Posted by Christine Burrows
Peter and I have been married for 22 years. Our mothers introduced us when I was 15 and he was 16. We were each others’ first loves.
When he left for college, we wrote letters to one another every day. We got to see one another about once a month, and were always elated to be in one another’s company, putting our best forward for our short times together. Through our visits and our letters, we supported one another through the transitions from home to college, from teen to adult. Although we didn’t make a straight shot from high school to marriage (with more than a few break-ups in between), we finally decided to marry in June of 1990 while attending one of 16 friends’ weddings that year. Four months later, on October 26, 1990, we got married.
The first year of marriage was hard. We had some financial stresses right away, and, quite honestly, I was feeling anxious about the “foreverness” of marriage. I wanted to fall in love again. I would say we were pretty near to calling it quits between our first and second anniversaries. Nothing else explains why we didn’t, other than that God had plans for us, and He shed his loving grace upon us. We recommitted to one another and got pregnant with our first child right around our second anniversary. From that moment on, we have been intensely aware of God’s grace in our marriage. We have been lucky – 4 well-adjusted kids, relatively few financial strains, good health, and almost 100% shared values. Some might consider ours an easy marriage – now.
And then there’s my sister. I won’t air her laundry, but her marriage isn’t as easy as mine. She and her husband seem to wrestle with more conflicts than Peter and I do. But we are both challenged to build strong marriages. She and her husband have to recover from conflicts and move forward. Peter and I have to find ways to not become bored or fail to challenge ourselves to be better individuals and partners. In the end, we all have to create the good habit of being married.
Think about some good habits: giving to charity, exercising, eating healthfully, praying, being on time, etc. While these are all terrific, they can sometimes fall by the wayside because we get lazy. Being a good spouse is a habit we must train ourselves in, and this takes discipline, among other things. We can’t let ourselves become flooded by the tide of stuff that comes up, or because we are simply tired. Intimate emotional connections need tending.
Some of the things you and your spouse did when you were courting might come in handy now – writing letters and poems to one another, going on dates, affirming one another, actively trying to bring joy to the other, doing kind deeds, supporting one another through transitions, etc. Doing these things, establishing and practicing positive habits within marriage, can become the routine if we stay on top of them.