I know three men who have lost their wives in the last five months. When their wives come up in conversation or they reflect on their loss, you can see the agonizing pain in their eyes. Like my friends, my Grandmother also lost her husband prematurely. She wrote a two-part poem shortly after his death.
In the first part of the poem, she wrote:
To Live Again?—Why?
When the unbearably lonely days and nights crowd in, and—you cry,
And in the numbness of your grief, you know that a part of you is gone—
The deep emptiness and sadness these friends and my grandmother feel are reflections of how meaningful their marriages were and how beautiful marriage is. Marriage is a gift from God that we will not always have the opportunity to enjoy. Learn how to make the most of it. Here are 4 priorities for every marriage.
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” —1 Peter 4:8
Make the Most of Your Marriage
The compassionate, hurting hearts of my friends have inspired me to want to love, appreciate, and be more generous with my wife. As time is precious and brief, we need to make the most of it. A lot of us (including me) need things put in perspective on a regular basis. I get wrapped up and dominated by thing after thing in life that doesn’t really matter.
Matthew 13:22 speaks of seed falling among thorns. This refers to “…one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” For many, the worries of life and financial pressures are choking out a healthy marriage. The tsunami of busyness squeezes the fun and depth out of most relationships. So, how do we win the battle against distraction, worry, and busyness?
4 Priorities for Every Marriage
#1 Prioritize time together and make the most of it.
I have heard from so many people who regret not spending enough time on their key relationships. I have never heard ONE person feel like they spent too much time with those they love. Commit to creating a marriage environment that is fun and life-giving. Do fun things together. Go out to eat. Go to concerts. Cook fun meals. Play cards. Make it a priority to just do the things that you enjoy doing together
#2 Communicate openly and honestly.
There is a mystery and beauty to being fully known, fully accepted, and fully loved. Talking about all your hopes and dreams is such a life-giving practice in marriage. The sharing of emotions and life together can literally pull us together like a magnet.
#3 Give each other grace.
First Peter 4:8 tells us, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” We all struggle. We all have flaws and frustrating habits. This can make things challenging in the day-to-day, but it doesn’t have to. Overlook offenses, focus on the positives, and choose to enjoy one another.
I am not talking about tolerating abuse or infidelity and, obviously, issues have to be communicated and worked through. However, annoying habits and daily struggles don’t have to isolate us or harm our marriages.
#4 Let God take charge.
In the second part of my Grandmother’s poem, she wrote:
FINALLY—To Truly Live Life Again—let God take charge….
Your great family loves you, you have a sister, friends, good health, your church, music – priceless memories,
And the Christian faith you shared with your Sweetheart will, One Day, reunite you—Through Eternity—to LIVE.
As I watched her play in a band at age 85, it was apparent she was committed to LIVE AGAIN.
Let’s richly enjoy what God has provided (1 Timothy 6:17) and love well. My mentor once told me, “Let me simplify the Gospel. Love the person in front of you and love them well.”
Grace Marriage Mission
I want to leave you with four practical takeaways:
- Do one fun thing together (just the two of you) this week
- Talk daily and openly about your life and emotions
- Give each other grace every moment of every day; and
- Love and support those who have lost their spouse. God has a special love for widows and widowers as noted in His Word. We can’t take away their pain, but we can show them how much they are loved.
Marriage is to be enjoyed not just endured.
Brad Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.