Randy and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on February 15th. Our lives point to the fact that there is great value in growing together. Yes, we married young. In fact, Randy was twenty-three and I was only days shy of twenty-one. No doubt, we were embarking on a lifetime full of adventures, many wonderful; others that threatened to rock our world.
We had no real clue what we had signed up for. This despite being counseled by the best and having had the advantage of wonderful examples modeled for us beforehand. I don’t believe anyone is ever really “ready” for marriage. Truth be told, experience was our best schoolmaster. We could have married in our thirties and still have not been completely prepared.
When asked “so what’s your secret?” “How has your marriage passed the test of time?” Our answer is always the same. Allow Christ to be the center of your marriage, respect one another and value your differences. We have come to understand this one undeniable truth, that those who have the happiest, most fulfilling marriages have this same value system.
I know that it may seem a bit old fashion in light of the world we live in. Yet this is our story and we can’t help but look back and see the countless times our faith carried us. I also understand that not everyone gets to choose this path. Some marriages despite great effort still fail. What’s more we would never condone anyone to stay in a marriage that is considered abusive.
We approach our marriage as two “whole” people coming together. So that old adage of two halves making a whole does not work for us. Instead we get our completeness by our identity in Christ. He alone is the one that can “complete” each of us individually.
Why does this mindset make such a huge difference? For one, it helps you love your partner through God’s eyes. Your compassion for one another becomes greater and I believe that only then are you able to love unconditionally. When I don’t depend on Randy for my joy, peace or happiness I am free to love him completely, this means faults and all. He in turn can do the same. It’s a beautiful thing to see and experience.
I love my husband because of the security that I have in the God that loved me first. Who gave His one and only son for my salvation. Frankly, without the love of Christ as my anchor I don’t think I am capable of loving anyone very well and this includes my two precious children. Why? Because I would constantly be chasing their approval, affection for my wholeness and that’s a dead-end road, that always finishes in disappointment.
Making Christ the center of our marriage does not make Him a third wheel. In fact, it makes Him the very foundation we built our lives together on. Was it always easy? No, of course not. But it has certainly been worth all the time and effort. Today our marriage is stronger and better in every sense of the word. Why? Because like our pastor Ricky Gallinar always says, “you can’t put your marriage on autopilot!” Is it any wonder that they too are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this month? I don’t think so. Like us they have made it a point to work diligently on their marriage. Having just an okay marriage is just not an option.
We are grateful for our pastors amazing example and we congratulate them on their milestone. What’s more we can’t thank them enough for making sure that every available tool is at the disposal of the couples in our church. They understand that healthy marriages, make for healthy families.
If today your marriage is not where you want it to be, allow us to encourage you to follow our lead, not because we have all the answers but because we follow the one that does. Put Christ at the center of your lives and begin the process of being complete. For more information and inspiration listen to our church’s messages.