this great marriage-enhancing advice is from a friend of mine, Clint Botha, whose friendship has grown a lot since we both ended up in different countries and went virtual…
By no means do I consider myself and Karin some kind of pro married couple (although that would be an awesome competition and/or reality tv show). We have only been at this thing for 6 years and a bit, but these are the things we have found have worked for us.
– It’s a given for us, but Jesus is the centre of our marriage. He is our shared mission, goal, lord, saviour, love! That has made a huge difference in our marriage… I can not state that enough.
-We laugh. A LOT! We laugh at each other (not in a mean way… in other words… only if your partner also sees the funny side). We laugh at ourselves. I can not remember a day in our marriage (even the really difficult days) that we have not laughed about something.
-We save our energy for big stresses. We don’t sweat the little things. We are both of the attitude that life happens. On this journey there are things big and small completely out of our control and those things are not worth stressing over.
-We have a united front with money. Firstly we chose to have a shared bank account. There is no money allocated to Karin or me each month. For us marriage was all or nothing and this included earnings. We are also in agreement with what we do with that money (and Who it ultimately belongs to). We both try to not be reckless or bad stewards (sometimes better than others) and we also try not to hold onto money too tightly. What we found worked for us is that we set an agreed on amount that neither of us would spend more than without the others consent. That way you avoid being tied to never being able to spend… but you also never end up spending more than what was agreed on without the other persons knowledge.
-We give grace and forgiveness very freely and quickly. It’s a huge cliche’, but so important. We do not go to bed angry. Or to put it biblically: Ephesians 4:26 “26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry”.
-We accept that we are both broken people. Karin needs me to love her in spite of her brokeness as much as I need her to love me in spite of mine.
-We let go of passed stuff. It’s tempting to bring up previous mistakes. We’ve made it a priority to never do that.
– During our engagement when we were discussing married life and how to deal with stuff we decided to ban certain language. We banned the “d-word”. We don’t mention divorce. Not in anger… not as a joke. It is a no go word. We never have used that word in a conflict situation.
– We fight clean. We try as far as humanly possible (don’t always get this as right as we’d like to)…. but we try to never go for the jugular or take dirty shots at each other. We don’t do name calling, character assassination and that sort of thing. Stick to the issue.
-We talk. A LOT.
-And finally: “Quality not quantity” is an outright lie of the enemy. We signed up to live this life together and that means making an intentional effort to spend time together. Whether that’s going for a walk or just watching a movie together. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time with one other person for the rest of your life don’t get married.
[married for 6 years]