7 Good Rules That Will Lead To Long Lasting Marriages
Here are 7 good rules that can last to a longer lasting marriage and although there are no guarantees in this life, there is at least something that we can to do help your marriages.
Learn to Forgive
Not forgiving will poison any relationship but the most important earthly relationship for sure and that is marriage. I have been married long enough to know that I made more than my fair share of mistakes and sinned against my wife and I needed to learn to ask for forgiveness and this meant to apologize and ask my wife to forgive me for being inconsiderate, for my careless words, and for my negligence. I heard about a newlywed couple who asked an older couple who had been married over 60 years “What has been the secret to your staying married for so long?” The husband hesitated for a moment but his wife didn’t give it a second thought. She said “learn to forgive.” If we don’t we are storing up resentment and harboring ill feelings that are going to burst through like a dam holding waters that are continually putting pressure against it. Forgiveness is a floodgate that takes the pressure off the dam holding back all of the mistakes, careless words, and negligence that have accumulated over the years. It will be released either continually as it comes or it will be released violently. Take your pick.
Nothing creates tension in a marriage like silence. Silence is not golden when it comes to marital relationships. When the lines of communication stop there is little or no hope of ever resolving problems. When partners become silent, the hopes or reconciliation are dashed, at least for the moment. When a couple does communicate, instead of using words like “never” and “always” use words like “When you do this it makes me feel” instead of “You never do this” or “You always do that” because that makes it sound hopeless for the other party who hears that. In reality no one never or always does something or doesn’t do something. That’s an unrealistic statement and if they hear it long enough, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy and they might just live up (or down) to that expectation.
Learn to Give
Every marriage takes a lot of work. It’s not a matter of what you can get out of a marriage but what you can put into one. It’s not what you get that makes a marriage work, it’s what you give. . Marriage is never a 50/50 proposition. Jesus said that even He came, not to be served, but to be a servant and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). If we think about our relationship with God, Who was it that gave the most? It was Jesus Who gave His own life for those of us who were His natural enemies and wicked sinners (Rom 5:8, 10) but Jesus didn’t measure His love for us by how much we gave but by how much He gave.
Respect One Another
I think that it’s vital for partners to respect one another if their marriage is to survive. This means treating one another with respect in front of others, out in public; treating one another with respect in church or in front of family; and treating one another with respect in front of the children because more will be caught than taught and children will learn to be what they see. This means showing common courtesy, opening doors or holding doors for one another, speaking to one another with words that edify, and treating one another in the way that they would want to be treated. There is no room for rudeness anywhere but even more so in marriage. One savvy husband once remarked that you can have respect without love but you can’t have love without respect.
Some people have a gift at being able to communicate, others have a skill at fixing things, while others are adept at making lemonade out of lemons but we must have reasonable expectations of our spouse. It’s not reasonable for a man to do certain things where women are more gifted in and it cannot be expected of every woman to do what a man has certain abilities to do. For example, my wife is a superb cook and she loves to do it. I have never once asked her to do the cooking…she just naturally loves it and desires to do this. She gets enjoyment out of it so if we were going to have a holiday meal and invite family members over it would seem unreasonable for her to ask me to do all the cooking because I’m not good at it. Strange to her though is the fact that I love to clean up the kitchen and I often do the dishes. I have always had the desire to clean up the kitchen, take out the trash, etc. I also love to do maintenance on the cars and so before we take a trip I check the tire pressure, and make sure that the care has plenty of oil and antifreeze in the radiator. My wife doesn’t have a lot of experience with automobiles so it’s unreasonable for me to expect her to change the oil. Now there are exceptions of course where this is reversed but each partner must have reasonable expectations of one another and not expect them to do something that they’re not good at or have no skill in at all.
Be Honest and Transparent
I think this is one of the greatest strengths that we can have as human beings but it is so important in marriage. When we admit our shortcomings, our faults, and yes, even our sins, we let our guard down and this allows the other person to be real too. If we put on a façade it doesn’t help because our partner probably already knows our weaknesses and faults so why not admit them? We’re not fooling anybody at all. I love to poke fun at myself and behind the pulpit I often use myself as an example and this has the effect of having others to do the very same thing so be honest, transparent, and your partner will more than likely be the same with you.
We never married our partners only if they promised to have a good week, or only when things went well, or only if they were successful at their jobs. No, we married them for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and till death do we part, so if we married our partner knowing their faults then our love should be unconditional. God will never love us any less when we are disobedient or He will never love us any more if we are living lives that please Him. His love is unconditional and so should ours be for our spouse. This kind of love reminds me of my old dog Snoopy. When I got home, he never cared if I was tired or I didn’t feel good or wasn’t in a good mood. No, he loved me no matter how my day went. An unconditional love is not a love conditioned on anything…it is a love despite anything.
I want you to have a successful marriage and to make it last a lifetime and there are certainly more than seven good rules that will help a marriage last but be sure you learn to forgive one another; keep the communication lines open; learn to give as much as you can and don’t keep count; show respect for one another; don’t hold unreasonable expectations because they’re not fair; be open, honest, and transparent with one another, and finally make sure your love is unconditional. If you do these things consistently, I believe that you will have a longer lasting marriage and having partners for a lifetime is the best we can get here on earth.