My wife and I have been happily married for going on 19 years. And those words have more meaning today than they did nearly 20 years ago. Here are 3 ingredients we’ve learned are necessary for staying married “till death do us part.”
The basis of marriage is love. And true love is not about what you can get, but about what you have chosen to unconditionally give. Two people feel in love. Then they fall in love. But eventually, they have to learn to love and sometimes, they even have to fight for love. Two people’s commitment to love no matter what is the first and most important ingredient for staying married. Yet, sometimes, love doesn’t win in the end. At times, selfishness wins, pride wins, anger wins, broken trust wins. Yet commitment to lifelong love is one of the most powerful forces in any marriage. It’s enduring, it’s sacrificial, it’s unconditional.
If a marriage is going to thrive, it needs to have a level of trust that continually grows with time. Healthy relationships are built upon mutual trust—the idea that both spouses reliably have each other’s best interests in mind. This requires a level of transparency that often can and should only be experienced in a marriage relationship. This is the kind of trust and transparency that potentially leave you vulnerable to your spouse, because they know you, both the good and the bad, unlike anyone else—and they still love you.
Marriage is not a contract between two people but rather a covenant among three (a man, a woman, and God). For any marriage to truly succeed, there must be an emphasis on not only the emotional and sexual but also the spiritual. We were created for this, to know each other intimately on a relational, physical, and spiritual level. Praying together is a simple yet important way to maintain an ongoing spiritual connection to each other and to God.