Marriage

It’s Not Magic. It’s Work.

I’m always amazed when I hear how people aren’t happy with their spouses.  They’ll conjure up some foolish notion that they would be happier with someone else.  That their marriage would be full of romance if they were only married to that person over there.  That their problems would magically disappear if this person would sweep them off their feet. But the hard core truth about it is that if they were married to another person, they’d probably feel the same way. Marriage is work, people, not magic.  Ask any couple you know who has a great marriage and they will tell you that.  Unfortunately, in our world, few people really want to do what it takes to have a great marriage.  It’s a sad reality, actually. I know that many of you reading this right now might feel like your marriage is in shambles.  Others of you may feel like you are doing okay.  Still others of you believe it can’t get any better and believe you are blessed. So it’s marriage advice time.  Right now, share one thing that you believe can encourage others toward a path of complete contentment in their marriages.  Whether it’s been in your own marriage or in another marriage that you’ve witnessed. Ready? Go.

40 thoughts on “It’s Not Magic. It’s Work.”

  1. Take the time to thank your spouse for the little things that they do; let them know you notice and appreciate. Even if it is taking out the trash, unloading the dishwasher, filling the dog food. Simple appreciation goes such a long way.

  2. Be tenacious in your commitment to the covenant you made with this person. Tenacious. Know who the real Enemy of your marriage is and battle Him with a fierceness that would make grown men cry. Hold on to the hope of Christ in your darkest places. A tenacious holding. A white knuckle holding. Not to the fairy tale. Not to the person. But to Jesus.

  3. Go on dates!! Make time even if it is a walk around the block. Never stop dating your spouse.

  4. Focus on what it is YOU can do to make your marriage better not on what your spouse is NOT doing. And, in the lacking spaces turn to Christ to meet those needs. Pray for your spouse.

  5. I heard once (during a pretty difficult season in my marriage) that the secret to staying together was… staying together. It’s a decision that you have to make and follow through on. It was a call to action, but freeing nonetheless. It meant to me that I didn’t have something broken or I didn’t choose the wrong marriage, but that I just had to work on what I had. It was powerful and perspective changing.

  6. I love the suggestions above and especially about appreciating your spouse – that is HUGE in my book. The other thing we discovered WAY too late in our marriage was how essential – critical – it was to learn to speak each others’ love language. God has uniquely crafted each one of us and then cleverly crafted another unique person to pair us with. We are radically, amazingly different in order to fill in where the other leaves off. We are not the same, and therefore will receive love and affirmation in different ways. You may feel you are loving and appreciating your spouse, but if you have no clue how to love them (by speaking a language they receive), then you will both be full of frustration and disappointment. Revel in your differences and laugh about the miscommunication. God did this on purpose – I like to think He’s up there laughing along with us.

  7. Someone told me a long time ago that marriage is not 50/50 … its 100/100 !!! What a difference it has made!

  8. Pray for your spouse. Speak their love language. Make them your #2. Laugh. A lot. Hold hands. Write love letters. Make sure the kids are in bed at a decent time every night, you need that time to unwind and just be together. And for other things. Wink, wink.

  9. Laugh a lot! We always have private jokes, running jokes, funny stories to share with each other. Even a little risque’ joke or innuendo now and then 🙂 Having a great sense of humor can help you have a great marriage. And, even after 25 years of marriage, no one can make me laugh like my husband!

    In fact, his favorite saying is “If you ever leave me, I’m going with you”. Still makes me smile.

  10. Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, marriage can be a lot of work but if it’s all work all the time you’re in trouble. Every once in a while it is OK to say, “OK, enough work already! Time to play!” Maybe that’s just going to a movie or out to dinner. Maybe it is a weekend away. But whatever it is, play is critical to a healthy marriage. After all, we all get tired of doing work after a while, but we never get tired of having fun.

  11. I often think to myself, ” how much is enough?” Do I give in after 1 try, 100 or 1,000,000? FOR ME, I jusg couldn’t stand the thought of looking at my husband, son and family and saying “I can’t try one more time.”My marriage has been to the edge and back. All of the above is such good advice. Reading the books CAPTIVATING about how God made us women to be different for a reason and THE LOVE DARE from the movie Fireproof. It isn’t easy but it is so worth it.

