I’ve been married since 2007. I know that there are MANY people out there that dwarf the length of our union (including my parents who have been married 43 now), and I am NOT an expert, in any way. Gaby and I have a very good marriage, but we continue to look for ways to be better. The strength of our marriage is a testament to our faith, our family’s support, and our own desire to create a NEW, better “branch” in our family.
Is there divorce or abuse in your bloodline? That doesn’t have to be you. Do you not have a good example of how to be a good Dad, a good husband, wife, or Mother? You may need to look outside of your family, but there are great examples everywhere. I told Gaby a long time ago that I didn’t mind at all waiting till I was in my mid-30s to find her and fall in love. I’ve always planned on getting married just once, and I was happy to wait for her!
I have NO INTENTION of getting divorced – ever – and I’m certainly not to proud to ask for advice of others. I have sought advice from my father, some friends that have been married longer than I, and numerous people in our church. Gaby and I went through pre-marital counseling with BOTH Rich and Mike from our church, and we received some very inspiring guidance from each of them. Today, here are some of the keys I have come up with for my own marriage:
- ALWAYS show one another mutual love and respect. Rich took us through a book of the same title, and it’s one of those that I read at least once a year (I need the reminders). The author states that for many women, their primary desire is to be shown love by their husbands, and for us men we most want to know that we have and see the respect coming from our wives. Gaby and I have worked diligently throughout our marriage to keep those things in mind.
- Guard your heart. Affairs are so common in our country, and it breaks my heart. Gaby and I closely monitor and limit our one-on-one relationships with the opposite sex. Like Mike said again this past weekend at church, I will not ride in a car alone with a woman. Those private times are just too dangerous; connections could form, and my lustful mind may begin to fantasize about other woman. My wife deserves better than that, so I simply won’t allow myself to be put in that situation.
- Continual self-improvement. My father is my biggest hero in this area. He is such a different man today than the one that I grew up with, and I continue to hope and pray that I will likewise continue to “get better” as I get older. Gaby and I are each reading books throughout the year on faith, relationships, and other self-help areas. We are each committed to becoming more of the couple, and more of the individuals that God has called us to be.
- Pray together, worship together. “What God has joined, let no man tear apart”. We take that pretty seriously. We praise Him for bringing us together, and we recognize that we need His help to make it through this journey. We continually lift the other up in prayer as individuals, and we pray and read from the Word together often. We are blessed to be part of a wonderful church with some very talented speakers. But the highlight of my Sunday is always singing and worshiping alongside my wife.
I don’t have all the answers, and even as I write this I can think of so many areas where I need to improve. But I’m working on it, and in the years ahead I am committed to growing closer to my wife, touching her soul, and living out our days here on earth in bliss!