Since the introduction of Thirteen Months to the market, I have had the opportunity to do interviews on radio and television, as well as in magazines.
Interestingly, one of the most commonly asked questions has nothing to do with survival and suffering—it has to do with romance and success in marriage. The answer may not be what you would expect.
The question is, “How did you do that? How did you have a passionate, romantic love in the midst of one tragedy after another?”
There is no secret formula for a successful marriage—right? We’ve heard that preached, counseled, touted by the ‘experts’, but the only problem is—it isn’t true.
If you want a Godly, romantic, exciting marriage, here are four key steps we used in our own marriage to get there. If you incorporate these in your own marriage, it would be an excellent start.
1. We placed God in the center of our marriage (This is not sappy)
- This required each of us to separately place God in the center of our lives. It makes sense that we must spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer first. If we miss this step, we open a perfect opportunity for Satan to attack us as individuals, and then as a couple.
- When we take the time to develop a close personal relationship with the Lord, we have begun to build the foundation of marriage as well. We can’t expect to have a close union with God together as a couple, when we don’t have that one-on-one relationship with Him first.
2. We determined to put each other before ourselves
- I made Gwen more important to me than me—she made me more important to her than her. At first, this is a conscious effort. That is why I used the word “determined.” It is a decision that is contrary to our nature. We are selfish beings, and this requires a distinctly unselfish act. But it is essential to having a strong marriage, and it puts an unquenchable spark into romance that nothing else can. I will warn you—even though this is initially a conscious choice, it becomes both addictive and contagious. Selflessness is the key.
3. We used the trials we faced to draw us closer, not force us apart
- This also is a conscious choice. We can stake our claim and fight with all we have within us for what is rightfully ours. We can place the blame on our spouse (perhaps justifiably so), but that does not build a strong marriage. In fact, it tears good marriages down. As trials come into our lives, we are to forge a bond with each other that will fight the common foe, not each other. This will result in a powerfully strong marriage.
4. We invested in each other
- Man’s greatest chance at happiness is love and devotion to his wife. Investing in one another is exciting, especially in the process of building up one another. When Gwen started teaching women’s study classes, she needed encouragement. It didn’t take long telling her she was going to make a difference in the lives of countless women (the truth), for it to give her the confidence she needed. I can’t begin to name the number of times she did the same for me.
It’s easy sometimes to get lost in the midst of the hassles of life, or the struggles of marriage. I am not an expert in psychology, nor am I prophet. But I do know that God expects us to love our wives. I know that God expects us to submit to our husbands. In a God-centered marriage, that is never an issue or point of contention.
Question: Do you have any ‘secrets’ that will help others who are struggling? If you do, please share them below.