All the while contemplating the major question. . .how the heck did we get old enough to be married
for this long?? (Seriously. It was supposed to take much longer than it has.)
We were young and naive and didn't know much.
The only thing we knew is we loved Jesus and each other. And that we were pretty sure that
I've learned some lessons along the way, some the easy way, but most the hard, so I thought I'd pass them along so maybe you don't have to learn them the hard way like me.
1) Forgiveness. You will be doing and asking for it more than you dreamed.
And when you say you forgive, you've really got to do it. Don't keep them dangling on the hook-twisting, wondering if 'this' was the time they'd really be forgiven.
2) Be a grace giver. Everyone wants to receive grace yet so few want to give it.
You're going to get hurt and it may be hard to move past. Let the grace you've been so freely given flow out of you. It will heal you both.
3) Be kind. Yep, that's it. You gotta be nice to each other--even when you're tired and cranky.
3) Laugh. Oh my goodness, life is so stinking hard, you've got to laugh when you can and maybe even when you feel like you can't. Laugh together and often.
4) Have fun (see previous point) Life is hard, find or make the fun as often as you can. And don't ever take it for granted.
5) Little things are really big things.
Folding the towels the correct way, toilet paper replaced on the roll, fill up the car with gas, surprise them with their favorite drink. Little things add up to really big things.
6) Sex. Have it. Lots of it. Have it when you don't always feel like it at first.
It's a gift, enjoy it.
7) The time to let go, isn't in the middle of the storm.
Let's be real. Storms are going to come. Some of them much stronger than others. And let me tell you that if you think we haven't been through some 'stuff' in our 24 years, you'd be Oh So Wrong.
BUT, we've held on. Even when it was hard. Even when we didn't like each other very much.
Because, here's the thing about storms. . .they eventually end. And, typically when they do, they
leave a beautiful rainbow or some refreshed earth. Now, doesn't mean you won't have to clean up some storm damage, but there will be beauty that comes from the storms.
Hunker down and ride it out, it will pass.
Some storms life gives you, others you create for yourself, either way-hold on and don't let go.
8) Allow the other person to grow and change.
I was asked the other day, if Jerry was different from when we were first married.
My reply, "I sure hope so. I hope we both are."
I would hate to think we are still our 20/23 year old selves. Wouldn't that just be a shame if we were?
You're going to change, you're going to grow. That's ok, actually that is great! What a gift to get a front row seat to someone else's life and growth. Be thankful for it.
9) Do not bad mouth each other to other people.
Seriously. Not to your mom, your best friend. Not on Facebook or any where else. That has never once made a person better.
(I'm not talking about needing help. If you need it-FIND IT. Your pastor, a counselor, therapist . . .Go right now.)
10) Love Jesus.
Love him more than each other. Serve him, follow him.
Loving Jesus first has the miraculous ability to help you love others more, even when they aren't worthy, even when they are unloveable.
We aren't perfect and will never claim to be. Our marriage has been one wild ride, complete with drops and twists and sudden jolts and yes a few times even waiting to get the heck off.
We were so young, naive and in some ways foolish, in fact, I had a 'friend' come up to me at our church at the time and look me straight in the face and say 'You know it will never last don't you?'.
You can imagine how that left me feeling.
But, here we are, two older, wiser (?) people still hand in hand.
Nope, not perfect, there have been many slammed doors and silent nights, but there has been more laughter and happy tears than I ever dreamed possible, and I've seen Jesus more through our wild ride than I ever imagined I would.