A night to remember…{plus keys for marital success and lasting joy}

The glamour of old Hollywood with memories of Marilyn slipped its arm around us like a long lost friend, and there she was.

Beautiful bride. First born niece all grown up.

In the arms of her handsome brave groom, a former Marine who served multiple tours of duty in the Middle East. Coupled close, they twirled around the dance floor like it was just the two of them. Glitter ball casting a sparkling glow like stars falling softly in a summer sky.

So much love and laughter surrounding as Dearest Husband took me in his arms, and friends and family held their partners close, all of us joining in dance, celebrating this elegant evening.

What a blessing is a wedding!

I remember being a young bride and the magical feeling of being a princess on my big day. And all of us together then, yet not together now.

He and I, who had been high school sweethearts, were on our way. Only our way wasn’t His Way and the marriage ended after three sons and more than a decade of decay.

Decay caused by immaturity, selfishness, pride, wounded child hearts full of anger and fear, and a very disrespectful mouth.

It takes two to make a marriage work, and two to tear it down. Responsibility for either a good or bad relationship rests with both parties involved. Yet only by God’s help can I change myself.

I did not know this at 22.

With a wickedly unsurrendered heart, I went full speed ahead in a demolition derby that eventually resulted in divorce.

God’s severe mercies and a series of heart breaking consequences helped me to finally understand the scripture,

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

If only I had known then what I know now…

Good news flash: I gave my heart to Jesus. He gave me His grace and the opportunity to let go of bitterness, rage and pain and become better in time. Today I bless God for the strong, happy marriage I share and cherish with Dearest Husband, himself a survivor and overcomer of sin’s derailments.

Together he and I increasingly learn to love God, each other and our neighbors brought near. All the time growing stronger in our bond of love, hearts entwined desiring nothing more than to serve Him well.

As a wedding gift to this precious young Mr. and Mrs., and to other marrieds and nearly marrieds both young and old who may be reading this post, here are 22 keys which open the door to a lifetime-lasting married love affair.

* Marriage is a crucible for learning how to forgive and how to love.

* Marriage means putting self last, not me first. It’s about giving more than taking.

* Choose to serve each other with love, outdoing the other with simple kindnesses, small and big.

* Watch your words for words can build up and encourage a daily deepening of love or they can kill, crush and destroy.

* Marriage is for life. There is NO option for failure.

* Love and honor each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, poverty and wealth {and as my niece promised “even when the 49ers are playing!”}

* Never go to bed angry with each other or you’ll give the devil a foothold, inviting even bigger problems.

* Listen with your heart and know when to keep your mouth shut.

* Find something to thank your spouse for each day, being more grateful than critical.

* Marriage matures spouses as they choose to pull up the big girl panties and big boy boxers. So send your Pampers and baggage packing by God’s grace.

* Only God can heal your broken childhood heart and ease your pain.

* Only God can change your spouse. So don’t even try. Instead, work on your own issues and leave your spouse to God.

* Ascribe the best possible motives to your spouse. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

* Pray together and pray for each other. Often! Without ceasing!!

* Read God’s Word together and tuck some of it into your heart so it can be recalled during the heat of the moment, for God’s Word is life and health and strength to you.

* Kiss each other a lot, every embrace bonding you and your mate as one.

* Practice positive thinking, for as a husband or wife thinks in their hearts, so are they.

* Love is a choice and marriage is a covenant vow because sometimes your feelings will lie to you.

* Husbands love your wives and wives respect your husbands. {And vice versa, too.}

* Someday your children will thank you with all their hearts for staying together and working to create a wonderful marriage, a good role model for future generations.

* With Christ as the head of your marriage, and each partner seeking Him first, you will grow closer and have more peace, joy and love.

* Love your spouse more than yourself with 1 Corinthians 13 love. {J.B. Phillips translation below}

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.

In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love…


Photos Copyright Sheila Kimball 2012





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