1 in 15 marriages will not survive past 10 years, and 45 to 50% marriages end in divorce. Those are unfortunate statistics for both families and our society.
We have been married for 23 years, and I boast because marriage is hard work! But I must say after 23 years, I’ve learned a couple of things that I think are vital to anyone that’s married, or getting married. I have learned through the years that these are the things that have strengthened our marriage, and the things I’m thankful for.
1. Marriage is not about “your happiness”. Based on the statistics today, I don’t think most people really understand what marriage is all about. Marriage is about sacrificing your happiness for someone else. It’s about being selfless. Love is not earned, it is given freely. I truly keep this thought in mind each day.
2. Your spouse is ever-changing, but your commitment to marriage is not. I’m sure we all wake up one day and realize “hey, this isn’t the person that I married!” Well guess what?, no one ever promised you that your spouse would never change. Learning this about 7 years into my marriage, I realized that it wasn’t fair for me to have that expectation about my spouse. I also realized that I could not control “change”. But I could control “my commitment” to our marriage, and it should be “never-changing. I’m thankful for our commitment “not to each other”, but to the sanctity of marriage.
3. Equality in a marriage is irrelevant. I know so many woman who complain and hold grudges about how much they do in the household, as opposed to how much their husbands do. Really? What is all the measuring about? It creates a sincere sense of restfulness. Marriage is not 50/50, it’s each person giving 100/100. I may do most of the traditional housework in our household, but I never even give a thought about Home Insurance, car registration, needing tires on my car during the winter, or cleaning out the gutters before the rainy season, and a million other things that are left to “dear old Dad”. I’m thankful for the duties that have become mine (I truly don’t want anything to do with the stuff he is responsible for, YIKES).
4. Learn to work around the things that aren’t perfect. Nobody is perfect, especially me. I’m thankful that my husband has learned to work around those things about me that aren’t perfect.
5. Learn to respect your spouse. We may not always agree with each other, but we respect each others thoughts, reactions to different situations, and way of doing things. Criticizing is not respecting. My spouse and I are very different in the things that we like, and in our way of thinking. I am thankful that my spouse respects our differences.
6. Never let anything come between you. From the very beginning of our marriage we said that we would never let anything come between us. That can be kind of difficult with jobs, kids, and other commitments that constantly pull at your relationship. Well we made this “pact” that turned into a little game, and just to remind ourselves that we meant it, whenever our kids would get in bed with us they would want to get in the “middle” of us, and we wouldn’t let them. The playfulness left an endearing impact on our children. Never did they think that they or anything else could come between us. I’m thankful for this lasting commitment.
7. Never say anything that will leave a scar. We haven’t had very many shouting matches in our marriage, I can probably count how many. But as mad as we’ve been at each other, nothing has ever been said that was hurtful enough to leave a “scar”. A scar is a verbal wound that is never forgotten. I am thankful that we’ve respected each other enough to control our tongues, and to realize that hey, “I have to look this person in the eye each night, and waking morning”, can I live with those scars that I’ve created?
8. Divorce is not an option. So be careful of the choices that you make in this relationship. That has been our motto for our marriage.