  12. For us, my cooking keeps us strong.

    No, no. Not really.

    When we communicate, we don’t attack one another with the “You always…” and “You nevers…” That’s one thing.

  13. My mother told me growing up that “happiness is a choice”. I choose my husband – I choose to pick up his socks because the alternative would be that he wasnt there for me to pick up after and life would be so less interesting and fun and so much more lonely….just a minor example. I would expand on what my mother taught me which is probably what she meant when she taught me…but “contentment is a choice”.

  14. ANY time that you have been hurt…whether intentionally or unintentionally…remember that you have an Enemy that’s doing his best to manipulate you and your spouse against each other. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood…”

    Remember that, and it’s much easier to forgive, to let things roll off your back, and to change things (through humility and prayer).

  15. Wake up everyday and think what can I do to make my husbands day better. (not what can he do to make my life better)

    Have lots of Sex (did I just say that on a blog)

  16. I want to soak up every bit of advice. My frustrating thing is that I am willing to do 150% work – but I need him to also. I WANT him to show me where I need to grow and change – but he wont…but I will never give up – and never stop placing everything in God’s hands. I pray that my husband will come to the point that he wants to work on having an AMAZING marriage – not just “a marriage”. My advice? It’s not mine but I heard it somewhere and we have taken this step. It is said that 1 of every 2 marriages end in divorce – even Christian marriages…however, if a couple prays TOGETHER on a REGULAR basis – that statistic drastically changes to 1 of every 1500 marriages ends in divorce. I like those stats much better! We have been praying together every night for a few months now and we are just starting to do so in the morning. God will not fail us.

  17. Earnestly pray everyday for God to mold you into the spouse He wants you to be and the spouse your spouse needs you to be.

  18. Wow! It is so cool that you’re talking about marriage today of ALL days. Seriously. We have so many friends and family who are in failing marriages and some are actively seeking divorce. (We just heard about yet another one last night.) Still others have already been there and done that.

    It breaks my heart to see this. And it’s EVERYWHERE. I believe it all boils down to selfishness. If you want your marriage to work, you have to lay aside yourself and your own personal agendas to serve your spouse.

    I was actually just telling one of these friends about your story the other night and how God redeemed your marriage and even made it better than it was before! She was eager to hear about it, so I’ll send her a link to your story. Thank you (again and again) for being open with your story so that others can hear the Spirit of God speaking to them about their own.

    Cara

  19. I have been reading your blog for slightly over 3 months and I am blown away by the simplicity and wisdom loaded in various articles.

    I live in nairobi Kenya in east Africa. I am currently separated from my wife of 5 year with whom we have 2 children (girl 4 and boy 2). Its been 6 months of separation and like Chris, it was my indescression that led to this. Every attempt to woe her back in, has not succeeded. I tried the ‘love dare’ but quit 10 days into it coz she organized a ‘mob justice’ of our friends to come after me with hurtful words. Its be excruciating. But again there are consequences to sin.
    Your (this) article provoked this email out of me. The temptation that there is a better thing ‘out there’ has been heavy lately. Cindy you’ve been in the place of my wife. Please advice me what I need to do or not do.

    Thank you.

  20. Lovin’ all these ideas…each one is so important! I have found through our ups & downs that speaking your spouse’s love language is HUGE! Meeting your spouse’s needs is a must…and doing it unselfishly! Be sure to communicate those needs to your spouse too…COMMUNCIATE! Our marriage is one we would have never had if it wasn’t for us learning these few things!!! I simply ask my hubby each day if there is anything he needs or I can do for HIM today! Makes me smile…and him too! 🙂

  21. Marry your best friend. Make him the first person you want to tell things too, communicate so well that it is hard to even keep his Christmas present a secret. Remember you are man and wife, not brother and sister, or just mom and dad or even just children to your parents.

    Keep you marriage first after God! Laugh a lot, even at yourselves. Try to not yell at each other. It is amazing how a statement made in a normal voice and a normal level can sound ok. Take that same statement and yell and beat your hands and scream,….Now what could have been a constructive conversation is a rip roaring fight with hurt feelings.

