I’ve realized this week how comfortable I’ve become at “being single”. Last week, my map app and I headed out to a student’s birthday party on a road I’d never been on in my memory. Then, on Sunday, we ventured out again to go to a house where I had been to with someone else driving. The map app was wrong, but I was able to figure it out. Then, on Thursday, I ventured to a funeral….solo. No family or friend meeting me there….I went and witness a sentimental funeral for a lady who was dearly loved, and I was able to give a big hug to a former student. Then today, I once again drove somewhere independently to attend a wedding…solo. At this point, I’ve done weddings, funerals, and dinners out by myself. The other challenge left would be….going to the movie. But really….why spend that much money when I can sit in a recliner with two cuddly felines on my lap a few months later? I mean…really.
Now, to get on target (I didn’t get much sleep last night…can you tell?), I attended one of the sweetest marriage cermonies that I can recall. The wedding was lovely, but the focus on the actual marriage was what stood out.
From the fact that the groom “went to get” the bride as scripture specifies…or the tradition of “hand-fasting” during the vows. Each aspect of the wedding was thought out for a purpose. Then, at one point, the one officiating the ceremony asked all who were married or had been married to stand up. He pointed to them as examples and as resources this sweet young couple could go to for encouragmeent and guidance.
Now, if you know me, you know I have plenty of thoughts on marriage, even if I’ve never been married. I’ve seen many of my friends and both of my sisters marry. Likewise, I’ve witnessed a sister and friends who have lost a spouse. I’ve also seen marriages “lose the glue” and not be able to reconnect before ending the union. Here’s what I’ve learned from my observations….
- Laugh. Life is serious. There will be lots of big serious moments in your journey together, but never lose the laughter. Don’t let the hard times steal your joy of being together. Now, knowing this couple as briefly as I have, I am quite certain that laughter will be plenty.
- Accept the sad times. Don’t run away from them or ignore them. Experience them. Lean on each other, lean on your families (these two are quite blessed in this area), and lean on your faith. In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart…He HAS overcome this world. He is the original promise keeper. The trouble will come, but be assured that He will walk through those storms with you.
There is a time for everything, and a seson for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
- Court each other. Several of the friends who have sadly ended their marriages tended to be the ones who quit “dating”. As much as you relished your time together while you were beginning your relationship, continue to do so. Even when little ones come, don’t lose each other by not setting apart special times for just the two of you. Now this couple will have plenty of aunts, uncles, and grandparents on which to call to watch future little tykes….but if that falls through, I know a teacher who makes funny voices who will be happy to be a pseudo-aunt.
- Say “I love you”. Again, the couples I witnessed who didn’t make it….I can’t recall ever hearing those words come out of their mouths directed towards each other. Obviously, they may have said it in the privacy of their house, but say it….whether it’s just the two of you, with your families, or with friends. Say it.“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends….When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:4-13
- Finally, climb the triangle. Many moons ago, I was in college….think early 90s. In my Family Relationships class, I remember a picture lesson the professor drew on the board. At the top of the triangle was Christ and the bottom vertices were the bride and groom. She said, “This is where you begin in your marriage. Look closely and as each of you grow closer in your personal relationship with Christ…the closer you will also be growing to each other.” So, grow in your faith so that you will also grow in your love.
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
That’s it. I mean, I’m single. Beyond these observations, I can’t really offer much. Learn to eat the favorite foods of your spouse even if it’s not your favorite now. Remember to celebrate anniversaries, events, and even little things. Oh, and if the glue starts discconnecting, seek help…whether the counseling comes from godly parents or Christian counselors….your love and life together is worth fighting for, so don’t give up….You’ve got each other and He’s got you both, so you can do this!
“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 24-25