In just a few short months my wife and I will make it to our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Yes you should crown her for that accomplishment because I can be a bear to live with I’m certain of it! But what’s even more interesting is that in addition to our 20 years of marriage, we started dating when I was a Sophomore in High School. So needless to say, we’ve been together for several years beyond that 20! But how do we do it? How does a couple get past the differences and disagreements and get to a married life that lasts?
Now let me start by saying, I am no expert! As a matter of fact, marriage is just as much give as it is take. I can’t stand it when I hear people in a married relationship say we just need to each give 50% and we’ll make it! Umm – No, you won’t! Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It’s a 100/100 lifestyle!
You can’t just come half way and expect your spouse to come the other 50% of the way. It just doesn’t work like that. There are days when that will work, but more often than not that will fail you. You’ll have a bad day and only be able to go 25% in your relationship. Or your spouse will be empty from caring for the kids or dealing with trouble at work and you’ll need to pick up a little extra weight. Marriage is definitely an all or nothing kind of thing. If you’re not giving it your all, then it’s almost as if you’re giving it nothing!
So how do we make it? How have we lasted the nearly 20 years of marriage and nearly 30 years of togetherness? It’s kind of simple and kind of complicated, but let’s give this a shot. Love in our world is talked bout like it’s an emotion. When people see love as an emotion, it can be felt or not. It can be here and then gone. It can work one day and not the next. We can fall into it and fall out of it. If that’s what your love life is, then you’re in for a rude awakening! Because you will fall out of it just as easily, but more painfully than you fell into it!
Love isn’t an emotion. It’s a decision. Love is an act of the will. You don’t fall into it. That’ lust. You don’t fall out of it. That’s lazy! Love is work. Somedays it’s hard work. Others it’s the easiest thing you’ve ever had to do. But love is work. You choose to love your spouse through good times and bad. How do we make it? We choose to. We choose to bury our will for the sake of the other. We choose to walk away before we say something stupid (ok that’s me more than her). We choose to give in to their will before pursuing our own. Love is a choice but the more you make that choice, the more that choice to love feeds the emotion.
When love is a decision, you can love when you don’t feel loved. When love is a decision, you can love even when it’s the hardest thing you’ve done. When love is more than just an emotion, your love will be able to stand even some of the greatest disappointments and challenges.
Today, no matter what your relationship looks like, choose love. Make the decision to put your spouse before yourself. Love wins. It always wins, that’s why marriage is a lifelong union of a man and a woman – because love always wins when it’s given the chance to win. Choose love!