Even after 35 years of marriage, I feel that Tim and I are still working to make this friendship, our marriage, even better. Although we have been together for a long time, we are still learning and growing on this journey. While we are not perfect, I do think we are happy. Here are 5 things that we know about marriage:
- Being friends is a good place to start.
On our first date, Tim and I discovered that we highly valued friendships. We were invested in several friends. We valued quality friendship. We worked on friendship. In my estimation, marriage should be the ultimate friendship. Think of what makes an excellent friendship? Togetherness. Common goals. Making plans. Making memories. Loyalty. Sharing dreams. Being vunerable. Celebrating each other’s successes.
2. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Tim and I have worked together in our professional lives, as parents and as spouses. What does it look like to create a successful team? I believe it means asking what the other team member needs and prioritizing their needs. For me that means asking Tim at the beginning of most days, “What do you need me to do for you today?” I listen. I do those things promptly. Part of this is that I want to be reliable. Doing it promptly makes it more likely that I will not forget what he is asking. A healthy team member responds with intuition to the needs of the other team mate. I think this means that I am aware of what needs to be done before I am asked. Teamwork means pulling my load. When you have a healthy team, all members are doing all they can to help the team to be successful.
3. Intimacy with intentionality.
So much can be said on this point. So often it is hard to encourage couples to be pure in their dating relationship, but when they are married they often have to be coaxed to be more intimate. This is the enemy’s way of sabotaging the gift God has for us in intimacy in our marriages. Consistency and growth in this area are key components to a mature relationship. A healthy marriage is always improving in this area.
4. Loyalty in word and deed.
While this seems to be unnecessary to say, it is actually very important to emphasis. Loyalty means not talking about your spouse in unkind or demeaning ways in front of them or behind their back. If there is a problem that seems to be at an impasse, it might be wise to go to a counselor for help. Talking to those in your community and family in a negative way about your spouse will only damage the home you are trying to build. Those on your side will always hold the offense against your spouse long after you have forgiven him or her. Loyalty in deed invites the idea of acting in a protective, got-your-back kind of way regarding your spouse. Be on your spouse’s side. Be sure they know you are for them.
5. Dreaming and scheming makes ideas reality.
Dreaming is just fun. It is important to make plans for the future of your marriage and your family. When Tim and I think of dreams, it begins the planning phase of ensuring that things happen. In our relationship we dream up things such a homes that we have built together, trips we want to take, children that we hope to have, life experiences that we desire and even parties that we would like to throw. Then we scheme. This involves sorting out the details of making it work. Collecting information and methodically doing what needs to be done is key to see the realization of dreams. Some of the dreams that have come true for us in our marriage are having five children, homeschooling these children, seeing them to adulthood with paid for education and a vehicle, building two houses together, planning and then enjoying numerous large vacations, hosting so many parties and dinner in our home, creating this blog and our podcast together, singing together, completing numerous photography and story telling projects and more.
GK Chesterton ( in the book of essays called “ The Common Man” ) wrote that Samuel Johnson could walk into a heart without knocking. This is a beautiful metaphor. To be so comfortable with another human being is one of the greatest gifts of living.
I think that my relationship with Tim is one that he can walk into my heart without knocking. I know he reads me well. He knows me well. I think I know him well. I know what we are always working on knowing each other better.
Obviously, we do not always agree. We have to negotiate, compromise and forgive.
While we do not have the perfect marriage, we do have a good one. I can honestly say that I am happier with Tim now as a husband than I have been in the whole time we have been married. That may seem strange to say, but I think it is because we have history. I trust him with my heart. I know he trusts me with his heart.
Our values are similar. As Christ followers we love to grab our coffee and read the Bible in the morning together before the start of our day. We attend church together. We sing in the choir together. We have taught at church together to children, teens and adults. We share our life story with others so that they might be inspired to have a relationship with God himself.
Being ridiculously happy in marriage is not being unreasonable, but reasonable filled with well being and contentment. It is the embracing of your everyday for your future.
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