I can hardly believe that it’s twenty-five years already since that rainy Saturday morning in August 1990 when my wife and I mutually vowed to remain husband and wife for life. I was twenty-seven and my wife was twenty-four. We thought it was a great idea to start our lives together shortly after graduation and we have not regretted it. In those twenty-five years, we have grown from naive youths gropping for direction to a mature couple at the front line of ministry, inspiring thousands, and perhaps millions, of people across the world. While I can boldly say that we have had a blissful marriage and quickly point to the grace of God, my marriage has taught me that there are a number of things which are germane to an enduring relationship. (Of course, luck is not one of them). They are lessons that can save your ailing marriage or turn your good marriage into a dream experience. If you are single, how blessed you are to learn them before you set sail.
1. IF YOU DECIDE TO HAVE A GOOD MARRIAGE, YOU WILL
Making a success of your marriage is not rocket science. You don’t need a PhD in Psychology or Behavioural Science to make it work. Though finance can enhance romance, you don’t need to be a millionaire either. What you need above all else is a sober, rational and uncoerced decision that you are in it for life. When your mind is made up to succeed, the rest will be easier, and no demon in all of hell will be able to put you and your spouse asunder; you will flip over what other couples trip over. But that decision must be mutual because, like they say, it takes two to tango. That, for me, is one reason my wife and I are still in what someone called red hot monogamy twenty-five years on.
As I write this, I remember a brother who is married to a third wife, having broke n up with his previous sweethearts. My take is that if you really want to divorce your spouse and marry another, you will always find reasons that appear plausible and even acceptable.
2. FOR A GOOD MARRIAGE, STICK TO THE BASICS
In my experience, marriage is not as complicated as people think. In fact, the best way to have a good marriage is to keep it simple and stick to the basics. Those basics will remain the same through the ages no matter the advancement the world sees in art, science and technology. And the basics are not many: husband, love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; wife, submit to your husband in everything. When a couple veers off these basics, marriage is endangered. It’s also good to know what makes your marriage tick because when the chips are down, that is what really matters.
3. INDEED, TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE
It is a pity that many couples, though married, are still living their lives alone. But my wife and I have over the years becoming a winning team. It is impossible to separate us from each other’s successes (and failures!). We have been able to complement each other, take advantage of each other’s strength and make up for our weaknesses. I have learned that there is no better way for a couple to live. In every good marriage, the couple are interdependent. Helping each other in every way they can. If they rather become proud, selfish and contentious, marriage is doomed.
4. NOTHING THAT HAPPENS IN MARRIAGE IS FATAL
Contrary to what many people think, marriage does not break up because of what happens between a couple; it all depends on how they respond to it. There are certainly issues in every relationship, ranging from the very serious to the utterly frivolous but one couple’s response or way of handling them differs from another. If your perspective is right, every challenge will strengthen the fabric of your union and make your marriage better. That is why waiting for over twenty years before having a baby did not extinguish the fire of our love.
5. LEARNING MAKES PERFECT
One thing marks a couple that will have a good and lasting marriage: they keep learning. They keep learning how to relate better with their spouse and how to make their marriage better. They read good books on marriage and relationships, and do not mind investing their time sitting in a teaching seminar. Because life is dynamic and we all change daily, they learn how to manage themselves and how best to adapt to their spouse. For me, learning is so essential that I am still learning. I hope you are, too.
LOVE NEVER FAILS
To celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary, I have devoted the month of August to teaching singles and couples how to have a happy and lasting marriage. The theme is Love Never Fails. It is an opportunity for uys to learn together and I invite you to be my guest. If you wish to attend the Anniversary Couples Dinner, please call our office (08033742164) for the ticket. I am expecting you in Sure Word Assembly this Sunday.
Article written by Dr. Dennis Inyang (firstname.lastname@example.org)