“I feel like a foreigner in this country without you.”
I had only been away from home for a few days when my husband wrote these words to me.
It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, if we are not together we feel just a wee bit ‘adrift’ as individuals. He feels ‘alone’ when I am gone; I feel ‘astray’ when I am not with him. Marriage will do that to a couple.
We are celebrating 29 years of marriage this year.
Years filled with love, misunderstandings, laughter, tears, and heartache. Years filled with raising three daughters, and in the process learning about God as a Father, and His Father’s heart for us.
Years when the following held so much truth in our lives:
“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” —Khalil Gibran
We have learned the value of the wedding vows we made to each other—especially that bit about ‘in sickness and in health’ when my husband faced an illness that has a 20% mortality rate. The other bit about ‘till death do us part’ was touch and go a few times in the beginning years of our marriage as we contemplated divorce.
Twenty-nine years ago we made a vow before God, and to each other, and the only reason we have been able to keep those vows is that from the day we were married, we started to safeguard our marriage by incorporating the following into our lives:
#1 — We read and study the Bible on a daily basis. Through the scriptures, we have learned how to love.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
#2 — We spend time in prayer and meditation—not just in the morning and evening but we make it a habit to speak to God at all times. One learns to get over arguments far quicker on one’s knees.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people”…and for your marriage. (Ephesians 6:18)
#3 — We worship and praise God. Praise and worship are acts of faith and God always honors our faith in Him.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
#4 — We meet together with other believers on a regular basis. These believers have become our family.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)
#5 — We read about and study the lives of Godly men and women. We can learn many valuable life lessons by studying the experiences of others.
“Write down all these things I am going to do, says the Lord, and seal them up for the future. Entrust them to some godly man to pass on down to godly men of future generations.” (Isaiah 8:16)
#6 — We take time to be still together. We take time to be alone together, in stillness.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm46:10)
Through these safeguards in our marriage, God’s word has taken root in our lives and became a reality: “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” —Colossians 2:7
“True love stands by each other’s side on good days and stands closer on bad days.” —Unknown