Ingredients to Marriage Success…

By: Jackie Warner
So, I first have to say that I am not a marriage counselor per say, but I am married. This month my husband and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. Wow! A lot of hard work. Yes, I am still working overtime to get it right!

I think back to the day that we shared our vows and said “I do”! I really did not fully understand the journey I was about to embark upon. Quickly, I realized what a work of patience this really meant. We fast forward 20 years and yes, I think I can share a thing or two in regards to real ingredients for a healthy marriage. I have 20 years in and still don’t have all the answers, but I do know that if you want it to last, you both have to work at it.

It really takes 3 things: Faith in the Lord, you and your spouse. When you and your spouse exercise faith to overcome the woes and more woes that enter into your life, you begin to build strength that binds you and keeps all that junk from taking you away from each other. Marriage is tough; it is hard and rough — so it’s no wonder many just throw in the towel.

I remember choosing my wedding colors, burgundy and cream; picking my wedding invitations; and planning the reception menu. When you are a “young couple to be,” it is easy to get caught up in the planning and preparation for the marriage and not the plan to stay married. After all the wedding cake is gone and the presents are opened, it time to live and thrive together. Well…did you take time to really get to know what that meant to one another? I still find myself asking my husband, “So what does our future look like?”

I feel it is important for us to look at where we are to know where we are going. It is critical to identify possible road blocks, to discuss with each other if there is indecisiveness on either part… You have to talk to one another and not at one another. It is extremely hard because you see this person day in and day out. You see the good, the bad, and the “I-did-not-know-it-was-in-you crazy stuff.” Yes, you know what I mean.

I personally thank my husband for putting up with me these last 20 years. I have given him the best of me and the worst of me. Remember, the “For better or worse” part you vowed to do. The “worse” will come and sometimes stay for a while, so we have to “plan” to love through it all and decide that leaving is not an option.

As I close, I say it again, I am no marriage counselor, but I do attest that it is hard work to have a successful marriage. You both have to want it and then decide to work for it.

1. Trust: Be totally accountable to each other. Trust is earned
2. Talk to each other: Healthy communication is key – verbal and non-verbal
3. Take care of yourself (the physical and mental): Do what you can to look and feel good for yourself and your spouse.
4. Forgiveness: Yes, it will happen; talk about it; be open and real
5. Laugh: Have fun and be intentional about sharing and smiling
6. Support & Encouragement: Support each other in success and failure; know and be there for each other

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
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By: Jackie Warner