The one thing that I am learning as I progress through my life is, how much noise and opinion there is in my world and how this often holds me back from trusting my instincts and moving forward.
My gut has always told me that the health of your marriage matters the most as you reach each anniversary and more than the number of years accumulated.
What is the point of reaching each anniversary when the level of intimacy in of your marriage is lukewarm and the atmosphere is tense?
What is the point of accumulating years when you aren’t excited to see your spouse and would rather spend time with other people complaining?
The health of marriage is not measured in the setting of abundant finances and when the children are progressing well or there is an easy balance of life and work.
The health of a marriage is measured by how a husband and wife respond to each other and how well the they band together as they counter the stormy seas of life and are being buffeted and blown by the winds of change and adversity.
How do you respond?
Looking at how we respond to adversity and our attitude, is an important indicator of the health of our marriages and the foundations that we have built our relationship on.
How do you both respond to these common tests?
“The kids are misbehaving” Are you working it out together?
“We need to reign in our spending” Are you making and following a budget together?
“I don’t feel like we don’t spend any time together” Are you looking at your schedules and planning a date?
“Why do we keep having the same fight?” Have you forgiven each other or making plans to see someone together?
I’ve listed these common tests as areas that I’ve personally struggled with and continue to work on together with my wife.
The Healthy Marriage
The healthy marriage is like a house built on a foundation of solid rock that cannot be moved by heavy rain, floods or wind.
It is built on foundational truths that serve to protect your marriage from intruders such as excessive work and life demands, addictions, wayward people and unforgiveness.
These foundations are:
For my wife and I and many believers: A foundational love and relationship with God first over everything else.
Foundational love and respect for each other.
Foundational honour and living a life of integrity (who are you behind closed doors?)
A foundational attitude of “sorting out your own issues” (working on your bad attitudes and behaviour NOT your spouses)
And one of the greatest foundations of all: Forgiveness
These are aspects of our marriage that I working out every day and continue to improve upon, sadly after messing up and disappointing my wife on numerous occasions.
We’ve learnt to work as an awesome team, unfortunately again after correcting my selfish attitude that I had for many years.
We have been blown and tossed around by adversity and change but one thing has remained, our absolute commitment to forgive each other when we’ve messed up and willingness to receive help.
The Health Check
For me each anniversary serves as a health check on our marriage.
Is it easy to approach my wife and hug her? (physical intimacy)
What are we still fighting about that we haven’t resolved? (unforgiveness)
Is she thriving, growing and being as creative as God made her to be? (serving and trust)
Am I pulling my weight around the house and giving her my best? (serving)
Are we spending time together despite our busy schedules with three kids under seven? (physical intimacy and friendship)
The way forward
While the number of years of marriage should be commended on your anniversary as it signifies a wealth of experience, it is the health of your marriage that should be celebrated, as your reflect upon your journey and the fertile ground for future growth.
Today the countenance on my wife’s face was pleasant and peaceful and our health check was favourable, praise God!
It happens to our thirteenth wedding anniversary.
Happy Anniversary Smokey, I love you!
Jonathan Ramachenderan @thehealthyGP
Feature image by Ben Rosett