I decided to share this with you all in hopes that it will bless someone.
October 16th 15 years ago, I received a phone call from a guy I was dating at the time (James) to tell me that he loved me and missed me. He then asked to speak to my daughter who was 9 at the time. She leaves the room and they have this 10 minute conversation. She runs back to hand me the phone and she is just smiling and bubbly. I get the phone and asked him what he said to her. He said,
"I told her how much I loved you, her and her brother. I told her that I enjoyed spending time with you all and that I wanted to make it more permanent. Then I asked her if it was OK if I walked up to you one day and said, "He whispered my name, would you marry me?"
Ok, that flew OVER my head. I started fussing and he said well, will you? I was like HUH? WHAT? Are you serious? Over the phone? My daughter was jumping up and down with her brother so I arrogantly said, "I'll think about it but can't really answer until I get a ring" We chatted a bit longer and then I hung up and dreamed about him that night. Time went on and I went on about my daily routines but the thought was there that he actually proposed to me in an odd sort of way. He later "officially" proposed with a ring (i will share that story later).
The lesson is that he accepted me and my children and that while I did not have my dad around for him to ask, he thought it was important enough to inquire with my children and get the "green light" before proceeding. We were married for 13.5 years until he lost his battle with brain cancer July 21, 2012. I do these reflections to remind myself and others that each memory is so precious and that I would take all of the challenging days we had just to hold my best friend again.
How can you be encouraged to have a healthy marriage when the signs of divorce are posted everywhere? We see it in celebrities, friends, family and strangers alike; all going through oftentimes devastating divorces. I have learned from past experiences that a marriage can be healthy and happy, but both individuals have to put in the work.
Take some time to ask yourself the following questions about your marital situation:
Why did I get married?
Did I do it because I was in love and really wanted to get married?
Did I dream about it when I was little and just wanted to do it because it seemed like fun?
Did I do it because someone forced me to do it?
Did I do it because mom and dad were married so I figured I should get married?
Think about it for a minute before reading on.
No matter what your reason was for getting married, marriage is NOT perfect so you set yourself up for disappointment if you go into it thinking it will be a perfect fairytale relationship. The other thing is; when you said "I Do," you agreed to be with this person through the good, bad, happy, sad, rich, poor, sickness and well times. To do that effectively, you have to first understand why you got married, and then determine what you can do to ensure that you live up to the responsibilities of your role as a spouse.
You have been blessed to be bonded together with someone that you once thought the world of. While your circumstances may change over time, the love you have for your spouse should grow deeper over time. It takes patience, commitment, communication, love, respect and accountability. Accountability is critical because you can only be accountable for YOU. You can't make your spouse do or be something, but you can live a life in front of them that could spark a change in them.
God has an eye on you and knows what you need and when you need it. Continue to be consistent in your walk as a loving spouse even when times get challenging in your marriage. Try to focus on your role and living up to it, and then expect a positive change for the better in your spouse. If your marriage isn't healthy, it CAN be but it takes commitment and self- reflection on your end first, then communication with your spouse on what you both can do to make your marriage better. If it is already healthy, then continue to strive for ultimate health and share it with another couple that is struggling in their marriage. Be a marriage mentor and live the motto of, "each one, teach one, to mentor one and preserve marriages"!
Are you a marriage mentor? Let me know your thoughts on this post and you could win a "Marriage Rocks" t-shirt.