For better or for worse. We've had better days and we have definitely had worse, but we've stuck it out all these years. I think our marriage has stood the test of time because we've used the following recipe.
Ingredient #1 - A strong foundation.
It really helps to start out the right way. Make sure you are on the same page spiritually. That goes a long way towards making a good marriage. I know plenty of couples where one is a Christian and the other is not, and some do have really good marriages, but this is an area that always brings heartache. It is helpful to start out heading down the same path.
Ingredient #2 - Commitment
We are both committed to each other. When we took those vows twenty-seven years ago we knew there was no turning back. Trust me when I say that there were times when we both had our doubts. There were days when I just thought I made the worst mistake of my life! Yet, we both entered into the marriage contract and knew it was for keeps. Bailing out was not an option.
Ingredient #3 - A Common Purpose
Dan & I met at seminary and we both had felt God's call on our lives to go into full-time ministry. We have a common purpose in our lives and a desire to reach people with the love of Jesus. While it isn't necessary to have exactly the same "job" or "gifts", I think that it helps when you both have the same goals for your lives and family. Support of each other in your specific gifts is absolutely important.
Ingredient #4 - Communication
Good communication is important. You have to talk to each other. Being able to tell each other your hopes, dreams, disappointments, and discouragements is important. When you spouse disappoints you, tell them how it made you feel. But again, the key is GOOD communication. Speak the truth in love.
Ingredient #5 - Forgiveness
Forgiveness is the key. Your spouse will mess up! They will disappoint you and make you really, really angry at times. But don't go to bed angry. Talk it out and forgive one another. Sometimes, you need to just let it go. Forgive your spouse and ask for their forgiveness when needed.
Ingredient #6 - Learn to laugh together
In our relationship, I can be really uptight over little things. I've learned and am still learning, not to get in a tizzy over the minute things in life. I'm learning to laugh! We've had some really funny things happen to us over the years, and having a good sense of humor, helps get over the rough patches as well. Sometimes, it's important to have a good belly laugh together!
We won't be able to do any celebrating today since he has an event to go to tonight. But as I look back on our 27 years of marriage, I'm so glad that the Lord brought Dan into my life!
Happy Anniversary, Honey