Is Your Marriage in Right Order?
On my wedding day, nine year ago, I told my dad, “I feel like I finally made it to the starting line!” I was determined to grow in love and happiness with my wife exponentially for the rest of my life.
Today, I still conscientiously put my marriage first before all other human relationships and that has made all the difference.
It is painful for Katy and me to see so many couples who are no longer growing in loving communion with one another. I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to live without having marriage in right order.
Too many married men and women let something mediocre waylay them from the most enriching human adventure on the planet.
Sure, some people have their priorities way off. Substance abuse, entertainment addictions, and adult video gaming are growing cultural problem. But other lesser goods can get in the way of marital bliss, as well. Raising children, work, friends, exercise, church or volunteer work can all distract us from the most rewarding enterprise of a lifetime.
4. work (vocation)
These are my top four. What comes after that is not as important as getting these first four in right order. (Yes, believe it or not, being a Marine Corps veteran is not in the top four. I got over that some time ago.)
‘God first’ is obvious, but difficult to quantify. A wise Catholic priest once told me, “Let the measure you love your spouse be the measure of how much you love God.”
It’s not really possible to be both holy and selfish. Who else in your life can hold you accountable for selfishness better than your spouse? I rest my case.
THREE TIPS FOR ENJOYING A HAPPY MARRIAGE
1. Read several books on marriage. Decide to become an expert spouse. We read to further our career, to grow in our relationship with God, and to become better parents. We also need to read about marriage.
2. Frequently ask forgiveness. Forgiveness sets us apart as Christians. No other religious people enjoy the freedom forgiveness brings to personal relationships. Every marriage needs a re-set button. Asking forgiveness, often, is that chance to make a fresh start.
3. Go all in with your spouse! Don’t give 50% to your spouse; don’t compromise; don’t meet half-way. Give 100% and see what happens! Expect nothing and give everything! Be enthusiastically grateful for the littlest acts of kindness from your spouse. Make a game out of outdoing your spouse in everything good. I believe you will find you had no idea what happiness truly is.
I had a buddy in the Marine Corps who got mad at me for buying Katy flowers, once. “You’re making us all look bad,” was his response. I’m thankful his conscience bothered him enough to care.
If you are the man, go buy some flowers and win her heart with something she enjoys. If you are the woman, cook his favorite meal and wear something he can’t resist. It’s not that hard. Just do it.
I never heard anyone say at the end of his life, “I wish I had been more selfish.”
We need to debate marriage less and live marriage more. If we were all wildly in love with our spouse, the world would want to imitate us, instead of suffering through the vapid imitations of marital love we are subject to today.
As Saint Seraphim said, “If you want to change the world, be a saint.” Aspire to virtuous, spousal greatness! Be the person you want everyone else to be. No excuses; no passing the buck. You do it.