Being married is an adventure. Let’s face it; we each bring habits and expectations into a marriage. None of us is perfect. I know I fall short as a husband; all men do. Just as every woman fails to be a perfect wife.
The words, “’Til death do us part,” join us with a partner who has his or her own preconceived ideas of what a marriage is supposed to be like. Inevitably, we don’t meet each other’s expectations. We are each faced with the need to confront our own immaturity, weaknesses, and selfishness because marriage has a way of revealing what was previously hidden or suppressed.
When I dreamed of being married, I pictured myself as a man who would be strong, loving, affectionate, and kind. I was already a pastor. At the age of twenty-nine, I was used to having my own space and my own way of doing things. Suddenly, I was faced with being the leader in a home with a very strong woman who had ideas of her own. I also was charged with being a covering to a wife whose tenderness and vulnerability went far deeper than her confident exterior revealed.
He transforms the broken pieces of our lives into a union with purpose and hope. That’s what He did in our marriage. Over and over again, I have been amazed at how God has used our story to bring healing to other couples.
As Sue and I talked about the writing 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage, we debated whether we should co-write it. After Sue’s book, 9 Traits of a Life- Giving Mom, had so much success, we both agreed that Sue would write this book on marriage and I would be her coach, confidante, and support.
Having quite a collection of great marriage books, we realized that most of the books have been penned by the husband with the support of the wife. As such, this book offers a fresh perspective on the characteristics of a life-giving marriage. You’ll notice that Sue’s writing style may be more vulnerable and transparent than you are used to; she writes from the heart. And we both hope that what you read in the pages that follow will strengthen and encourage you in your desire to be a better husband or wife.
We do not feel called to present ourselves as experts. Our desire is to walk alongside you, honestly and transparently, in this journey of marriage. The One we look to as the main expert on marriage was never married, yet He speaks of the church being His imperfect bride. His name is Jesus Christ.
Are there things about Sue that I would like to change? Yes, of course. If I were writing 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage, would I choose to describe the circumstances of our marriage differently? Yes, I would. A husband’s perspective will always be different from that of his wife, just as every human being sees life from a unique vantage point.
1. Make Marriage an Adventure by Walking Closely with God
Throughout my marriage to Sue, I have learned that the greatest thing I can do to be a better husband is to walk more closely and intimately with God. In relationship with God I find strength, wisdom, insight, boldness, courage, and power to lead my home with honor and integrity. It’s a great exchange. I give Jesus my imperfectness, and He gives me His Holy Spirit as a guide, comforter, and encourager.
2. Make Marriage an Adventure by Being Transformed
With confidence in the transformative power of God, I know He is able to lift you out of the lowest pit and encourage and empower you. God is the One who brings life, even out of death. In Him, we have the opportunity to diffuse all work of the enemy and embrace the creative work of God. The Marriage Adventure begins with transformation. God uses marriage to rub off our rough edges and make us more like Him.
3. Make Marriage an Adventure by Sticking with It
In the middle of every adventure is the scary middle. It’s the time in your life that you feel stuck and you want to quit. In the middle of everything work fighting for is the tough stuff. I hope as you read our story it will encourage you to keep going and not give up.
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