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:
Many years ago Brad was talking with a woman who said that when she grew up she didn’t have anything. As a result, she decided not to deny her boys whatever they wanted. She was quite at peace with having over $80,000 on credit cards so that her boys could be indulged! We shudder to think about how those boys turned out and the survivability of her marriage.
Money. It’s the number one issue that couples argue about. In 2009 Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University released his study of 2,800 couples which found that couples who disagreed about finance once a week were 30% more likely to get divorced than those who disagreed less frequently. So how can we reduce the tension and build agreement when it comes to money matters?
What do these words have in common: portfolio, friends, title, power, possessions, celebrities, armies, weapons, the judicial system, and politics? They are all places where people put their trust. In nearly 30 years of ministry we have seen individuals and couples place their faith and confidence in varying degrees in these areas.
As a couple, when things get hard in your marriage or life, where do you turn for advice? Where do you get your strength and confidence? Where do you place your trust?
Brad & Heidi on a recent getaway
Recently we were able to get away for a few days on a vacation. It wasn’t long, but it was refreshing individually and maritally. Throughout our marriage we have worked hard to inject time alone into the rhythm of our relationship to connect.
Are you two feeling disconnected? Are life’s responsibilities crowding out the time to be together that you desire? Then it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re living life and place a high priority on how you build your marriage.
In the Bible, the Gospel of Mark describes a season of intensive ministry for the disciples. The needs and demands of people were huge “because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat….” (Mark 6:31a)
That’s not unlike how life can be for us today, is it?
In the history of the couples with whom we’ve worked, and in our own marriage, the health and vitality of the marital relationship rises and falls on how central this one perspective is in a couple’s marriage. It comes from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. In fact, it’s really the overarching theme of the entire book on wisdom. Here’s the verse that we believe carries the key to what matters most in marriage:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge….” (Proverbs 1:7a)
Stick with us for a moment. “Fear” in this context doesn’t mean cowering and afraid. In the original language (Hebrew) it can also mean a reverential awe and respect.
Let’s take that verse and contextualize it for marriage: “When the two of you live with a reverent awe of God and align your relationship under His complete leadership, you will have insight into your relationship, wisdom in your priorities, and unity in your values.” Quite simply, staying centered means keeping your relationship with Christ actively central in your marriage.
Have you ever agonized over whether or not to change jobs? How did you process it as a couple?
I (Heidi) work part-time for a small company. Recently I agonized over whether or not to change jobs. An opportunity presented itself and it met many of my qualifications (schedule, pay, commute, etc.). One minute I would be 95% certain to stay in my current job and hours later I would be 95% sure the best thing was to change jobs.
To say this was difficult is an understatement. Brad and I spent hours praying about both opportunities and sought godly counsel from people we trusted. But the godly counsel we sought was conflicting – some people said to stay; others said go. We made pro and con lists. We did everything we knew to do when faced with a tough decision.
What does it take to make each day count in your marriage? It’s easy in the busyness of life to let things slide by, to relegate what matters most to the shadows of our lives and let the tyranny of the urgent rule. After our faith in Jesus Christ, what matters most is the health of our marriage.
Funerals have a way of reminding us that the number of our days is limited. They re-clarify what really matters in life. Last weekend was the service for Brad’s aunt. She was a godly woman who served Jesus for over 35 years in Korea teaching music at Seoul Theological University. She never married, but she had hundreds of students who called her “mom” and mourned deeply over her passing.
As we reflected on a life well-lived, we thought of four things that should be part of every couple’s day—four things to make each day count in your marriage. They are: