Friday, March 25, 2011

fighting for your marriage...before you're married

Divorce rates in America are ridiculously high. Especially when you consider that the divorce rates among christians is comparable to those who are not christians. I don't know about you, but that scares me.

I am learning how to fight for my future marriage. I am reading books and blogs and listening to sermons by godly people about how marriage works. I am watching godly couples who have withstood the test of time and trials and are stronger for it. I am storing away bits and pieces of wisdom and I am trying to implement all that I can into my relationship now.

I think that all too often people don't work on their marriages until things get bad. So why should I wait to work on things until I'm married?

Kristen wrote a recent post about fighting for her marriage. In her post she wrote something that I think is so true, yet often overlooked. Kristen writes, "The very fall of man, put husbands and wives at odds with each other. Marriage is not easy. At it’s best, it’s difficult.

But don’t be fooled: Satan wants your marriage to fail. He is a vicious opponent without mercy. If you won’t fight for your marriage, he will." (emphasis mine)

I've been blessed to have grown up in a christian home. I have been blessed with being surrounded by godly couples. I have been blessed to have awesome pastors who preach amazing sermons about marriage and the roles of husbands and wives.

So, what are some of the things that I am doing now in my pre-nuptial days to protect my future marriage?

I am attempting to  practice the art of esteeming my boyfriend. I have read over and over again about how much men really do desire respect from their wives. I think there is a reason why the Bible admonishes men to "love their wives and wives to respect their husbands." (Ephesians 5:33, emphasis my own). It is so, so easy for me to disrespect my boyfriend. It can be as simple as teasing him when I know he doesn't like to be teased or as obvious as criticizing and nagging him. I fail a lot.  But I am trying.

Thankfulness- I try to thank him when he does something that I appreciate, because "kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." (Prov 16:24) Thank him for making me breakfast, opening that car door, playing the game he doesn't really like to, thank him for spending time with me, for being considerate of my feelings, for all the hugs and I love you's.

Along those same lines I am trying to learn how to hold my tongue. I try not to say anything negative about my boyfriend to other people because I don't want to be one of those wives who bashes on their husbands behind his back. Did you know that for every negative comment it takes five positive comment to cancel it out? Yikes. Words are powerful.

Pray. Pray, pray, pray. All the time. I pray for and with my boyfriend. I pray for guidance and protection and purity over our relationship. I thank God for positive relationships modeled in my life.

Learning how to manage conflicts. Now. My sweet boyfriend is a wonderful example of patience and understanding. I lose my temper far more often than he does...but I also apologize far less often than he does. Unfortunately the art of apologizing, and it is an art, is not something I learned from my home. It's not something that was shown in my boyfriend's home either...he just has an strong sense of justice and is  man enough to apologize when he knows he's wrong. I am learning, slowly, to follow my boyfriend's lead. To swallow this big ego that I have and to admit when I am wrong. It is humbling and I don't always do a good job but I think my boyfriend would tell you I've come a long way in the last four years.

I know that marriage is not a magic wand to be waved and that all my (and his) flaws and imperfections will not vanish once that ring is slipped on my finger. So I'm trying, really hard, to do what I can right now to fireproof my marriage.

I am thankful for all you godly women that write so honestly about your marriages. You may not realize it but you are giving my generation a chance to learn from you and that is a beautiful gift.  

What is your best piece of advice? What do you wish someone had told you before you got married?

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