I stumbled upon a song at the YMCA a few weeks ago. "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore" is a duet by Bon Jovi and LeAnn Rimes. It's very well sung, it has great lyrics, and it's a powerful message for love and marriage.
"It might be hard to be lovers, But it's harder to be friends"
Especially with young children running around the house or shuttling older children around the city to a million activities, it's easy to let a quality marriage slip through our fingers. Spouses can become efficient house managers, parents, cooks, taxi drivers, and lovers - but forget to keep a friendship alive. What did your friendship with your spouse look like when you fell in love? What do you love to do together? Set aside some time to enjoy just being together. Make that 'time out' a habit, so you can strengthen and maintain the friendship of your marriage. Refuse to be just roommates and co-workers - determine to be soulmates and lovers.
"It would be so easy To live your life With one foot out the door"
This is a great phrase for life in general, but it's especially easy in 2007 to be in a marriage with one foot out the door, ready to cut bait and run when things get tough. But even if you are determined to stay married, it's still a challenge to be vulnerable with your spouse. To share the hard stuff. To seek to be your true self and accept your spouse for who he is. Jump in, be willing to dive deep, and learn how to live life together. Don't let fear or pride get in the way of a great, instead of just a good, marriage.
"It's hard to find forgiveness When we just turn out the light. It's hard to say you're sorry When you can't tell wrong from right. It would be so easy To spend your whole life Just keeping score."
Oooh - forgiveness - a HUGE part of a good marriage. Part of conflict resolution is agreeing to disagree. Part of it is growing to be humble enough to admit your wrongs and say you're sorry. Part of it is be willing to accept someone's apology - all the way down to the core of your heart - and let something go. Part of healthy relationships is knowing when to let something go, and when it's important to talk about before you turn out the lights. It's such a delicate balance. Pray desperately for wisdom, muster up your courage to do the right thing, and doggedly determine to keep communication lines open.
"Lets put our two hearts back together And we'll leave the broken pieces on the floor."
Two sinful people will never be perfect. But God uses each of us to compliment one another - to make us stronger - to make us more like Christ. Lean on each other. Let your lives become one. Don't expect perfection from one another or yourself as a couple.
The Great Deceiver would love for you to have a mediocre marriage. The Holy Spirit has something very different in mind. He wants you to have a beautiful marriage that reflects his perfect love for us. What can you do today to strengthen your marriage? What can you and your spouse work on this week?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)