Tomorrow I celebrate 22 years of marriage with the love of my life.  I could not imagine my life without my husband. Yes, we have surely had our trials and sorrows over the years…perhaps more than others.  What allows a marriage to weather incredible storms?

It begins when you realize that marriage is an act of love where you vow to meet the needs of your spouse for life. It is not a 50/50 relationship, but one that demands 100% from both husband and wife according to God’s design. It is a sacrificial relationship where you are living the One Another’s of Scripture daily, putting your own desires and needs on the back burner for the sake of loving your spouse. Marriage is hard work and this is rarely taught! No wonder I get teary eyed young women in my office wondering if they made a mistake!

Biblical love is costly! It demands giving of yourself, time, interests, and takes consideration, creativity, and thoughtfulness.  It requires forgiveness and forbearance and a determination to follow the example of Christ in both of those areas. Biblical love focuses on you seeking the welfare of your loving husband before your own.

This completely denies the worlds view of love, which is all hearts and flowers. The worlds perspective of love is nearly all self-oriented. It centers around having my perceived and felt needs met constantly, no matter what the cost to your spouse. It is all about me.  This sort of love bears no good fruit for the tree of life has roots that are sunk deep in idolatry of self.

Biblical love also flies in the face of the belief that love “just happens” and that once you are married the hard part is over. On the contrary! You will spend a lifetime learning your husband, and every time you think you have him all figured out he will surprise you with something new.

Your life with him can remain an adventure even in the midst of the daily grind. Be involved in his life, daily! Many men who have extra marital affairs cite as one of the reasons they stray is because the new woman listens to them, and expresses an interest in knowing him. Guard your marriage, protect it as a cherished jewel.  Protect your husband from predatory women who desire to steal his affections.

I once heard a pastor say, “what you win them with you keep them with.” If you won your husband with your creativity and zest for life don’t quit just because you have him safe and secure in your life. If you listened to him spout details of his work day before you married, don’t shush him up now! Whatever he saw in you that caused him to be attracted to you should not disappear after the honeymoon.

Keep loving him, keep serving him and your feelings of deepening love will follow your actions of love. These are but a few of the ingredients for a successful and joyful marriage!

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my always and forever love. May God graciously grant us many more years together.