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One of the things that many couples wonder is, “What does it take to be happily married…til death do us part?” It’s really not enough to just stay married, because lots of couples stay married, but what does it take to not only stay married, but ENJOY staying married to the same person for decades?
I know that some folks will look at my “4 Essentials” and raise all kinds of concerns about things that are missing. I am not saying these are the only things needed for a long-term joyful marriage, but I am saying without these 4 a marriage won’t be what it could and should.
1. A Personal Relationship with God
I know couples who are not Christians but have been married a long time. I also know those marriages live on the individual strength of each person. This is a very dangerous place. We can go on our own strength for a time, but when things begin to unravel you’ll need Someone to lean on. Your spouse will be a person to lean on at times, but what about when you are both down? If you both hit bottom at the same time and God is not at the core of each of you individually it is far too easy to lash out and walk away. Your spouse must be the love of your life, but not your first love.
2. A Commitment to Stay Married for Life
Recently I heard Andy Andrews say on a podcast, “If you haven’t completely closed the door on considering divorce in your life then your subconscious will always be looking to see if it’s time to walk out.” We have talked in the past about Why Christian Couples Get Divorced, but this is different. There are VERY few commitments you will likely make that are for life and for far too many people, sadly, marriage doesn’t make the list. Oh, it wedding vows they will say, “til death do us part” and perhaps in that moment they believe it. But the strongest couples have made the commitment to stay married for life…when they are NOT in the middle of an emotional event. The commitment to stay married for life is a conscious decision of the mind, not the heart.The commitment to stay married for life is a conscious decision of the mind, not the heart Click To Tweet
3. Deciding to Joyfully Serve Your Spouse
Many couples have difficulty with one or both of the first two essentials, but the couples that DO stay together still may not have a lot of joy in their relationship. This essential, deciding to joyfully serve your spouse, is one that doesn’t even come to mind for many couples. First of all, we are called to serve each other:
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
But it’s not enough to serve. I can serve someone out of a sense of obligation and I will likely eventually resent that person. But if I choose to serve with joy then it will be a privilege to meet their needs. As we spend more time in God’s Presence (see Essential number 1) then He will fill our hearts with joy to serve.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9
4. Being Best Friends
This one should be obvious, but all too often it’s not the case. I want to make something fairly clear here. I’m not talking about just saying “my wife is my best friend” or “my husband is my best friend” because you know that is what people expect to hear. I’m talking about living your life in such a way that anyone looking from the outside KNOWS you are best friends. Live your life in such a way that anyone looking from the outside KNOWS you are best friends. Click To TweetWhat do best friends do? They have fun and enjoy spending lots of time together, they go out to events together, they laugh and cry together, they share secrets with each other and they are fiercely loyal to one another! Of course your husband or wife is so much more than a best friend, but they must also be your best friend for a truly joy filled marriage.
So, those are four of my Essentials for a Life-Long Joyful Marriage. What are your thoughts? Did I miss some important others? Do you have thoughts on these? Drop a comment below!
Love you all!