Twenty four years ago the love of my life asked me to marry him...and I said "YES!!"
It is one of the best decisions I have ever made!
We only have a few pictures of our engagement and the ones we do have were not taken by a professional. Neither Martin or I had a camera and it was back in the day before cell phones! Yikes! That makes us sound really old!
Thankfully, the success of a relationship is not hinged on the perfect picture!
I remember thinking it wasn't possible to love anyone more than I already loved Martin. I was wrong! The love we shared 24 years ago was indeed rich and genuine. However, it wasn't the kind of love we share now. This love we have now is so much deeper, so much stronger, and so incredibly beautiful!
According to statistics, our marriage should have dissolved years ago. We dated for 5 months before our engagement and were married less than a year after we started dating. I was the tender age of 19 and Martin was 24. We were both far too young and naïve to really know what we were doing.
So what makes our marriage work?
It's actually a fairly simple concept.
Yup! That's it!
Basically what that means is this...God is the center of our marriage. Even before we started dating, God was at the center of our lives and we committed our relationship to Him. We spent many, many hours praying and seeking God's will even before we started dating.
Simply put...I love God. Martin loves God. God loves us. So if I love Martin as I love myself, and Martin loves me as he loves himself and we both love God, it's next to impossible to allow a disagreement, or those irritating qualities to become something that tears us apart.
It means that both of us give 110% to our relationship. It means we put the other before ourselves. It means that we are committed for the long haul. The big D isn't an option. So we either live a miserable life or we work at making our marriage a safe and beautiful place to be.
Now that doesn't mean we don't face our fair share of problems. Trust me, we do drive each other batty! There are days when we really do not like each other. We get rip roaring mad at each other! And for good reasons too!
But the good news is that with God, we can work things out. With God, we can forgive. With God, we can grow stronger.
You may wonder what all of this actually looks like in our day to day life. Here are a few practical things that have served us well.
* NEVER, and I mean NEVER go to bed angry, or without resolving an issue...even if it means you stay up till 3 am!
*Make greeting each other at the end of the day a priority. A 15 second hug or kiss says a lot to your partner. It says "I missed you! I love you! I'm so glad you're here!"
*Communicate! About everything! That means both of us have to listen carefully!
*Take time for each other...every day! It's very difficult for us to have dates or alone time. Most evenings we try to sit down and chat for at least a few minutes or hang out together...even if it is watching a TV show. We love to cook up some yummy shrimp or make a delicious cracker dip, add some wine and make a date of it! We love going for walks together. Not only does it give us some exercise, but it's the perfect time to talk about all those things we can't talk about when the kids are around.
*Flirt with each other! Seriously! Who doesn't like to feel wanted and attractive!?!
*Look for ways to make your spouse feel special. A simple chocolate bar can be the perfect way to say, "I love you!", without spending a pile of money...and it doesn't take a lot of time to buy a chocolate bar!
*Make your relationship with God a part of each others life. By that I mean pray together. Share what God has been teaching you. Study the Bible together.
*Say "I'm sorry" and mean it!
*Compliment each other. About the little things and the big things.
*When you think about the past, focus on the good things and never forget why you fell in love in the first place!
Happy 24th Engagement Anniversary Martin!!