GOING STRONG AT 40 YEARS
This past weekend, Deb and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We reflected on many things that we have gone through and happenings over the years. We also rejoiced in that we are “more in love” with each other than before.
Paul David Tripp writes in his outstanding book, “What Did You Expect, Redeeming the Realities of Marriage,” (Crossway, 2010) the following 22 ways that love is to be an action. Deb and I are imperfect examples of each but we can confidently say that we are positive examples of every one of them. If I was to sum up our marriage, it is based upon the grace that has been extended to us by God through Jesus Christ and his love, we have chosen by our wills to be committed to such love.
I share these with you in celebration of my love for Deb and pray there are many other marriages like ours.
- Love is being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of your spouse without impatience or anger.
- Love is actively fighting the temptation to be critical or judgmental toward your spouse while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
- Love is the daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
- Love is being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding, and being more committed to unity and love that you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
- Love is a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
- Love means being willing, when confronted by your spouse, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
- Love is a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer your spouse is increasingly selfless, mature and patient.
- Love is being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged but to look for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
- Love is being a good student of your spouse, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it or encourage them along the way.
- Love means being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the problems that you face as a couple, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
- Love is always being willing to ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when requested.
- Love is recognizing the high value of trust in a marriage and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
- Love is speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack your spouse’s character or assault their intelligence.
- Love is being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt your spouse in giving you what you want or doing it your way.
- Love is being unwilling to ask your spouse to be the source of your identity, meaning and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
- Love is the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be as a husband or wife.
- Love is a commitment to say “no” to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding and active love in your marriage.
- Love is staying faithful to your commitment to treat your spouse with appreciation, respect and grace even in moments when he or she does not seem to deserve it or is unwilling to reciprocate.
- Love is willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of your marriage without asking anything in return or using your sacrifices to place your spouse in your debt.
- Love is being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm your marriage, hurt your husband or wife, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
- Love is refusing to be self-focused or demanding but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, or encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
- Love is daily admitting to yourself, your spouse, and God that you are not able to love this way without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.