30 years in

WCC

WATERFORD COMMUNITY CHURCH - 11:00am Sunday WORSHIP

by: Brent Wood

06/22/2022

0

As of last Sunday, Kelly and I have been married for thirty years now.  That's a lot of life done together and it has been a great ride!  We've raised three kids (and somehow got them all through college).  We've lived in five different houses.  We've served in two churches - here and South Bend.  At the same time we've gone on hundreds of dates and had thousands of conversations.  We've laughed together and cried together and prayed together and hosted five different sessions of re|engage together.  And the best thing?  We're just getting started!


We've been blessed (me, especially); God has been good to us and taught us so much along the way.  So with the full admission that we are not experts by any means, I thought I would share a few of the things that we've learned.


1.  When people say things like, "Marriage is hard, but if you keep working it can be good" we politely disagree.  Marriage has hard moments that require hard work, but hopefully those are the exceptions.  We think that marriage is good and enjoyable and life-giving, and we highly recommend it!  It certainly shouldn't be drudgery.


2.  But yes, hard times, personality rubs and even conflict happen and are a normal part of marriage.  No need to freak out.  But here's what we know...  A) You have to work through them (and not just ignore them and hope they will go away because they won't; they will simply compound), and B) When you do work through those seasons of conflict it actually strengthens your relationship as you experience an even greater sense of commitment to and from each other.


3.  Marriage requires lots of grace.  When two broken people do life together, there are lots of rough edges that can cause injury.  Grace needs to be offered to our mates, because we all need it and want it.  This doesn't mean giving wrong behavior a free pass, but it may mean learning to decide what really matters and what doesn't. 


4.  Your differences can either repel or attract.  Usually we are attracted to people who are not like us.  It's not unusual for an introvert to marry an extrovert or a spontaneous person to marry someone more cautious, but after a while we can start to wonder to ourselves, "Why couldn't he/she be more like me?"  The answer?  Because then you might only be about half of what you could be.  So celebrate your differences!  (You might try exploring resources like the Five Love Languages or personality profiles like the Enneagram.)


5.  We talk about this all the time in our re|engage groups, but you have to "draw a circle around yourself and work on everyone in that circle."  If you do that, your marriage will get at least 50% better.  It's simply not our job to fix our mates, it's God's.  Besides, we can't really change or control someone else, but we can always improve ourselves.  And there are always things to work on.


6.  Understanding is more important than agreeing.  This simple idea really helped us.  It meant listening to learn vs. listening to respond (and/or rebut).  Most of us just have the desire to be heard, and to hear someone say, "I understand."


7.  The kids are all gone now, but we're still here.  When we were young we were counseled to make our relationship with each other more important than our kids.  We listened and we're grateful.  Our kids got plenty of attention, but they also had to put up with babysitters (actually they might have preferred some of them to us!) so that we could have some time as a couple.  Do it however you have to, but make time for each other.  And by the way, our kids are glad we did this, too.


8.  It's a faith journey.  There are so many angles of faith when it comes to marriage, but when you both have a commitment to following God it makes so much difference.  I believe that when Jesus said "what God has joined together..." there were spiritual overtones to his statement, not just physical.  We are so grateful for all of the ways He has blessed us.


9.  Love seems to have an endless capacity.  I know we are more in love now than ever, and I thought we were pretty in love before.  It seems that there's always room for more love, and how cool is that!  Even in the past few months we have learned and grown and become more as a couple.  It's so fun just to think of how much more lies before us!


10.


So those things are just us, and maybe you, too. 


Number 10 is not a mistake; I left it blank for you to fill in.. What would you add to this list that you have learned in your marriage?  I'd love to hear it!  Feel free to send a reply email with your response.  Because we can all learn from each other!


(Shameless plug here - we will be doing another session of re|engage in the fall, and it is really good stuff!)

As of last Sunday, Kelly and I have been married for thirty years now.  That's a lot of life done together and it has been a great ride!  We've raised three kids (and somehow got them all through college).  We've lived in five different houses.  We've served in two churches - here and South Bend.  At the same time we've gone on hundreds of dates and had thousands of conversations.  We've laughed together and cried together and prayed together and hosted five different sessions of re|engage together.  And the best thing?  We're just getting started!


We've been blessed (me, especially); God has been good to us and taught us so much along the way.  So with the full admission that we are not experts by any means, I thought I would share a few of the things that we've learned.


1.  When people say things like, "Marriage is hard, but if you keep working it can be good" we politely disagree.  Marriage has hard moments that require hard work, but hopefully those are the exceptions.  We think that marriage is good and enjoyable and life-giving, and we highly recommend it!  It certainly shouldn't be drudgery.


2.  But yes, hard times, personality rubs and even conflict happen and are a normal part of marriage.  No need to freak out.  But here's what we know...  A) You have to work through them (and not just ignore them and hope they will go away because they won't; they will simply compound), and B) When you do work through those seasons of conflict it actually strengthens your relationship as you experience an even greater sense of commitment to and from each other.


3.  Marriage requires lots of grace.  When two broken people do life together, there are lots of rough edges that can cause injury.  Grace needs to be offered to our mates, because we all need it and want it.  This doesn't mean giving wrong behavior a free pass, but it may mean learning to decide what really matters and what doesn't. 


4.  Your differences can either repel or attract.  Usually we are attracted to people who are not like us.  It's not unusual for an introvert to marry an extrovert or a spontaneous person to marry someone more cautious, but after a while we can start to wonder to ourselves, "Why couldn't he/she be more like me?"  The answer?  Because then you might only be about half of what you could be.  So celebrate your differences!  (You might try exploring resources like the Five Love Languages or personality profiles like the Enneagram.)


5.  We talk about this all the time in our re|engage groups, but you have to "draw a circle around yourself and work on everyone in that circle."  If you do that, your marriage will get at least 50% better.  It's simply not our job to fix our mates, it's God's.  Besides, we can't really change or control someone else, but we can always improve ourselves.  And there are always things to work on.


6.  Understanding is more important than agreeing.  This simple idea really helped us.  It meant listening to learn vs. listening to respond (and/or rebut).  Most of us just have the desire to be heard, and to hear someone say, "I understand."


7.  The kids are all gone now, but we're still here.  When we were young we were counseled to make our relationship with each other more important than our kids.  We listened and we're grateful.  Our kids got plenty of attention, but they also had to put up with babysitters (actually they might have preferred some of them to us!) so that we could have some time as a couple.  Do it however you have to, but make time for each other.  And by the way, our kids are glad we did this, too.


8.  It's a faith journey.  There are so many angles of faith when it comes to marriage, but when you both have a commitment to following God it makes so much difference.  I believe that when Jesus said "what God has joined together..." there were spiritual overtones to his statement, not just physical.  We are so grateful for all of the ways He has blessed us.


9.  Love seems to have an endless capacity.  I know we are more in love now than ever, and I thought we were pretty in love before.  It seems that there's always room for more love, and how cool is that!  Even in the past few months we have learned and grown and become more as a couple.  It's so fun just to think of how much more lies before us!


10.


So those things are just us, and maybe you, too. 


Number 10 is not a mistake; I left it blank for you to fill in.. What would you add to this list that you have learned in your marriage?  I'd love to hear it!  Feel free to send a reply email with your response.  Because we can all learn from each other!


(Shameless plug here - we will be doing another session of re|engage in the fall, and it is really good stuff!)

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