Spring is here, and for many, love is in the air. I know, I’m doing a wedding a week for an entire month!
As I counsel with couples about to be married, I often reflect on some of the topics I constantly counsel married couples on. The thought here is that if these subjects come up in marriage, maybe I can help a couple get ahead by discussing them now.
Here are three common issues:
Quality time spent with one another.
Everyone wants quality time. The problem is they want it like microwave food — fast, easy and effortless. Marriage doesn’t work this way (neither does parenting). If you want quality time, you must log in the quantity time. It is in the simple, ordinary and even mundane rhythms of quantity time spent with each other that become opportunities for quality time. If you want quality time, first put in the quantity time.
In the Bible, the Book of James uses ships as an example: “Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.” The same little tongue that pledges vows of love, honor and respect, which build a marriage, can also tear it down with a few quick lashes. Commit to affirm your mate with words, and by doing so, you’ll steer the ship of your marriage into the sunset of happily ever after.
“I made a mistake; this is not the right person for me.”
When I hear this complaint, I offer this word of challenge and correction: “It’s not about marrying the right partner, but rather about being the right partner. If you found the perfect person for you, then you shouldn’t marry them because you’d only screw them up with your imperfections.” A good marriage isn’t about making a good pick based on over 6 billion options, but it is about what you do once you’ve made that pick. If each partner in a marriage worked on character development rather than complaining about their spouse, both parties would have more confidence in each other. Remember, it’s not about marrying the right partner, but being the right partner.
As a chaplain and a married guy, it’s my prayer that these simple but not easy marriage secrets be a blessing for you in your relationship. Grow in your knowledge and skills in marriage; good marriages are built with effort.
If your marriage is in ruin, I suggest seeking help through your chaplain, Fleet and Family Support Center or Military OneSource.