The Heart of Marriage
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The Heart of Marriage

Marriage doesn't look the way it did 30 years ago, in fact, it's had dramatic changes along the way. Convenience holds some failing marriages together. We're staying together for the kids, says another couple. Hot steamy sex is the focus for some other couples. Yet marriages fail at a rate of 5o% a year according to  How sad. Did they forget their vows? Did they lose the sparkle and heart flutters, believing that love was dead? I would hazard a guess that the substance of the marriage was in the wrong thing. God's design for marriage has stayed the same.The heart of a good marriage is a deep, committed love for each other that withstands the test of time.

I've been married twice. Both times have been very good; however, I've also witnessed the horrors of divorce. My parents divorced when I was five, my mother divorced a second time when I was a teen. Both were messy. Some of my divorced friends and clients have become suicidal or done some harm to themselves, like binge eating until their weight topped 300 pounds or  become an alcoholic. The pain of betrayal and bitterness is awful. God's design is one man with one woman in a covenant marriage for life.

Keep learning about each other.

I was married to my high school sweetheart for 29 years before the Lord took him home. It wasn't a perfect marriage, but it was a good marriage. We kept learning about each other along the way. Once, after 27 of those years, my first hubby said, "Don't do that. I don't like it."  It was something small.  I don't remember exactly what it was. I think it just surprised me that he was finally saying something after all that time! We loved each other and stayed true to each other all the way to the very end. In the hospital, not long before he passed away, he asked the nurses to help him scoot over to one side of the bed so I could cuddle with him. Before that, there were so many tubes and wires, I was afraid of accidentally hurting him if I even hugged him from the side of the bed. It was good to hug him one last time. Learning about each other continues as long as you both live.

When I married the second time, we decided to do the Cord of Three Strands ceremony as a reminder to ourselves that Christ should always be at the center of our marriage. We will put it in a shadow box frame and hang up in our new house. He felt the pain of divorce. When we said our I dos, we meant it.We are learning once more . Beginning again isn't easy, but our love is strong, committed to each other for life.  Remarriages have to really work hard at this point. It's too easy to have unreasonable expectations or make comparisons. Starting new means a whole new start!

Unwavering committed love is the substance of a marriage.

At the heart of every good marriage is an unwavering commitment to love each other regardless of what happens. "Divorce" should never roll off your lips. Being generous with forgiveness and apologies are simple, yet so hard for some people. Pride has to get out of the way, because it's not about "me", but about "us". Simple courtesies like saying, "Please," and "Thank you," are effective ways to keep respect flowing both ways. Christian marriages have one more element when Jesus is at the center of the marriage. I'm not talking about two Christians being married, rather two Christians committed to living and loving God's way with His Holy Spirit guiding and directing.

Value each other more every day.

Love should grow sweeter as time goes by. When you look over at your sweetheart, you should be able to still be mesmerized by the wonderful qualities you've loved from the beginning. When I looked over at my first hubby, sometimes it would strike me just how wonderful he was. My heart fluttered! It didn't matter how long we had been married. He had said similar things about me. My hubby and I now are beginning to have those wow moments even though we've only been married a year.

Arguments and fights tear away at the value you hold, if you let it. Let little annoyances go. Argue for a solution instead of fighting to win.  No name calling, no hacking away at each other. When you value your mate more and more, these elements become easier and easier.

Make sure he or she knows you how much you love them. Send love texts, not necessarily sexts. Greet each other when you get home. A big hug and kiss goes a long way. You want your Sweetie to be happy to come home, not sorry to come home. As you invest in each other, your love will grow by leaps and bounds.

Sex is the icing on the cake, not the cake.

I saved this one for last. Why? Because I wanted you to finish reading the blog post! Our country is obsessed with sex. If this section were at the beginning, it would have been the only part read!

There will be a time when sex doesn't happen. It will eventually happen. Be sure you have your priorities for your marriage in order. If your relationship is being held together through physical attraction, you are in trouble! Unfortunately, it's too easy for this to happen in relationships.  The unwavering love and growing value of your spouse is the cake, the substance of your marriage. Sex together is simply the icing that makes marriage sweet.

One last thing, sex before marriage damages the relationship. It puts physical attraction at the center of the marriage. God honors the couple who love Him and follow His safe, healthy plan for both partners. It can wait. If you didn't wait, re-order your priorities with each other now.  You have a whole lifetime together after the I dos are said and the rings are exchanged. When you save it, you can truly be united as one body without shame.

May the Lord bless your marriage with many long, beautiful years!

Cord of 3 Strands pic

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