Brad & Heidi the week it “began”!
Do you remember when you and your spouse first kissed? Last week we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first kiss. In fact, the picture above was taken on that very weekend during our early teenage days. We still remember that first kiss!
Whether your relationship started in your teens like ours or later in life, there are great benefits to building an enduring love. In the famous “love” chapter of the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote that “love…endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT). Here are seven benefits to having an enduring love with your spouse:
Brad and Heidi celebrating their 2017 wedding anniversary at a Boney James jazz concert
We love to celebrate and we make it a priority in our marriage to celebrate each other. The most important celebration is our anniversary and while we don’t go “all-out” each year, we make sure it’s a special day.
What amazes us is how many couples we meet who don’t celebrate their anniversary. When we ask them why we get a variety of answers:
Greet one another with a holy kiss. Romans 16:16
We love to kiss. Whether it’s a quick kiss in public or a long passionate kiss in private, kissing is important to a healthy marriage. The bride said to her lover in the Song of Solomon, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…” (Song of Solomon 1:2).
Sadly, according to a study sponsored by the British Health Foundation, 20% of married couples kiss only once a week! And 40% of those couples only kiss for 5 seconds. And only 5% of those couples aged 45 and up kiss on average four times a day.
LETS RESOLVE TO KISS OUR SPOUSE A WHOLE LOT MORE OFTEN!
“Be kind and compassionate to one another….” Ephesians 4:32
Kindness and compassion are often desired and forgotten in the dailyness of marriage. Life gets busy. We may answer our spouse sharply. We don’t have the time or patience for their burdens because we have enough of our own. “Just pull it together and keep moving!” is what our attitude expresses. Instead of building our marriage in little ways each day, we slowly dismantle the relationship we’re to cherish the most.
Couple Working in Homeless Shelter — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
“…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
We are introducing a new angle of motivation for most couples in their marriage. One of the roles each person has is to encourage their spouse to become the best person they possibly can be. This can take many forms including professionally, parentally, and spiritually.
The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible gives another approach to encourage people to be their best. He writes, “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24).
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7
Acceptance in marriage is a key to feeling relationally safe. When we learn to communicate acceptance of our spouse we create an environment where understanding can flourish.
But acceptance can be hard. Unless this is learned early in a relationship, we can allow negativity toward our spouse to accumulate. We end up consciously and subconsciously conveying a message of rejection. Criticism becomes the norm. Defensiveness flares up quickly. Tempers can be short. Misunderstandings are frequent.
“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10b
Over the past two years we’ve had the privilege of speaking for the Christian Law Enforcement Fellowship of San Diego’s marriage retreat. We love these men and women. We are so thankful for the sacrifice that these officers and their families make for their community’s protection. Being with them has given us an even greater respect for what these officers lay on the line every day.
Whenever we are in the presence of people who are in law-enforcement—at home or when traveling—we make it a point to try and tell them that we appreciate their work and service. It is our effort to honor these men and women.
“…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34b-35
We wish that we could report that we always feel loving toward one another. After all, we have a ministry called “Build Your Marriage.” But the truth is, sometimes sin and selfishness creep in. We can get under each other’s skin. And while we are committed to and love each other, we don’t always feel loving.
It’s at moments like that when the Holy Spirit reminds us afresh of Jesus’ words about loving each other as he has loved us. Our faith in Christ has to work at home and in our marriage first.