and how it has changed the game for our marriage. It always amazes, and frustrates me, when we have seasons that we don’t pray together. And as you may expect, those seasons are our most difficult. Praying together is foundational in a thriving marriage.
2 – Date weekly
This is another aha, or kicking myself idea, that sometimes gets overlooked. Part of our story is the fact that we didn’t date for years. Then we got intentional, began dating on a weekly basis, and our marriage has been better for it.
Dating is what led us to getting married, and dating is what will keep us married. [Tweet this]
3 – Get away together annually
Our marriage almost didn’t make it early on. One thing that helped us make it through was going away together for a marriage retreat. The past few years we have made getting away together an annual, non-negotiable event. It’s almost like an intentional honeymoon year after year.
We may not go to an island, or extravagant vacation, but we get away with the intent of being alone, and doing something to help our marriage grow. Each year we grow closer, overcome some challenges, and fall deeper in love.
Bonus – Keep Christ in it all
I wrote a blog post titled “Why my wife is my #2, and still cool with it.” The post shared how the relationship with my wife is the second most important relationship in my life. The first, is my relationship with Jesus Christ. My wife loves that and has the same mindset as me.
When we both do that, we grow closer to one another and love one another more unconditionally, like Christ does us. This is the glue that holds and allows all the other things. Without this mindset I don’t know where our marriage would be.
Practice what you preach
Whether you are getting married, are a newlywed, have been married for years, or will be staring at one of those comment cards hoping to give some helpful advice to a couple on their wedding day, this advice can make a huge difference.
I encourage you to put it into practice, and see how your marriage can be impacted.