Yesterday was our 23rd wedding anniversary. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend reminiscing about our wedding day and looking at pictures of the events that took place in 1991. Looking back we concluded that getting married was easy. Staying married is the hard part.

We have an uncommonly good relationship and we are truly best friends! We prefer to be together and to do the mundane things in life side by side. Even so, staying married is hard.

There are wicked forces at work in this world that want to tear good marriages apart. You don’t even have to search hard to find out what they are. Predatory men and women who don’t care if you are wearing a wedding ring will gladly attempt to break up a marriage if given the slightest encouragement. Television and movies that glorify immoral lifestyles are normal. The roles of men and women in marriage have been twisted and perverted, confusing both sexes as to what is right and honorable and good. Pornography, drugs, alcohol, job and financial problems are becoming common stressers in marriages.

Staying married requires diligence. It demands nurturing and time in order to continue to grow together as a couple. If one or both of you stops investing in your marriage, in time it will fail.

Be sure to establish a date night. If you don’t have a regular date night, get one. You and your spouse need that private time away from the house, the kids and the routine of life to focus just on each other. Here is a very important reminder: leave the electronics in your pocket. Date night is a time for you to engage in each other’s lives, not bury your face in your iphone or tablet. It is sad to see couples out for the evening sitting with their faces pressed against the screen, completely ignoring one another.

Practice communication. If you don’t know how to effectively communicate with your spouse, you had better learn how. Be an active and engaged listener when you are being spoken to, and show you are interested in the conversation.

Physically touch as often as you can in every way that you can. Those times of connectivity both public and private are precious. Hugging, kissing, and physical intimacy are a critically important part of your marriage. I am deeply saddened at the number of Christian marriages that are void of sexual intimacy. God did not design us to live in marriage that way.

Continue to laugh and dream together. My husband and I delight in each other’s humor and to this day he is still the only one who can make me smile just by walking into the room. We have dreams for the future- big dreams. We plan to serve together in ministry, build a little home on the side of a Colorado mountain, and rock the grand babies in our laps.

To quote that lovely old song, we’ve only just begun.