Archives For Stay Married A Long Time

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Before reading this post make sure you have read the first four parts at THIS LINK.

#3 Be A Giver. Did you know that in God’s economy that giving is the key to blessings in every area of life? Why is giving so important to God? Because, my dear friend we are by nature very selfish.  So God established an economy of giving.

I’m not talking just about money. I’m talking about life. Look at what Jesus said on the subject of giving.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-38 NIV

The point of Luke 6:37 and 38 is that God blesses us when we give and in order to be givers we must overcome our self. Why? Because we are selfish.

Let’s narrow it down a bit. YOU ARE SELFISH! I’m not trying to offend you. I just want to make sure that we are looking into a normal mirror. Not one that messes with reality.

By our very nature we are going to look out for self first. This is the very reason why so many marriages fail, because people are selfish. Why do people leave the person they made a life long commitment to?

They stand in front of a pastor and make a covenant to be true to the other person; For better and worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death we part.

  • I’m leaving you because I’m not having fun in life. SELFISH.
  • I’m leaving you because you’re not paying enough attention to ME! SELFISH.
    • Note: We should be giving our spouses our attention. However sometimes your spouse might fail at it. It’s no reason for divorce.
    • I’m leaving you because I don’t like you anymore. SELFISH
    • I’m leaving you because you’re fat. SELFISH
    • I’m leaving you because you’re not romantic enough. SELFISH
    • I’m leaving you because I’m not getting enough sex. SELFISH

Should I go on? The bullet list you just read could be pages long. Most of the reasons why people end marriages are absurd. That’s right, ABSURD. Why are people so absurd? Because they are so stinking selfish.

Giving is the key. Give of yourself. Give of your time, energy and passions. Do what you don’t want to do.  Men, go to a chick flick with your wife. It’s not the movie you want to see but she does. Give her that movie with your presence.  Ladies try watching the ballgame with your husband. Give!

I could write a book on the subject of giving in marriage. Then I would need to read the book because quite honestly I have not mastered the subject of giving when it comes to marriage.  Felicia and I have been married for thirty-three years. She’s still working on me and I’ m still working on myself.

Marriage is a process of growing and as a husband, wife, individual, Christian, etc., we should never stop growing.

I will end with the greatest example I have ever seen in the subject of giving and marriage, my granddaddy Asa Williams. My granny had seizures and through the years because of the seizures and the medication granny became like a child. Most of my memories are the last quarter of my grandparent’s life.

I watched my granddaddy take care of granny. By the worlds standards he had every right to put her in a nursing home and it would have made his life easier. Until the day my granny died granddaddy cared for her. He took her everywhere he went. If at any hour granny decided she wanted something (like an ice crème cone) granddaddy would help her get dressed, get her to the car (which wasn’t easy) and drive her to get whatever she wanted. He was a giver.

My grandparents were married for over 60 years before granny passed away. When she died it wasn’t in a nursing home with strangers. It was in her house, in her bed with her faithful husband standing at her side.

That’s how marriage is supposed to be.

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If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you go back and read parts 1-3 first.

Again I must make sure that when I say marriage you know what I’m talking about. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

#1 In my last installment I told you that #1 was having a Christian marriage and make sure that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your lives.

#2 Grow Up! Felicia and I married very young (seventeen and nineteen) and had to grow up together. However I’ve seen people get married in the fifties and struggle because of immaturity. Here are some bullet points of immature things that will hinder a marriage.

  • If you always have to have your own way.  If you are a selfish person who must have your own way then DON’T GET MARRIED!  If you can’t give into the desires of another person, even if it’s not what you want to do then DON’T GET MARRIED.  If these traits describe you and you are already married then you have only two choices. Live in a bad marriage or grow up. Some say that marriage is 50/50 but that is seldom the case. If you want your marriage to work. If you want to stay married a long, long time then there will be many days when you are going to have to give it all when your spouse is giving nothing.
  • If you think you know it all.  I hate to tell you this but no one knows everything and any person can learn from any other person. If you spouse doesn’t have the opportunity to have an opinion and be heard your marriage is in trouble because of immaturity.
  • Pouting! Can a person be any more immature than when they are pouting? We all have to process hurt feelings and it may take a few minutes or a couple of hours. If however you think your going to get your way by pouting for days…. GROW UP!

Growing up is hard to do but extremely necessary for a successful marriage. Felicia and I had a rough time those first couple of years just trying to become adults together. Now thirty-three years later we are still in the process. Marriage is always a work in process.  “Until death we do part.”

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If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you go back and read parts one and two of this series first.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of marriage I must tell you that when I use the word marriage I mean one man married to one woman.Based on what I’ve told you in the first two installments of this series you may now be asking the question. How have you stay married for so long?

#1 Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives. I didn’t say we were perfect but I must tell you that the growing up and growing together process would have been much more difficult had it not been for our faith and Christian friends.

