Once upon a time, June was the most popular month for weddings. But according to 2016 statistics, last year 16 percent of all couples chose to speak their vows in October and September (a tie). June came in third.
In 1930, my mom and dad chose October for their wedding month. And in 1964, Jim and I chose the 10th month as well.
A couple weeks ago I was invited to a most lovely bridal shower in Crookston. As the bride finished opening her gifts, someone suggested we in her circle of friends give her a bit of marriage advice. The first thing that popped into my mind were the fruits of the spirit. On a daily basis, if every husband and wife practiced love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness and self-control, there would be no need for divorce lawyers.
I’m thrilled for those couples who are currently making wedding plans, but boy, marriage is a serious commitment. I hope they know that.
If given the opportunity, I tell them right off the bat that married life isn’t all rosy. At times it can be rocky. No one told me, that’s why I tell others.
Another thing I say is that when those rough times come, don’t walk away. Hang tough. Work hard on that marriage because when you get through those times – and you will – marriage is wonderful.
A bride in her planning stages once asked me if I had any ideas for Bible verses for the ceremony. She liked the “love is patient, love is kind,” one, but wasn’t sure about the verse that speaks of wives submitting to their husbands.
Well, there went my wheels again – turning.
I thought about a certain denomination that several years ago amended their belief statement to read, “a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”
Let me just say this about that – it works for me.
I appreciate and am thankful for my husband’s servant leadership in our marriage. I want him to be head of our house. I appreciate his wisdom. He doesn’t try to control or dominate me, nor I him. I look up to him, he looks up to me, but I still see him as leader of our home. I like that.
We have a mutual submission, I guess. We both cook, clean, iron, do yard work, use the power washer, paint, gas up the car. The only project we have never tackled together is wallpapering. When we put the first addition on our house we were a terrific staining team.
I also agree with more in that denomination’s statement. It reads: “Marriage must never become a struggle for control. For unlike other relationships, it is a vowed covenant with unique dimensions. In this partnership, mutual submission – is the key to genuine joy.”
In my quest to help the bride I mentioned above find a Bible verse for her wedding, I went to my junky “things to keep” drawer. There I found the bulletin from a wedding we attended where our son, Troy, was a groomsman. This wedding was held in Holy Family Catholic Church in Grand Forks, and as soon as the priest started his message, I knew it was a keeper. I scribbled his 10 tips for a healthy, happy, God-filled marriage all over the front and back of that wedding program.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting married or if you are on your way to forever together, these are great points to keep in mind:
Happiness is an inside job. Don’t expect others to make you happy. Enjoy being who you are.
- Remember that we are all creatures of mind, heart and body. Keep your bodies healthy. Pay close attention to your heart. Strive to think, then respond appropriately. Put your mind in gear before you open your mouth.
- Have good communication. Speak from and listen to your heart. Be honest, open and tactful.
- Marriage is the beginning of your life together, not the end of your romance.
- Never yell unless the house is on fire. Resolve conflicts. Don’t allow them to fester. Marriage is hard. Don’t expect perfection.
- Value your sexual relationship as highly as you do the God who made you.
- Be grateful for one another. Don’t take each other for granted. Thank God every day for the wondrous gift of each other.
- Don’t put anyone or anything before the Lord God and each other. Neglect the whole world before you neglect one another.
- If your love is genuine, it will cause you to be sensitive to the needy around you.
- What’s going to keep you together is the Lord. God is not a panic button to push as a last resort. Love Him as genuinely as you love each other and live for each other.
All that said, let me briefly change the subject and then return to it. I’d been admiring a shrub in front of an East Grand Forks home so one day I stopped there to ask its name. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Pat and Kenny Lindgren who were outdoors happily working side-by-side. Speaking of “on the way to forever together,” this year those two mark 55 years of marriage. Made my day to see happiness written all over their faces as they spoke of that milestone.