A Few Words on Marriage…

White Picket Fence With Trees

During the Christmas holiday, a lovely couple had dinner at our home. They sat together on our library sofa, eating appetizers and laughing. Engaged to be married in less than two weeks, I found them fascinating. Both were over the age of eighty. Each had logged over fifty years of marriage with their respective spouses before death prompted separation. I asked him how he stayed married that long, and if he thought people today were quick to throw in the towel.

“I do think people give up too easily. He shoots a smiling glance at his bride-to-be. “I will tell you a story. There was a time in my life when I hated my wife. I hated everything she did, everything she said—I couldn’t stand her. But I had kids, and I didn’t want to leave them.”

“What did you do?” I perched on the edge of my chair, wide-eyed like the only-been-married-twenty-three-years kid I probably was to him.

“I changed.”

He had my full attention. “Changed how?”

I started treating her different—like I was dating her. Every day. All the time.”

I already loved this guy. “And what happened?”

“She changed. She started treating me different, too—with respect and appreciation—I fell back in love again. The next twenty years were great. The last ten years were wonderful.”

His insightful words resonated with me. For the next few days, I told anyone who would listen about his sage marriage advice, and worked hard to implement it myself.

Gary Thomas in his book, Sacred Marriage, talks about the call to “fall forward” in marriage—that even in our worst moments we must pursue this person, embrace and grow toward them. Marriage presumes giving your all—the gift of self.

If we don’t, we fall back. I pictured someone walking alone on a long pier that juts far into the ocean, then tripping and falling backwards. Injured, unable to get up, he’s stranded. He thinks, “Why did I choose to make this journey alone?”

We who said “I do” aren’t on this journey alone. We’re in it up to our til-death-do-us-part eyeballs. We may as well give it everything we’ve got. And then give it some more.

“When you entered this relationship of marriage, you committed to keep moving toward your spouse. Any step back, any pause, any retreat, is an act of fraud. Learn to move toward the person God has given to you for the purpose of teaching you how to live,” Mr. Thomas said.

In what ways can we choose to fall forward into deeper intimacy with our spouses?

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18 Comments

  1. Ellen CardwellEllen Cardwell03-05-2012

    Susan,

    Your website is so professional! I could spend lots of time here.

    So you’re a Southern belle. I do believe we experienced Southern hospitality at the Christmas party. A close friend of mine who was raised in the south gave me my first exposure to it. I had stopped by her apartment to see her roommate, and though my friend wasn’t in, she asked me if I’d like to come in and have a cup of coffee. And I didn’t even know the woman! It gave me culture shock, because I was raised in San Frarncisco where people go to be anonymous and think speaking with their neighbor means saying hello on the run. By the way, did you know hospitality is considerfed a special grace?

    P.S. The friend mentioned has written a cookbook. Any chance you’ll do the same?

    • SusanSusan03-06-2012

      Thanks, Ellen! So glad you like it!
      Yes, I was born in Kentucky, and raised by very southern parents (KY and NC by birth!). We southerners
      do like to feed people to show them how much we care. haha I have always thought I might do a cookbook some day. We’ll see…………:)

  2. Great post, Susan!

    • SusanSusan03-06-2012

      Be sure to check out the other ones, Beth! Thanks so!

  3. KellieKellie03-07-2012

    you are inspiring. keep writing and sharing your gift with the world

  4. KarleeneKarleene03-11-2012

    Wonderful website! I enjoyed reading it and it is visually appealing as well! Great job!

    • SusanSusan03-13-2012

      Thanks! Miss you, Karlene!

  5. Greg and RuthieGreg and Ruthie03-11-2012

    Four thumbs up cousin !

    • SusanSusan03-13-2012

      Greg and Ruthie: So good to see your names pop up here! You two are
      the kind of couple who inspire this type of article. Blessings to you, sweet cousins!

  6. Gayela PhillipsGayela Phillips03-11-2012

    Wonderful website. Inspiring words. Thank you

  7. Xochi E. DixonXochi E. Dixon03-11-2012

    Fabulous post, sister!

    It would be great to have a share option under each post.

    My husband and I are learning, after 18 years of marriage, to fall forward into deeper intimacy with God and each other. Like your friend, we’re asking God to change us so that we can be more like Him. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are learning to love others, especially one another, in word and deed.

    To love my husband selflessly, I have recently committed to being available whenever he needs me, even if it means altering my previously planned schedule. This may sound trivial, but it affirms that I think he is important.

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom God has blessed you with. I look forward to hearing more from you.

    • SusanSusan03-13-2012

      Wow! That’s huge, Xochi! Kudos for doing that. It will make a difference. 🙂

  8. Joanne KraftJoanne Kraft03-14-2012

    Hi Susan!

    Just saw your author page and LIKED it! I’m “Like #61” yay!

    LOVED this post. So happy to see you on the Internet with a blog. Be faithful to your readers here, and the Lord will bring you more readers than you will be able to count. ;O)

    Blessings friend,

    Joanne

  9. KateKate03-16-2012

    Thank you for sharing such well-written thoughts on such a professional looking website! I can’t wait to read more in the future!

  10. SeabeloSeabelo03-18-2012

    I’m a fan!

  11. Kim AlmasKim Almas06-11-2012

    Sweet story, and such a good reminder 🙂

  12. Tracy CrainTracy Crain09-11-2012

    Hello cousin! Loved this article! Very well written and such a great story. Thanks for sharing. Much love to you all.

  13. Lenore ButhLenore Buth08-13-2013

    Beautiful, Susan, and so true. Thanks!

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