5 Things You Need to Know About Marriage

I was 22 and she was 18. We met in March, I took her to her high school prom in May and we were married on December 29, 1976. I wore Wrangler jeans, boots, and a t-shirt every day and she wore fashion clothes. She was Catholic and I was Baptist by upbringing. I lived in a one bedroom apartment and she lived in a five-bedroom house in Country Club. We could not have been more opposite yet we were attracted to each other and it was love at first site. I can assure you that if there was an online dating match service back then, we would not have been remotely close to matching.
We had a Catholic / Baptist wedding held in a Catholic church in front of a priest. The reception had live music and open bar for our friends and family. The Catholics danced the evening away while the Baptists ate. We were married on a Wednesday night right between Christmas and New Year. Who does that? I loved my apartment with all its amenities but she wanted to buy a house. She had a cat before we were married that she brought into the marriage and I was highly allergic to cat dander. I loved her long brunette hair and on our first real date, she showed up with short hair. Why did we get married you may be asking? What did we have in common? How did two opposites ever meet and fall in love?
We decided to not have kids for four years after we married. This would be our time to get to know each other and start our lives together. I worked in a family business and she worked in an upscale Menís Fashion clothes store. Even before we married, she had me out of boots and jeans into silk shirts and Sansabelt slacks and dress shoes. Ugh! We bought a catamaran together and started sailing. We lived close to the beach and sailed every weekend rain or shine. We shared our love for sailing with our family and friends. Our marriage seemed to start out fine!
Over the next couple of years, the arguments grew bigger and louder and more noticeable to others. There were blow outs that when I would come home after work, she would be gone. She moved out and left me a letter about how this was not working. We got back together each time and continued to try, but it was difficult. Marriage is work! Finally, we had a blow out and she moved out again, this time for good. Why could we not be like other couples that argued with the husband sleeping on the couch? This time she started the process for filing for divorce. Yes, the ďDĒ word. It had popped up its ugly head a few times before but we always managed to overcome the situation. This time was different!
I moved to an apartment and struggled getting through each day. I just could not accept the marriage was done. Fortunately for us, a friend of hers suggested we get counseling. I was open to anything that could help, even seeing a priest. He was different that I had imagined. He was a young guy. I donít remember all that he told us that evening and I am sure he used religious talk but all I heard was if we still loved each other, then the ďDĒ word should never come up. He also taught us how to argue. If you are married and you never argue, there may be something wrong. When you get two people living together, you are going to argue. He gave us rules to argue with that we committed to try. She moved in the apartment with me and we began again.
Things improved over the next couple years. We build out first custom home together and did well choosing and picking out colors and lighting. We were even expecting out first child. I thought we had everything we needed. A new home, good jobs, nice cars in the driveway, a sailboat, and a pool table in the den. Our friends all commented that we had it all and were doing very well. Or were we!
She brought a cat into the marriage, which she got rid of for me, and I brought alcoholism into our marriage. I was a heavy drinker before we married and it carried over into the marriage. Drinking was a regular part of my daily routine and more on the weekends. Now that we were faced with being parents to our first child, we had to make some changes in our lives but I did not know what that looked like. She did! Her and a friend down the street started visiting churches on Sundays and when they found one they liked they drug the husbands to the church the following Sunday. It was brutal for me! I had no interest in this at all. The last church we visited was just ok for me. I mean I didnít hate it! The following week a knock came on the door and guess who? It was the pastor and his wife. We invited them in and started our visit. Before we knew it, they were asking us if when we died, would we go to heaven for sure! The next thing I knew, they were praying with us and we gave our lives to Jesus that night; at the same time. Over the next several months, I poured out every bottle / case of beer I had in in the house and never drank a beer again. I was at church every time the doors were open. I could not get enough of Jesus. I discovered we didnít have everything we needed after all.
Here are 5 things about marriage that everyone needs to know. Whether you are married now or getting married soon, learn from our experience. 1) Donít believe the myth that marriage is 50-50. It is by far 100-100 that makes it work. Each of you must give 100 % to the marriage relationship 100% of the time. 2) Know that opposites are attracted to each other and that is not a bad thing. We offset each other with our differences. All these dating sites today are matching people up by likes and dislikes, but that is not fool proof. It does not guarantee a perfect union. 3) Learn how to fight the right way. Learn the rules and make arguing healthy and productive for the marriage. 4) Remove the word divorce from your vocabulary and never bring it up. Donít use it as a crutch or an easy way out. There is no easy way out! Stay with it. 5) Make Jesus the center of your marriage and he will see you through the good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
My wife and I just celebrated 40 years of marriage after all that we have been through. How did we do it? We made Jesus the center of all that we do together. We read his book on marriage and we followed HIS plan. How did Jesus do it? He blessed us with 3 incredible children, a loving family, and hundreds of dear friends that hold us up and support us. I am not a marriage specialist or counselor but Jesus is. If you donít think God can work in your marriage, try reading this scripture every day. ďNow to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within usĒ Ephesians 3.20-21