    Most of all Love Him like Jesus Loves you! I have apologized a few times to Craig. Saying that something I had said or didn’t isn’t right, that it isn’t the way Jesus would have handled it. I am suppose to Love my Husband not abuse him.

  22. I love what my husband says to our kids…. God choose me, and I choose your mom.. you are a gift loving you is easy… loving your mom means I have to put her first….

    I love that he teaches our kids the importance of our decision and how it all began with our choice.

    You choose this person, so repick em every day. Red rover red rover, let Todd Curtis come over!!!

    I wouldn’t pic anyone else no matter what!!!

  23. sorry, feeling talkative today….

    Would you lay down your life for your spouse as Christ calls us to do in the scriptures??? Would you…. then why not lay down your attitude, or your rights, or your privaliges..or your wants and desires… PUT GOD in charge of your spouse and let Him wooo you thru your spouse. God is REALLY good at it!!!

    Love you Jesus.. I will trust you with my spouse today!

  24. Divorce is NOT an option!
    My husband and I are in the process of restoration from a very difficult time. We are both working very hard and I believe the decision that divorce is not an option has helped to hold us together. We decided on this “motto” from the very beginning of our marriage (16 years ago). Our love for each other, and our marriage is unconditional.

  25. divorce is not an option (really!) and it wont even come up. to say i love you when you argue (try that one when you mad). to laugh for sure! we realised above all how important our marriage and how WE handle things, will be to our kids’ marriages. my hubby came from a very broken home and for him the idea of total and forever commitment was an unknown thing… and it has been a struggle to remember even if we fight and we do and it is normal and fine … that no matter what i still love him and i am not going anywhere .. explain that to someone who only knows fight = divorce …over and over again. well 15 years later and now only he is 100% sure within himself that we can Conquer ANYTHING. remind yourself daily .. i choose him/her. and fight fair … 5 love languages is a HUGE must – be really inlove with your spouse, mind body and soul … love being intimate .. i hear this is hard for many woman (mom thanks for teaching me to love and enjoy, making love to my husband) DONT have a best friend that you share things with that you wont share with your spouse .. that is the beginning of trouble .. really. enjoy your marriage – have MORE good times then bad – IT IS REALLY worth it ! love you honey xxx

  26. I’ve read 1 Cor 13b and I got not help but think wow, do I have honestly and truly have that kind of love for my husband, I decided to read this scripture every day until it becomes a part of me and my marriage. Love is patient, love is kind, love never keeps record of wrong, come on is it that simple, then my advice to other couples is love unconditional the way Christ loves us. Thanks Cindy, please give me a link to read about your marriage. God bless.

    Beverley

  27. After 25 years of marriage, my husband and I are still struggling to keep our marriage afloat. I do love my husband. We have four wonderful children, and I want my marriage to be a spiritual example for them, as well as a testimony before God. A lot of times I feel unappreciated, unloved, and alone. My husband and I do very few things together. Our work schedules are different, our hobbies are different, our associates are not the same, and somehow we just seem to be drifting further and further apart. I know God is able to do all things, and I pray a lot for my marriage. I’ve received the CDs and DVDs from Focus on the Family about marriage. All of these resources have been helpful and uplifting to me. I feel more encouraged, stronger, and a lot more confident that the breakthrough in our marriage will happen. I intend to do what Beth Moore so eloquently and truthfully presented in the DVD, and that is to fight for my marriage! Those of you who know the words of prayer, please agree with me in pray that the Lord will continue to give me the strength and the courage to fight for my marriage. The world makes it seem so easy to just walk away from it all; to get a divorce. I know that is not the answer nor the solution. Because God instituted this covenant and this spiritual union called marriage, I believe in my heart that he can sustain it. I must continue to believe and trust in him and his word.

