Thirty-eight years ago today, I married my love, Linda Augsburger. It was a cold, icy evening in Youngstown, Ohio when we shared with each other the vows we had written to each other before God, our family and friends. As much as my heart was bursting with love for this beautiful woman, I can honestly say that on our wedding night, was one of the days I loved her the least. In other words, I love her much more deeply now than I ever dreamed of back then.
As a pastor and police chaplain, I’ve done hundreds of weddings over the decades. I often read the best definition of love that I know of: “Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (The Bible -1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV).
After reading this unsurpassable definition of love to a couple that I’m uniting in marriage, I frequently share four words that are important in making sure their love will flourish and grow in the years to come:
FLEXIBILTIY – Adjust as needed and be aware of the natural tendency toward being selfish, rigid and self-centered.
FORGIVENESS – No one is perfect. Everyone blows it. We all make mistakes. Forgive frequently.
FAITH – Nurture your relationship with God as individuals and as a couple. Marriage was God’s idea from the start, just look at the plumbing. He designed us to be physical, emotional, relational and spiritual beings. He wants to be a part of our marriages.
These four basic practices have kept our marriage developing and prospering into a greater love than I would have ever imagined 38 years ago! I’m looking forward to the future with my incredible wife!
QUESTION: What have you found brings success to a marriage? Please share it in the comment section below.