The 2 Things I Got Right in Marriage: A Blog for Singles (also married peeps):

Anne has been on me a while about writing a marriage blog to singles. I’ve been setting aside the idea for a long time.  But over the past two weeks, some comments have come my way, 

“I love reading about your mistakes. They help me correct my own.”

“Some of your mistakes help me to know what to NOT look for.”

So I’ve been asking myself a simple question: Of all of the things I’ve done wrong (the list keeps growing), what have I done right? 

I came up with two. 

That’s it. 

Obviously there’s more, but these were literally the first TWO that came to mind that, I believe, are the TWO FOUNDATIONAL decisions that has given me a great (not perfect) marriage. Again, I’ve gotten other things right in the past 18 years, but they’ve built off these two.

If you’re single, this is where you START.
If you’re reading this and your married, this is what you WORK ON

The FIRST thing I got right: I loved Christ before I loved Anne

There is no other foundational decision greater than this. Everything, and I mean everything, builds off this. Let me explain. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment. He said, 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

I cannot possibly love Anne the way she needs to be loved without first loving Jesus. I’ve had people take offense to that type of priority.  But when I love the Lord first, He teaches me how to love.

Why is that? When I encounter His love, it teaches me how to love myself AND others. It helps me live life through His perspective. I forgive completely because that’s how He forgives. I have compassion for others because He showed me compassion. I serve selflessly because He served me by laying down His life. I choose to love unconditionally because He choses to love me that way.

I’d love to say I’ve perfected all but, as you’ve read in previous blogs, you know I’m a work in progress as are all of us. But this is where I start from and CONTINUE to build on. Any season that I face, this is where I begin. And it’s given me a powerfully healthy perspective to have.

The SECOND thing I got right: I chose a woman who loved Christ before she loved me.

I didn’t ask her for an application followed with references and a dissertation. I saw her devotion to Christ.

When worship began, she entered in as a passionate worshiper.
When someone was in need, she gave without expectations.
When something needed to be done, she was the first to serve. 
When someone needed to be encouraged, Anne was the first to step up. 
But most of all, her reputation amongst people who knew her was the reputation of Jesus. She had the character of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). 

She’s nowhere near perfect. Like me, Anne has plenty of flaws and it’s not my place to list them (that point may be for a future blog).  It’s my place to see her how Christ sees her. And that list what I saw. Her life was evidence of a Matthew 22 life. I knew if she loved Jesus completely, she could love me that way (because I’d love her that way). 

If you’re single, this is where you start. Instead of trying to find the “right one” for you, become the “right one” for others. Go after Matthew 22 passionately. As you encounter the love of Jesus, it’ll change you AND change what you look for in a spouse.

If you’re married and you didn’t start this way. Don’t scrap everything. Start a Matthew 22 marriage today by letting the love of God change you. And from you, let His love encounter and change your marriage. 

I love you all.  I believe in great things for you. Why? Because I know how great Christ is and I know, through you, great things can happen. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

A Marriage of Mistakes: 18 Lessons Learned from 18 Years of Marriage

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Today is my 18 year anniversary…(just caught something as I’m typing…Let me start over.)

Today is OUR 18 year anniversary. Outside of encountering Christ, May 23, 1998 was the greatest day of my life. But in the midst of the roughly 6,570 days of marriage, I’ve made a few mistakes. Mistakes are fine; they happen. Anne didn’t marry perfection nor did I. But the goal is, if there are mistakes, and there will be, is to try to not make them again.

So I thought what better day than our 18th anniversary to list out, for educational purposes, 18 mistakes we’ve learned from (that hopefully you will learn from too).

  1. Stop comparing with other couples. They are not you.
    • I believe that you can GLEAN ideas from another couple; just don’t think you need to duplicate who they are.  
  2. When your wife goes into labor, don’t make her wait to leave for the hospital so that you can unhook and bring your Playstation.
    • BONUS: Don’t tell her you’re bringing the Playstation because you “don’t want to be bored.”  That’s a whole other mistake.
  3. Assumption is cancerous to the unity in your home.
    • Assumption the devil’s workshop. If you’re going to assume ANYTHING, then always assume the best.
  4. Don’t sneak up on your wife purposely because you think that scaring her will be funny.
    • It’ll never be funny….never!
  5. Devaluing your wife’s idiosyncrasies devalues her personally.
    • God created each of you with idiosyncrasies none better than the other. They are a part of your personality.
  6. When your apartment is on fire, while she is grabbing the wedding photos and irreplaceable items, don’t grab the Playstation.
    • Things can be replaced. (Yes, I have issues and am getting help.)
  7. Couple’s devotions don’t work for Dave and Anne.
    • We both felt guilty for not doing them. The guilt lasted till we realized that we both have the same elements to a walk with Christ, but we do them differently and at different times. It doesn’t stop us from looking for moments to pray over each other, but we’ve felt a release of having to do everything the same in our journey of following Christ. Our steps may not look similar, but the steps will always be together.
  8. Don’t demand what your love language craves.
    • Serve first. Give first. Speak her love language first.  Let your serving lead to reciprocal giving.
  9. Refuse to try changing your spouse.
    • Pray that God would BLESS her and CHANGE you. Let the Holy Spirit do the changing and quite trying to play his role.
  10. Always offer the last of the ice cream so that, according to scripture, “it may go well with you.”
    • I may have taken that scripture a bit out of context but ‘yall know what I’m talking about.
  11. Anne doesn’t have to like sports.
    • My spouse liking what I like is not essential to a happy marriage. Our differences in leisure, hobbies, and overall personality adds to the makeup of our marriage; it doesn’t take away from it.
  12. The silent treatment might be the stupidest way to communicate anger.
    • I’m good at it. And as a professional in it I can confirm that it doesn’t work and does more damage than you desired.  
  13. I wish someone would have told me how to have a “timeout” during disagreements.
    • Instead of throwing a chair (early in our marriage), stepping away to calm down and remember what’s important would have been a far more constructive decision. My blow-ups created more casualties.
  14. Snuggling is fun for moments, not the entire night.
    • It sounds good, and I’m a physical-touch guy, but you gotta have your own space at some point. It’s the only way to get some solid sleep.
  15. If I’m after a win for “ME,” it’ll never be a win for the “WE.”
    • If the win isn’t for the marriage, it’ll never be worth the price of victory.
  16. I don’t “babysit” my kids. I don’t “watch” the kids so that my wife can go out and have a token evening with her friends.  
    • I’m their father. I spend time with them because I love them, I need time with them, AND they need time with me. Also, your wife needs some sanity away from the kids. Plan a father/kid evening in your weekly/bi-weekly schedule.
  17. Grudges rob more time than you want and consumes more of your mind than you’ll ever anticipate.
    • “Will you forgive me” and “I forgive you” may be the 7 most powerful words you and your spouse can speak. So speak them often.
  18. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it’s a sign of weakness to NOT ask for help.
    • Anne and I are very thankful for the men and women who have, and continue, to speak into us. We haven’t “arrived” yet.  There’s still a lot to work on

I’m capping it at 18 (having made more mistakes than this list can contain). But I love that practices what the Apostle Paul taught us,

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13.

Love ya babe!

 

Thanks for letting me ramble for the past 18 years…