  28. Isn’t it funny that the very thing that attracted you to your mate is now the very thing that drives you crazy. Marriage is meant to be a growing, learning experience, just like any other experience in life. It comes with ups, downs, joy, pain,tears and laughter. IT can make us wise or bitter, it is actually our choice on how we view it and how we respond. What I keep in mind is how I feel when I see couples who have been married for 30, 40 and 50+ years and I envy the committment, perserverance and patience it takes to succeed at a monumental acheivement and I long for such longivitiy in my own marriage. In these times in which we live, 4 yrs is a long time, I am fighting to have 30+ yrs with my husband who GOD blessed me with. Only sometimes we forget who is really in charge and that is when all hell breaks loose in our lives. When I allow GOD to lead in my marraige I have peace and joy. When Ronda leads I have pain and misery. I find that i see when I’m in the way a lot sooner than I use to and remeber to pray for my husband because the ferverant prayser of the rightous avlaith much the ksy is to pray for him when I am mad. Thank GOD for mercy which I need probably more than my husband, please pray for us we are in the middle of of financial challenges which always seems to rock our faith, mine because I can’t believe that we at here again as it relates to the response, his because he hasn’t learned who his source is yet. I believe but help my unbelief that he will get it……

  29. I have been married for only 6 years and it seems like a life time i find we have a hard time communicating but I really believe that if you keep the lines of communication open you will be able to keep you marriage alive.

  30. After more than 30 yrs. of marriage I can certainly agree that it is a lot of work. but, Oh, how faithful is our God!
    We were only 19 and 20, and had everything going against us, different religions, different cultures, different backgrounds! Satan threw everything at us to make us fail, families that didn’t support the marriage, pornography, financial issues, chidren that turned into prodigals, you name it, we had it!
    But we had 2 things in common, we loved God and divorce was not an option for us!
    All I can say to any of you that are going through rough times in your marriage is “hang on to God with all your strenght”!
    Ecc 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
    If you allow the Lord to be the 3rd strand that holds you two together, nothing will break you apart.
    My heart quakes when I think of what we would have missed if we had given up. We are more in love now than ever, our kids have returned to the Lord, He is using us in ministry. If you could hear my husband pray, it would knock you to your knees! He will always do more than we can ask or imagine!
    Hang in there, surrender to the Lord, let go and let Him do the work. Put Him first and and make sure YOU are walking according to his purposes, He will take care of the rest. He is faithful!

  31. I just want to say it was really blessing to me today to find this blog and read these comments that have been very encouraging for me. I’ve been married for 2 months, 4 days and keep asking God why he let this happen. My husband and I were so close before getting married and really felt like this is what God had ordained for us. Neither of us saw our friendship maturing into a marriage, that’s why we were so sure that this union was a blessing. I know God doesn’t make any mistakes, but could my marriage be one? I am going to fight for this marriage and just pray that things turn around and prayerfully our marriage can be a testimony for other couples.

  32. Wow! What a blessing to read all the comments on marriage. I would say that as wives and husbands that we should listen to our spouses with are whole hearts and not with our emotions and intellect.

  33. I guess the biggest lesson I have learned is its not all about me. While I’m busy picking out all the stuff my husband is doing (and not doing), I’m forgetting to look in the mirror and see what I’m doing (and not doing). And to realize that my husband is not all the other men I’ve had relationships with that sucked so bad, because he’s the one who stayed. I praise my GOD for giving me my best friend, who is also my children’s father, and the best lover!

  34. I’ve found your blog through the daily devotionals that i get in email. My husband and I are going through rough times. Reading your blog and the comments left on here about marriage is a huge insight for me. Thank you. Thank God i found this!

  35. I got the link to this blog thru devotionals sent to me via email. I just thank God i found this today, it has given me some insight into some of the things i was missing or not doing. God is faithful and He directed me here for a reason. I was beginning to feel invisible to my husband, he just sees the mother of his kids and not the love of his life! Now, i bet he feels the sme way too, we havent had alone time in so so so long. This has been eye opening and i thank all those who contributed!!! God bless you.

  36. Treat it like the sports our men love – say, baseball. Just get to first base today – try for second tomorrow. You’ll hit a couple of fouls, strikes, or bunts – but for today – just try for that First Base!

  37. Never too late, as Joshua and Caleb still were ready to take the land, after the spies and generation had died, Caleb said, at the age of around 80 years: I am still weel able. The Lord promises life, more abundant life, I take by faith.

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