What's Your Secret?
We are still dating. After 25 years of marriage. Fortunately it’s with each other. Almost every week we take time to talk and catch up and hear each other.
Older friends of ours modelled this, we thought it was a good idea so we tried it too!
You know, the secret to a healthy marriage could be right there… talking to each other, a lot. Making it a priority.
We met 26 years ago. A mutual friend of ours from church thought we’d really get on with each other. Our friend was right. We clicked straight away. And that’s when the talking started!
I loved the way another couple started their relationship. They first spent time getting to know each other around friends and even prayed together. So that’s what we did too. Which progressed to dating and eventually marriage.
Because we got on so well, everyone expected us to have an easy marriage. The honeymoon feeling wore off too soon and we were fighting a lot with each other a lot of the time. It was hard to understand why two people so in love with each other could feel so uncomfortable married to each other. At one point, in anger and immaturity, I even took off my wedding ring and threw it at Geoff!
But we carried on talking. In fact, in those harder times, we used a good practice that we learnt in our marriage preparation. We would write each other a love letter about the issue we were facing.
It is hard to be aggressive when you are writing a love letter to your spouse.
Then we’d swap letters and read without comment so we could fully understand each other’s point of view, or feelings. Having been heard, we’d talk!
Over the years, we have tried to take an annual weekend away to build into our relationship and get extra time to chat… preferably in a nice location! We might take questions with us or a book on marriage to work through to help us connect.
Sometimes we have done facilitated weekends run by Christian marriage initiatives, like Family Life.
It’s not always an easy time, but we’re thankful looking back that we haven’t avoided the hard topics because it’s made us stronger in the process and we think we’ve got a pretty good marriage now! We have a lot of fun together!
It’s like an annual service for your car. Is everything still good? Do we need to make minor or even major adjustments?
These are some practical things that have really helped our marriage but the thing that has helped us the most is not a practical tip but a person, Jesus. He has modelled for us, how to love when it’s hard to love; speak truth but be gentle and respectful, forgive, value one another. He gave himself for others. He showed us what real love is.
But it’s more than him simply modelling love. Having a relationship with Jesus, experiencing his love personally, brings us closer to God and one another.
He is the glue in our marriage.