Saturday, April 10, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough

Many, many years ago, Patrick and I were preparing for marriage by going through premarital counseling sessions. We each had a "Before You Say I Do" workbook. The book was mauve and it had a photo of an 80's couple filtered through a soft lens. Every week we would get homework to do separately in this workbook, and then we would share our answers at the session.

One week, our assignment consisted of a few pages of "What would you do if..." For instance, what would you do if you lost your job? What would you do if a family member died? What would you do if you couldn't have children?

These were serious life questions. Serious! I devoted a great deal of time thinking about my reaction and how I would respond and what steps we might take as a married couple together. I had a short paragraph answering every single one... partly because I was taking it so seriously, and partly because I can be an over-achiever. I was going to be prepared for this marriage thing!

The time came to share our homework with the counselor. I glanced over at Patrick's workbook. He had one short sentence to answer each question. It appeared to be the same sentence. I was slightly furious. He hadn't taken it seriously at all, I thought. We are going to have a horrible marriage, I lamented.

"Pray, and know that God is sovereign."

That's it? How can that be it? That is much too simple. That is like answering "Jesus" at Sunday School.

And yet through all the ups and downs we've had over the past 16 years, that has always been the best answer.

You were right, honey! R-I-G-H-T! (And that's another good piece of marriage advice.)

What's the best piece of marriage advice you've ever heard?


Jen said...

Be more concerned with being kind than being right.

Right before we were married, we received in the mail an advertisement postcard from a photographer, and on the front was a list of the "Top 10 Ways to Remain Happily Married". Even though we didn't use that photographer, we really liked the card and it's hanging on our refrigerator to this day.

Alana said...

Aw, I LOVE this. So true.

going kiwi said...

During our premarital w/ Steve Carr there were so many nuggets. But the two things I have taken from him have really stuck. First, pray for a changed heart. Whether it is your heart or your spouse's heart to change in a dispute/conflict. Out of stubbornness, I usually start with his heart, lol and through God's grace I end up praying for my heart. Secondly, when you have a conflict with each other try to resolving it as quickly as possible. I know that sounds silly but it is good to remember not to let the sun go down while you are still angry. It has worked for seven years. Good post!

CoachZ said...

I actually was being rebellious, but I'm glad God has used it in our lives over and over again!

Luv ya babe!

Cristina Mathers said...

great post! My grandparents both swore by the rule of never going to bed angry with each other. We lived by this rule, and can proudly say that we never fight (for more than 24 hours =)

Denise said...

remain in Christ, best advice, and it came 5 yrs into marriage from Jesus himself. :-)

Charissa Steyn said...

Love it!! Jesus is always the simple right answer! One of the best pieces of marriage advice I received was FORGIVE!!! Forgive forgive forgive some more. No matter how many times a day it is!!!

Bethany said...

My mother-in-law bought Nate & me that same book when we got engaged... The cover has not changed from what I understand! As for marriage advice, now that I've got 2 whole years under my belt? Enjoy the amazing spouse that God has blessed you with & seek the Lord's will as a team! (Linda, please remind me of this when Nate & I have kids, ok?) :)

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