The Beginners Guide To A Life Long Marriage

Fifty years ago 80% of 25-34 year olds were married, but by 2009 that number had dwindled to an all time low of 45%.  Stephanie Coontz, Ph.D., and director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Miami said, “Contradictory numbers like these show us two things.  One is that we have higher expectations of marriage than ever before. We want it to be fairer and more loving.  People also understand that marriage isn’t the only game in town anymore, and they’re accepting other kinds of relationships.”

What Ms. Coontz is saying is that from her research we’re not getting married because:

One, we expect too much.  He has to have a certain job, car, or bank account.  Or even more ridiculous, , he better not have a funny laugh, sweaty hands, or a middle toe that’s longer than his big toe.

Remember the “Seinfeld” TV series that aired from 1989 to 1998?  In nearly every episode Jerry, Elaine, George, or Cramer would find a great date or possible mate and then discover some tiny defect.  “She’d make a perfect wife, but…”

Second, we now live in a distracted culture where it’s easier to discard anything that’s hard, messy, or gets old and stinky. Toss out the old one and buy a new one.  It’s much easier to go to a club and find a temporary love because next month there might be someone better coming along. Many 20 and 30 year olds are choosing high paying jobs rather than meaningful relationships. They know a partner takes work and that would split their focus and time.  As children they were often victims of divorce and saw they couldn’t have everything.  As a result, these Millennials are choosing not to marry at all.  They’d rather buy a dog or cat instead.

So what exactly does a committed relationship look like? How do we make it last?   

I believe it is ultimately based on trust and forgiveness – trusting the person you are committed to and forgiving their imperfections and failures.

Think of trust as unbroken boundless confidence and building a relationship of trust equity.  It starts with you and God and your trust relationship with Him.  Do you have unbroken boundless confidence in Him, and are you building trust equity in that relationship?   The commitment starts with daily meditation, prayer, and pondering His Word.  If you desire a serious relationship with a special someone, then start by first getting a serious relationship with God.  Matthew 6:33 says  Seek the kingdom first…then all will be added to you.

Lastly, learn how to forgive… and forget.  

God teaches us how to trust, forgive and love again.  Life sometimes stinks and is full of disappointments, hardships, and heartaches. I am human and doomed to failure, but Christ has forgiven me. His grace is sufficient for all so that His power can be made known in my weakness (II Cor. 12:9.)  He wants us to always be in the position of depending on Him for everything.  One of the most important lessons I learned when I found myself deeply in love with my husband, Phil, was that I had to stop depending on him for my happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.  He’s a great guy, but he’s also human, which means sometimes he’s going to disappoint me.

Your trust, fulfillment, and first pure love has to be for Jesus.  He’s the only perfect man to walk the earth.  As a result, learning to seek perfection in the right place, was the beginning of a life-long marriage.