Are you looking for the key to happy marriage? The key to long marriage? I think we’re all looking for the key to something. Just think of the things for which you wish you had the key. I need to lose twenty pounds fast; what’s the key to fast weightloss. I wish I had buckets of money; what’s the to getting rich quickly? I wish we had happy, compliant and delightful children; what’s the key to perfect children? O, I wish our home looked like magazine photos; what’s the key to a beautiful and orderly home while raising children?
See, we all want the key – the key to success, the key to thinness, the key to youth — whatever our ______wish, we all know we secretly wish for the key to it. Same with marriage. Women are longing for the key to success in marriage. They think if they could just get a hold of that key – that special formula that would produce or unlock the door to success, they’d finally have a happy marriage – they’d be happy.
Well, here’s the secret: there is no magic key.
There is no magic formula and there is no dot to dot template. There is no ancient secret that only 33% of married couples are privileged to receive. Just like there aren’t people who are ‘just born organized’ or have ‘what it takes’ to have a large family, there aren’t people who just naturally have long happy marriages.
Don’t you just love that word? But. I think it’s probably one of my very favourite words of all words. “But” conveys a whole host of things – it’s like a gigantic stop sign. It says, hey, things were going one way or things might look bad or bleak or hopeless !BUT! things don’t have to be. And here’s why: But God… but God who is rich in mercy…
I’m telling you faith in God is key to just about anything you’ll ever face. If you don’t have faith in God, you — quite literally — don’t have a prayer. That’s what I was meaning when I said yesterday that it is by the grace of God that we have been happily married as long as we have. If it weren’t the Lord who was on our side, I’m telling you truly, we would have capitulated to the great abyss of selfishness, self-centeredness, loss and quite possibly have been another of the casualties of marriage: divorced.
So, I’m going to say that there is a secret – but it’s no secret, really. The key to long marriage (besides physical longevity) is faith in God and the resolute affirmation that in this home – between these two people – now or ever – there will be no divorce. Period. We will strive together – not against one another – to preserve, protect, fortify and strengthen our walk with God, our faith in Jesus and our commitment to be the other for the other. It’s the resolve to say: Sweetheart: I am your other – you are my other and beside you there will never be another and beside me there will never be another. We together are the only other we are going to have. Ever. And by the grace of God, I will learn what it takes to be the best other for you beyond what you could ask or imagine.
Tomorrow I’ll share a bit more… some practical things I’ve learned and am working on – sort of what’s in the fabric of a long marriage.