Yesterday, my wife and I got to witness a celebration of a marriage that has been thriving for 25 years. I never thought that such a celebration could be more beautiful than a first wedding. Yet, I find it even more beautiful because it was a celebration of a big win. Choosing to stay together, fight together, grow together, raise a family together, and contribute to society together while maintaining the love, respect, and devotion for each other is such an incredibly amazing feat considering the differences that could arise.
I am not saying that I am an expert in love and marriage because the fact is, I am far from one. However, as I go through my own married life and witness the married lives of others, I have extracted these lessons for a marriage to stay afloat and thrive:
- There will always be differences but we can always choose acceptance as the answer. The key to acceptance is understanding that each one has their preferences and uniqueness in character, and that is including yourself.
- There will always be annoying and dislikeable traits but we can always choose tolerance as the answer. We are to grow with our spouses but not forcefully change them to fit the category we like them to be in. As part of acceptance, we have to tolerate all the quirks of our partners.
- There will always be mistakes, both big and small, but we can always choose forgiveness as the answer. Though forgiving can be very difficult, it is a very important act to learn when we want a marriage to work. Our spouses are not perfect and are human therefore mistakes are committed.
- There will always be temptations but we can always choose respect as the answer. We will have the strength and conviction to turn away from temptations when we value the fact that our spouses are our other halves. When we respect them as people, we will never give in to any temptations.
- There will always be trials that bring the feeling of hopelessness but we can always choose commitment as the answer. When we commit to each other, we will stay together even in the hardest of times. There are no problems that could break a fully committed relationship apart.
What is the keyword in all of these lessons? Choose. I believe that for a marriage to work, we have to choose our respective spouses every single moment. Choose to accept. Choose to tolerate. Choose to forgive. Choose to respect. Choose to commit. Choose to love. More importantly, I believe choosing is easier when we have God in our midst.
How about you? What do you think are the best ways to make a marriage last?