Maybe your not into Christianity and you don’t want me pushing my faith on you but you must know, if you are going to read my writings that I am a born again Christian. My whole existence as a person is saturated by and revolves around my relationship with Jesus.

I’m not only a Christian, I just happen to be a pastor. That’s right! For twenty-nine years I have been a Christian preacher. Twenty-Seven of those years I have spent in full time preaching ministry.

I have been preaching/teaching, counseling, coaching, and dealing with people long enough that I am convinced that marriage outside of Christianity is much more difficult. I am so convinced that I have some very strict guidelines that must be met before I will perform a wedding ceremony.

  • The prospective bride and groom must me born again Christians:  That’s right. I will not perform weddings for individuals who are not. I will not perform wedding ceremonies when a Christian is marrying a non-Christian.
  • The prospective bride and groom must be actively involved in a Christian church and attending regularly before they get married.

Felicia and I are very devoted to our God and our service to him. I don’t know for sure but I wonder if we would still be married without our faith.

I’m going to give you all kinds of information and advice in the area of marriage in the post to come. I will not let you forget that it all rest on a foundation of serving Jesus Christ.

Leave me a story about your marriage or ask questions. I’ll do my best to include answers in my next post.

Order a copy of my book The Eye of A Needle Here.

If you haven’t done so, please go back and read part one of this series first. Click here to see part 1.

Felicia and I celebrated our thirty-third anniversary last week and that prompted me to write this blog, How to stay married a long, long time. I don’t think that thirty-three years is a long, long time.  I do however know people whose marriages meet that criteria.

Felicia and I both had grandparents who were married over fifty years before one or the other passed away. Both sets of our parents have celebrated fifty years, and I might as well go ahead and say it, I don’t think that in today’s world thirty-three years is too shabby.

In my last post I told you that the bliss of our dating life lasted about one week into our marriage and then it began. What began? You ask. The process of having to grow up together began and it wasn’t easy.

At seventeen and nineteen, neither one of us had come even close to mature enough to be married. We had different ideas as to what marriage should look like and I must confess to you that even thirty-three years later we still have differences of opinions on that subject.  I have come more and more into her corner in agreeing with her. There is saying and I use it just as a point of humor.  Men, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

In that first year we fought. What did we fight about? EVERYTHING! What happened? That meek, quite little girl who I dated, who never had a different opinion than me suddenly had an opinion and because we are so different it was almost always different from mine and of course I was sure that I was always right. I would also handle her anger by provoking her to even more anger. Doesn’t sound good does it? No! I’m not proud of it. I’m just being painfully honest. Remember I was only nineteen.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Opposites Attract.”  Felicia and I were and are madly in love but we are very opposite in a lot of ways. Over the thirty-three year marriage we have had to learn how to live with with our differences. We are still madly in love. She is my best friend, my life partner and my everything.

You must know that if anything I’ve written to this point puts her in a bad light it isn’t intentional. I would be the first to admit that in marriage she got the raw end of the deal.

Over the next few post I’m going to tell you how we stay stitched together. How we have stayed married for thirty-three years and will stay married until death separates us.

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How to stay married for a long, long, time.  I try to keep my post at 300 to 500 words so that you will come back and read again so,  this subject might take several.

This past week Felicia and I celebrated our thirty-third wedding anniversary. Yes we married young. She was seventeen and about to begin her senior year in High School (and yes she did graduate) and I was nineteen. Two things I want you to know about us getting married so young. Number one, there was no baby on the way. We were married in August of 1979 and our first child was born in November of 1981. Just thought I’d clear the air. Number two; we do not recommend that people marry that young.

Now thirty-three years later I look back on our life together to this point and realize that us staying married was not just luck. So I thought I’d share with you over the next few post some tidbits that we have learned and some of the experiences that we have had along the way and how we handled them or didn’t handle them.

In August of 1979 when we first married so many people told us the same thing; “If you make it through the first year you’ll be ok.” “What did they mean by that”? “Was the first year going to be hard or something”? Questions I asked. How could it be hard? After all we were in love. We couldn’t stand being away from each other. The thought that we would be able to be together all of the time in our own house was just too much to resist.

We had been dating for a couple of years when we married. Our dating life was bliss. I knew I was going to have the most submissive wife in the world because during two years of dating Felicia never challenged or disagreed with me about anything. Not one time!

For years I’ve referred to dating as, “The Big Lie.” It’s the big lie because most people including me put their best foot forward when they are dating and try their best not to show their down sides and we all have them.

The bliss of our dating life crossed over into our married life for about one week and then it began.

I’m going to stop here for this particular post but let me assure you that thirty-three years later we are very happily married with three grown children and a brand new grandson.

What are some of your ideas about how to stay married a long time? Or what are some experiences that you have had that might be helpful to others?

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