Last week, I started the top ten things MJ and I have learned through thirty years of marriage. The list is not exhaustive nor is it prioritized. We just saved some of the fun stuff for last.
So here’s the final five!!!
5) Learn to apologize/learn to forgive
One of the hardest things in a marriage is to say “I’m sorry”, partly because we like to think that we are right and our spouse is wrong. As MJ and I talked this one over, we came up with a couple of little sayings. “Don’t brew…don’t stew” (thank MJ for this one!). When you have a disagreement, don’t brew about it and stew over it, talk it out. Here’s one for you…”Put on a good brew while your spouse makes the stew and then talk it out and be real!” (blame Don for this one!).
4) Warning: Challenges ahead!
Every marriage will experience bumps and bruises along the journey. Learn to turn potential obstacles into opportunities for marital improvement and growth.
Over the last three years of our mission’s journey, MJ asked God for two things, that He would not remain silent through His Word and that He would provide our needs. There are some specific promises from the Word of God that have become hallmark moments in our walk together. We have watched God meet so many needs over the last three years and have discovered that blessings come in multiple forms, including protection, peace, provision and promise.
3) Learn to laugh and have fun
MJ has taught me to have fun. When we first met, I was “Mr. Serious”. As a matter of fact, some suggested that in my early years, I was a young man in grown man’s shoes (whatever that means!). MJ taught me the value of “loosening up” and learning to laugh.
Africa has taught us to laugh. What else do you do when an electrician comes to your house to do some wiring and asks you if you have any tools?
On the day of our 30th anniversary, we spread some soil and planted grass seed. That evening, we watched as Montreal’s worse storm in five years washed our soil and seed down the street. Than our toilets began to gargle and growl, only to discover that the storm drains backed up and flooded our basement.
You either laugh or cry. We chose to laugh, grab some buckets and clean up the mess! Maybe some reading this blog need to learn to laugh, grab a bucket and clean up your marriage mess!!!!
2) Never stop dating!
Dating before marriage allowed you to get to know your future spouse. Remember how nervous and excited you were at the same time? Why should that stop after marriage? Dating keeps your marriage fresh, and by the way, it does not need to be expensive. A nice walk in the park after throwing a Frisbee does not cost anything. If you read Total Money Makeover, you can use some of your “blow money” to go on an inexpensive date. By the way men, leave your technology at home. You are not going on a date with your phone to check emails and the latest sports scores, you are going on a date with the love of your life. Oh, and look nice for each other. Ladies a little bit of make-up is okay. Men take the ball cap off and show that there is actually something of value underneath. Just a thought!
1) Enjoy the ride!!!!
This past weekend, I captured the above picture of a couple riding a tandem bike. The blue sky reminds me that many couples start their marriage with “blue sky” ideals. Suddenly, they are thrown off the bike when the storm clouds roll in and the heavy downpour causes potholes. Just remember that the power of co-partnership will help you to steer around the bumps and obstacles. Get on the tandem bike and enjoy the ride together!!!
Here’s to healthy marriages!
Until next Monday…
Don & MJ
Taking risks for Kingdom impact!