Last week I started a short series on What Makes a Good Marriage. You can check out last week’s post here. The point of the series is to offer advice from women who have been married a long time – in other words, experts.
Today’s advice comes from Mrs. Lori Rosenkranz. I met Lori through our church’s MOPs program where she serves as a mentor mom to us young mothers. She has been a great example to me over the last few years as I navigate through my new role as wife and mother. I am excited for you to read what she has to say!
What Makes a Good Marriage?
By Lori Rosenkranz
Both my husband and I grew up in homes marked by divorce, living with and through the painful consequences. As a result, we entered into marriage (at 22 years old) particularly mindful of creating a stable, healthy, loving atmosphere. We desired this as a couple, and also hoped and prayed to provide this for our future children. The Lord has blessed us with 32 years of marriage. We continue to enjoy a wonderful friendship, mutual love, respect and appreciation for each other. He has also blessed us with our 4 ‘lovelies’ as we call them – one daughter and three sons, all currently in their 20’s.
Here are a few areas we’ve identified as important in creating a long lasting, happy marriage (as well as a safe haven for our kids):
Don’t expect your spouse to be to you, what only Jesus Christ can be. Don’t expect them to fulfill all your needs, and don’t expect your marriage to be perfect. If you do, you will set yourself up for disappointment.
Leave & Cleave to One Another – From the day we said “I do” the two of us became, not just a married couple, but a new family. When we marry, that relationship must become the priority, above all others, even with our own parents. It should continue to remain a priority when the children begin arriving on the scene.
Choose to Forgive – “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers”, Ruth Bell Graham has said. Forgiveness means we give up the right to hurt our spouse, even when they’ve hurt us. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Never Threaten Divorce – We made a decision from day one, that no matter how difficult the circumstances, we would work through them, without threatening to walk out on the commitment we made before the Lord and to each other.
Don’t Attack Weakness– You will learn your spouses strengths & weaknesses, very early in your marriage. Don’t attack those weaknesses, and don’t point them out or talk about them with friends & family or in public settings.
Communicate – Learn to ‘calmly’ share/discuss what you think about a particular area of concern that affects your lives together. For example: I’m concerned with how much money we are spending on rent/mortgage, on groceries, or maybe there is a concern regarding how the children are, or are not being disciplined, or frustration with housekeeping issues, etc. Set aside time so the two of you can calmly and clearly discuss these concerns, and not too late at night when you both are tired – save it for the next day, when you are better rested.
Be Honest & Trustworthy – Knowing you can trust and depend upon each other creates incredible stability & security.
Humor – A good sense of humor goes a long way in greasing the wheels of marriage…so have a good laugh, preferably together!
Be willing to ‘adjust’ and work with, instead of against your spouse. This makes for a pleasant environment, one you both will want to come home to. “Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Keep Perspective – Marriage isn’t a sprint, its a marathon and so worth going the distance.
And finally, the most important aspect of the marriage relationship is a sincere faith & trust in God, looking to Him as the head of the family. He is, after all, the One who created marriage, giving us a roadmap, throughout the Bible, for His divine plan. As Christians, we have chosen, individually and as a couple, to follow the Lord through regular, consistent intake of biblical principles, week after week and year after year. Not just attending church, but regularly reading the Bible, seeking His godly wisdom, guidance & counsel.
“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”
~ Timothy Keller
Have you been married a long time? Do you have any practical advice you’d like to share that has made your marriage successful? I’d love to hear from you! Click the “contact” tab at the top of this page or comment on the post below.