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I once heard the saying, “Marriage is like a bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” Many married couples can admit to feeling this way, especially when times get rough and the honeymoon period is well and truly over. So, how do they get through these times? On the Woman to Woman show with Maria Rodrigues, married for 28 years and counting, Pastor’s and marriage counsellors Colin and Maureen Francis shared some honest and insightful tips with listeners on how they can navigate and cultivate a long-lasting marriage.
1. Keep God at the centre
How many times have you heard this phrase? Probably more than you’ve had hot meals. Nevertheless, it’s an imperative piece of advice, according to Pastor’s and Marriage Counsellors Maureen and Colin Francis. Keeping God at the centre practically means that you and your spouse should seek His direction and counsel through collective prayer and fasting. Your spouse might be all you need and more, but they can’t be your ‘everything’; they may fall short at times and disappoint you.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
2. Be intentional
Value and respect goes a long way, and they will go even further in your marriage. Remember in the early days when you use to strive to please your spouse? Listen to them, show interest and value their opinion? Maintaining these things is key. Everyone wants to feel respected and valued and this should be reflected in your attitudes towards your other half. See them as God sees them and treat them and love them unconditionally with your words, as well as your actions.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” Luke 6:31
As you would have realised already, marriage is less about “me”, more about “we” and incorporates the big ‘C’ - Compromise. If both partners put the others needs first and happily compromise on both the little and big things, then everybody is happy. Merriam Webster online defines the word adapt as ‘to change your behaviour so that it is easier to live in a particular place or situation’. What does this mean to you? Does it mean joining your partner in a hobby they enjoy? Watching their favourite show with them? Or adapting to their habit of whistling or humming along to television adverts?
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:17,
4. Never stop laughing
Having a sense of humour will take the ‘edge’ off of arguments, lighten awkward moments, relieve pent up emotions and as the Word says serve as medicine to the heart. There’s obviously a season, time and place for everything, but laughter and fun should be present throughout.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Just as God has forgiven us, we must remember to forgive our spouses too. It can be hard when a loved one hurts us or disappoints us, because of our high expectations of them, we don’t expect it. However, in the same way you would like someone to forgive you and move on, that same grace needs to be shown to your spouse if they do you wrong.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
To listen to the full interview go here.