30 lessons from 30 years of marriage.
As I reflect on three decades of marriage, all I have to say is ‘Thank You God’, and share the lessons learned, which I have summarised into 30 lessons from 30 years of marriage. I thank God that my husband and I are alive to witness this special occasion of our Pearl wedding anniversary. I thank God for the children we have been blessed with.
I thank God for the good times, the bad times, the joyful moments, and the down periods. I thank God for the trials, the tests and the tears. I thank God for the pain I endured and for His peace.
All I have been through and all I am going through in this school of marriage, God is using to His glory!
That my husband and I remain married today is a miracle. We had our fair share of ups and downs. And at some point along the way, we went our separate ways, before reuniting again after 2 years. I believe you can gain something from the 30 lessons from 30 years of marriage.
Below are 30 lessons from 30 years of marriage.
Lessons 1 to 10
- Don’t confuse marriage with the wedding. The marriage is more important than the wedding day. The wedding starts off your relationship, whilst marriage sustains it. The wedding ceremony lasts a day. Marriage lasts a lifetime. Avoid using the energy of a lifetime in preparing for a day’s event, which leaves you with less energy to work day to day on your lifelong marriage commitment.
- Marriage is a huge commitment and requires divine wisdom. Remember to put God at the centre and make Him the foundation of your marriage. A faulty foundation will result in a faulty structure and severe home damage.
- Make prayer top priority. Pray regularly about your marriage. Pray for your spouse and pray with your spouse. Prayer works.
- Marriage is about two people, an internal affair between you and your spouse only. Keep private matters within. Except where couples agree together to seek professional support for their issues or if safety and life is at risk; there should be no interference from external people.
- Anticipate that your spouse will change and grow. I am not the same person I was 30 years ago when I got married. Life experiences and exposures overtime will reframe your priorities, needs and goals. Interests, hobbies and skills could also change. Change must be properly handled together so you don’t grow apart.
- Challenges will come. Be prepared for different seasons. The sunshine, the rain, the storm and the winds. There will be highs and lows, joyful moments and painful periods. It’s inevitable. But with God, you can stand strong through the challenges.
- Marriage is the only institution I know to issue a certificate and has no graduation. Couples are students for life who are required to keep bonding, keep learning, keep studying and keep growing.
- Marriage is the responsibility of two people and requires commitment from both to work. Until my husband and I both decided there is no plan B, and committed wholeheartedly to our relationship, nothing moved forward. It takes two!
- You need to discover you and your spouse’s primary love language and apply it to connect better. According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 love languages – Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch. I wish I knew this earlier!
- Your number 1 friend should be your spouse. I learnt this the hard way! My husband is now my best friend, my confidant and my hero; and it is working wonders in our marriage!
Lessons 11 to 20
- Don’t assume; never assume! Ask if unsure about any situation. Talk about it with your spouse and be sure, don’t jump to conclusions! Don’t fill in the blanks with your own interpretations and ideas.
- You cannot change your spouse’s behaviour. Your approach and attitude however, can influence your spouse positively or negatively.
- Couples should take time to understand, respect, and truly care for; satisfy and support each other. Be open, honest and transparent. These are all essential ingredients of a healthy marital relationship, that need to be mixed together with prayer, patience and perseverance.
- Don’t expect your spouse to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. There is no perfect marriage; but with God, you can experience peace in your marriage.
- It is unfair to place the responsibility of your happiness on your spouse. Yes, you can experience and enjoy happy moments in your marriage, from the actions of your spouse, but being happy is up to you. Happiness is a choice. It’s your choice.
- In marriage, you may have to ask for your spouse’s forgiveness if you have done wrong or your spouse may seek your forgiveness if you have been wronged. It’s important that both partners are willing – one to seek forgiveness and one to forgive. Forgiveness may not come easily, and the process may be different for every marriage depending on the magnitude of wrong doing. Appropriate time is required for the offended spouse to process their emotions and feelings. However, it’s advisable not to delay forgiveness as bitterness and unforgiveness is harmful. Couples should work together to do the necessary and seek professional support if needed eg. spiritual guidance, prayer, counselling, therapy etc. (Summary – Forgiveness is Key).
- Focus more on each other’s strengths. I embraced this totally about 7 years ago and it helps, not only to relate better in my marriage but to feel better and to experience a greater sense of wellbeing; husband. It’s important that couples focus more on each other’s good qualities and strengths.
- Trust is mega in marriage. Mutual trust is essential for a healthy marriage. In my marriage, over the initial 18 year period, it started with total trust, then doubts, ‘half-trust’ and then ‘no trust’; by which time things collapsed. Lack of trust spells trouble!
- Connection and Communication is the core of a relationship! Poor and ineffective communication affects the quality of the marriage. It’s all about relating with each other through effective communication, that’s why it’s called – relationship.
- Have fun together. Enjoy each moment with your spouse. Love | Laugh | Listen | Learn. These all make living together harmoniously possible.
Lessons 21 to 30
- Love is a doing word. It requires action. Love is about giving not just getting. It’s more about your spouse than yourself; and if your spouse makes it more about you, then you both end up with harmony, humility and a happy relationship.
- Having the same parenting values with your spouse is important. Be in agreement about how you raise your children.
- As a couple, move with, mingle and surround yourselves with people who respect and value marriage. You need positive people around you!
- Discuss important matters such as values, finances, goals, intimacy, children etc. with your spouse. Have regular times of review as a family to make sure you are all singing from the same hymn sheet.
- Be cautious about matters relating to close and extended families. Don’t let it get in the way. Be wise!
- Team work makes the dream work – my favourite workplace quote. It applies in marriages too. Marriage takes work and both should be willing to put the work in and be team players.
- The greatest lesson I learnt in marriage is how to love my husband genuinely in 3 ways. 1. By allowing God’s love to fill the deep longing I had for love, belonging and security. 2. By loving and accepting myself. 3. Accepting Gods love gave me freedom to love my husband for who he is.
- Be aware of and deal with any individual emotional or psychological issues that could affect your marriage.
- Be grateful for your marriage, be grateful for both the little and big things your spouse does. Appreciate your spouse and don’t take each other for granted.
- I tried doing marriage in my own strength but it failed. I realised I needed Jesus. He is the prince of peace. Peace and marital bliss depends on believing that Jesus is with you, and that He will bring you through the battle with inner peace. Jesus said: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ – John 14:27.
Marital Bliss Lost but Found
I hope these ‘30 lessons from 30 years of marriage’ help you on your marital journey.
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