Monday, August 10, 2009

Advice for the Newlyweds

Our daughter, Amy, married Chris on Saturday. At the rehearsal, I offered them advice from more than 35 years of marriage experience:

Who’s most important in your marriage? Putting your spouse first, rather than yourself, brings unimaginable joy and harmony. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider one another more important than yourself” (Philippians 2:3).

Love isn't a feeling. Love is not an emotion, something to fall into and out of. It’s determining to honor and serve one another unconditionally. “Love is patient, love is kind…. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered …. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Marriage is not ‘50/50.’ A successful marriage requires a 100% commitment from both partners. Two becoming one isn’t easy – very different individuals, with different interests, both broken by sin. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord…. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Ephesians 5:22-28).

You can’t meet all of each other’s needs. When God said it was not good for man to be alone, His intent was not for the spouse to meet all of the other’s needs. Ultimately, He wants to meet our greatest, deepest needs – for fulfillment, significance. “And my God will meet all your needs…” (Philippians 4:19).

Eliminate “divorce” from your vocabulary. If you never say the word, it never becomes an option. “For better and for worse” acknowledges some times will be worse, some will be better. “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

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