Marriage Needs Maintenance
As some of you might know, marriage is something that requires maintenance. Marriage is a live entity — it’s something dynamic. Anything that is living requires maintenance and marriage requires maintenance.
When we are courting, we think that marriage is trouble-free. It seems like everything is going to be smooth. It seems that way because you are dating; each person is putting his or her best foot forward.
So we think, “Yes! Happily ever after! My goodness, what a perfect woman she is!” And we get married to them. Then, the next morning, reality hits. She gets up and says, “It’s time you find out about the other side of me. Go ahead and look. Welcome to the rest of your life.”
Working Through the Problems
We would all agree that it is easier to get married than it is to stay married. When you get married, there are problems that you need to go through. You are going to have to work through all of them. It’s a high maintenance deal.
Let’s take a look at five ingredients that will help build the love that will last a lifetime. Again, for some of you, it will just be gems that you can deposit into your heart so that when you get to that season, there is a road map to follow. For others, it’s a recalibrating along the way — corrections in flight.
Five Ingredients to Built a Love for a Lifetime
Respect is so incredibly important in building a love that will last for a lifetime. God says in Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3 that respect is mutual — not just a one-way road.
The Lord speaks to the husband and the wife in Ephesians. “Let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself, and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33).
Respect is sort of like a soil in which love grows. If you respect somebody, it’s easy to love that person. When you lose respect, it’s very difficult to love that person.
That is a choice that we must make before we hit problems. What role are we going to play in our family? Are we going to be someone who fixes the blame or fixes the problem? Problems are going to be inevitable in our families. You are going to fix the blame or you are going to fix the problems.
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).
Your ministry is what God has assigned your for this season. That is what all of us have been given: reconciliation. We are not to be people who try to figure out how we can fix the blame, but we can figure out how to fix the problem.
You’ve heard the saying that a family that prays together, stays together. I would add to that: a family that plays together, stays together. We’ve got to take time to be with one another.
There’s a big difference between being around one another and being with each other. That’s something that you’ll have to take time to do. Plan it in your schedule. It seems like the longer we are married, the less we play and do things spontaneously. The Scripture tells us that we are to live happily with each other.
“Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of your life. For the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all of your earthly toil” (Ecl. 9:9).
You’ll notice that the Bible says to live happily. If you do, there’s a reward.
If there were more courting in marriage, there would be fewer marriages in court. When you get married, don’t stop courting. Keep going out on dates.
If our expectations are broken, the home becomes a battlefield. What happens is people have to retreat from their homes to get peace. That is a common thing we need to reverse and make our homes a magnet.
Make a firm commitment to faithfulness. This is the fifth ingredient to developing a love that lasts a lifetime. God says, “Because of this kind of faithful commitment that you make, you can get on with being friends.”
It is so important for us to know Jesus with all of our hearts, to have Him in us to heal our hearts and to give us a fresh and new beginning again and again. That’s the secret of a love that lasts a lifetime: falling in love again and again and always with the same person.
Make sure that Jesus is a part of your marriage. When He is, He’ll be the one to help you make in-flight corrections and always remind you of the five ingredients that will help you to build the love that will last a lifetime.