FOR JOSHUA AND EMILY
By Tom Moore
Joshua you are about to marry a wonderful young lady. My most earnest desire for you is that both of you have as wonderful of a marriage as your mom and I have had over these last 33 years. Here is some advice and thoughts from your 55 year old father.
Communication is a must in a happy marriage, and married couples must communicate in word. The story is told about a couple who have been married for many years. When they first married, the husband told his wife he loved her. Years had passed, and she never heard him say that again. After many years she begin to complain somewhat about his not telling her he loved her. He had been faithful and good to her, but she wanted more than that – Finally, he said to her, “Honey, I told you when we were married that I loved you, and if I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”
Did you know that poor communication is the main problem in 86% of all troubled marriages? “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in network of silver” (Pro. 25:11). Always speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) – be loving in your speech. “He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy” (Pro. 28:13) – always be honest and open with one another.
For there to be good communication in a marriage, there must also be good listening. Concerning God’s words, Jesus said, “He that hath ears, let him hear” (Mt. 13:9). The same holds true in marriage. “A fool hath no delight in understanding, But only that his heart may reveal itself” (Pro. 18:2) – Sometimes in a marriage one hears only what they want to hear. Listen carefully and honestly to one another.
Married couples must also communicate in action. One may tell a mate, “I love you,” while not acting like it, which is much worse than being loving and not saying it. “My Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth” (1 Jn. 3:18). “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty” (Pro. 14:23; ESV). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it” (Eph. 5:25). Our Lord’s love was manifested in action – and such is true in a good marriage.
Consideration is a must in a happy marriage. A lack of consideration has contributed to many a broken home. The story is told about a man who was riding his mule down the road, and his wife was walking a few feet behind the mule. Someone saw the situation, and thought he was a little inconsiderate for riding while his wife was walking, and asked him why his wife was not riding. The man replied, “She ain’t got a mule.” This illustrates how inconsiderate some can be to a spouse.
We need to show consideration to our spouse in their physical needs (clothing, food, and medical needs), emotional needs (hugs, thank you, appreciation), sexual needs (keep romance in the marriage, devotion to our mate helps prevent adultery, and thereby keeps the home intact; Heb. 13:4), and most importantly spiritual needs. Spouses must do all in their power to promote a good relationship with the Lord in the family. The spiritual aspect of married life is the glue that holds the rest together. The husband must take the lead in this endeavor (Gen. 18:19).
Contentment is also a must in a happy marriage. This does not mean a couple should not try to strive to improve their economic status or living standard. However, they should be happy and content with each other while bettering their lives together. If one is content and the other is not, this could cause disruption in the home. It seems that in the age of prosperity, some young couples think that they must have as nice a home, car, and clothes in the early years of their marriage, as do couples do who have been married 30 and 40 years. Such an attitude is destructive to a marriage. It has been said, “Blessed is the couple that realizes that if their outgo exceeds their income, the outcome of their upkeep will be their downfall.”
Money troubles have done great harm to many a marriage. We need to be good stewards of our money in marriage. “Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). “According as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pt. 4:10). We must not be covetous in our marriages (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Psalm 10:2 tells us that God abhors the covetous.
Comfort is a must in a happy marriage. Many things bring disappointment within the family (death and disease, disobedient children, loss of personal items, etc.). These disappointments in life cause us to have a great need for comfort. But, God has provided you comfort through His word (Psalm 119:50, 76) and through a Christian companion – your spouse (2 Cor. 1:3-4). No one can give you comfort like your own spouse.
And don’t forget common sense as an important element in a happy marriage. If Christians of character will apply wisdom or good common sense to life, it will lesson family problems. Most family problems would not have even existed if common sense would have been applied early enough. I want to close by sharing with you some information from a wall plaque that I read once. It read: If you get it out – put it up. If you sleep in it – make it up. If you wear it – hang it up.
Joshua and Emily, Carole and I love you deeply, and we know you will have a wonderful marriage in the Lord. If you ever need/want advice from an old loving successful married couple do not hesitate to ask.