As I strolled down my social media timeline, surfed the Internet and chatted with people this month, it reminded me of something…
September is a favorable month for weddings. Minus the possibility of hurricanes that is. And as a bridesmaid, I have had to witness a bride change her entire wedding venue in 48 hours due to a hurricane damaging her dream location!
But hey, if a hurricane doesn’t stop your wedding day, your marriage can survive any storm, right?
Well, I’ll just say that 11 years later, my friend is still happily married with two beautiful kids.
Unfortunately, not every ‘perfect’ wedding day ends the same. Many are still married and even with kids, but not so happy.
What happened after the “I’ do’s”?
What about the infatuating romance that developed during the engagement period?
Was it just an illusion forced to become reality?
Every newlywed that vowed love, loyalty, faithfulness and fulfillment this month, meant every word spoken; especially the brides. Brides will be celebrating every anniversary month up until the first year and expecting a gift too. Just a little small token from their husbands to show their thoughtfulness.
The big gifts will be expected on the annual anniversary dates.
I have a relevant question for my wives and depending upon your answer, will determine what category of marriage you are in right now.
QUESTION: What gift would you like from your husband on your next wedding anniversary?
Now, if you immediately started smiling inside and out, visualizing the perfect jewelry or the perfect romantic get-a-way then congratulations! Regardless of the length of your marriage, you still consider yourself happily married and feel as though today is just like your honeymoon.
On the Other Hand… which is probably where your wedding ban now resides…
If you didn’t crack a smile at all when thinking of your answer, and nothing but unpleasant memories started flooding your mind, the greatest gift you probably want to receive from your husband is a Divorce!
“It is estimated that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of marriages that begin this year will end in divorce” (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009, 85).
Does this mean that your current unhappy marriage should or will end up a part of this statistic? No. But marriage is a God idea; therefore, rooted in Biblical principles. Let’s look at a few of God’s characteristics that should be seen in marriage.
Characteristics of a Godly Marriage
- Communication. God is a communicator. He loves to communicate with those He is in relationship with. It is only effective when we are not just expecting God to listen to us, but we are active listeners too. When is the last time you tried to effectively communicate with your spouse?
- Respect. Throughout the Bible God instructs us to reverence Him, not fear Him out of fright. This shows that we respect who He is and what He means to us. As a woman, do you respect your husband on conditional basis? As Eggerichs reiterates, “The respect he desperately needs” (2004) from you.
- Love. In his book, Love & Respect, Eggerichs discusses that wives hold back respect because they feel that their husbands aren’t loving. Love is very powerful. It can over rule hatred. God shows the characteristics of love throughout the Bible, but they are really outlined in first Corinthians and the 13th Is this the love you expect and reciprocate?
- Protection. Marriage establishes families. God blesses families for generations. As believers, we benefit for being a part of the Body of Christ. We are protected; cared for, nurtured, kept safe. Ultimately, husbands play this role in marriage and family.
- Commitment. Yes, back to those wedding vows. Loyalty is important in a relationship. God is always committed to us, but we aren’t always committed to God. We definitely don’t always validate this commitment through our actions. Healthy relationships require commitment from both parties.
These are just a few highlights on what it takes to have not just a marriage, but a healthy marriage. God wants us to fully enjoy our marriages and not just exist in them. When marriages become unhealthy, it can affect every aspect of life. It causes rotten fruit like anger, bitterness and resentment to manifest.
And this can occur in Christian marriages, just check out my novel Marriage Thorn. But if you were contemplating divorce as your next anniversary gift, I do challenge you to consider the greatest gift that God has given us. It is one that can be shared in our relationships, in our marriages. Marriage is still a God idea!