I married my high school sweetheart, Kimberly, on November 6, 1993. We are celebrating twenty-five years of marriage today. During our twenty-five years together, we have ministered to multiple churches and raised three fantastic boys. In honor of our anniversary, we want to share some friendly advice with our followers about what we have learned during the course of our marriage.
Why We Celebrate Wedding Anniversaries
Before we begin to talk about the advice we’d like to pass on to other couples, let’s talk about why we celebrate wedding anniversaries in the first place. Unfortunately, life gets busy, and sometimes we neglect to celebrate special occasions. Don’t make this mistake in your marriage! A wedding anniversary should be a time to remember your vows to one another and the lifelong covenant you made.
More importantly, marriage is a holy institution. It is for this reason our vows are said before God.
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
-- Mark 10:6-9
A wedding anniversary is an opportunity for us to remember what God has done. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord,” and this is the perfect time to remember the Lord is good and how He has shown you favor in your life and family. Plus, Christians have a unique opportunity to use their marriages to reflect Christ’s love for the church.
As we celebrate our silver anniversary, here are some of the truths we’ve discovered over this quarter of a century and plan to continue to follow for the rest of our days.
I’ve identified four pieces of advice that have made a great difference in my marriage to Kimberly. By putting God first and prioritizing my marriage, we have arrived here at year twenty-five happy and still very much in love.
Get in Church and Stay in Church.
Warren Wiersbe says, “The best thing you can do for your family is to build a great church, and the best thing you can do for your church is to build a great family.” I’ve found the two very much go together. It’s your support system and life-line. By attending church with your spouse, you will find other like-minded believers and married couples to support you. You will also have married couples who are a bit ahead of you in terms of how long they’ve been married – these couples can be great mentors to you and your spouse.
Plus, when you attend church with your spouse, you have opportunities to serve together. Serving is a great way to stay in tune with one another, and it helps you both keep Christ at the center of your relationship.
Never Stop Courting.
Even after 25 years, it is still important to pursue your spouse. Don’t view marriage as a chance to stop dating. Instead, you should do just the opposite! Show your spouse how much you love her and prioritize time with her by continuing to court her. Kimberly and I have kept date nights going through our entire marriage, and we continue to look forward to this special time together every week.
Forgive and Forgive Some More.
Follow the advice we find in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” No person is without sin, and no marriage is without conflict. However, what separates Christian marriages from the rest of the marriages in the world is that we practice forgiveness regularly because our Savior forgave us.
Build Each Other Up.
Affirm your spouse. When you have been together for some time, you may forget the importance of building one another up on a daily basis. Some couples even go the opposite way and spend time tearing each other down, but since you are “one flesh,” you are really just tearing yourself down and tearing your marriage apart. Instead, remember what the Apostle Paul told us the church in Ephesus:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
– Ephesians 4:29
My best half, Kimberly, has her own advice to pass on to couples. She understands the female viewpoint and identified issues more prevalent with ladies.
Don’t Fight Just to Win.
If you are tempted to fight or argue simply for the sake of “winning,” then stop. Often, winning is merely the result of personal preference. You can avoid a lot of arguments by learning to let go of things that are only issues of personal preference and not critical matters. It’s amazing how small things of little significance can create such huge conflicts.
Be Slow to Speak and Quick to Listen.
Often, we want to defend ourselves or give our opinion before we have heard what the other person has to say. Sometimes we assume they're going one direction, and we can be completely off base. Instead, we show wisdom when we simply listen and stay quiet until they're finished speaking, and we have heard what they say, which is often two very different things. This is also the timeless advice we read in James 1:19, and please don’t forget this James was the brother of Jesus. How many times do you think he wished he had used this advice in that relationship?
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
– James 1:19
Choose the Appropriate Time to Talk.
Men, unlike women, are unable to communicate when they're angry. Save your breath! Don't even try to communicate with a man who’s angry. Instead, be patient and wait until your spouse can talk calmly. You'll get much further, faster if you have a calm conversation with him after he has cooled down, which might even take a day or two.
May God bless you and your marriage as you continue to pursue Him and one another.