This week Rob and I celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary, so I’m looking over my shoulder at year after year of building a life with my husband. Back at the beginning we were facing forward, excited to experience all life could offer two young, broke, and idealistic young people! We knew we wanted to grow children and serve God side by side. We hoped to find meaningful work, see the world, and go deep with friends and family. Our vows spoke our intention to pursue lifelong oneness and love together. But all these dreams needed a firm floor to stand on. Like every other new couple, we had to build a strong foundation to start our marriage right.
In just a few weeks, our oldest daughter will put on a beautiful white gown and speak heartfelt vows to her new husband. Just like us almost thirty years ago, she holds dreams for the future in her heart. She wants to love and be loved as they build a marriage that stands the test of time.
How can a couple prepare their relationship today for whatever comes tomorrow? What can they build into the foundation of their marriage to give it strength? Our guests today, Chris and Jamie Bailey, offer four ways to start your marriage right. By taking their wisdom to heart, newlyweds—and even old married couples like us—can build a joyful and loving relationship.
(For even more of Chris and Jamie’s insight, don’t miss our recent podcast interview! They bring professional expertise, marriage experience, and humor to the table to encourage couples young and old. Click HERE to check it out!)
4 Ways to Start Your Marriage Right
Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. The choice to share those vows with your spouse is one that is designed to be permanent–an “until death do you part” kind of permanent. As beautiful as marriage can be, there’s also a bait and switch component to it as well. All the wonderful things that came so easily during the dating and engagement years now require work and effort.
The truth is that dating is just a little bit easier and more blissful than marriage—it has to be. Let’s be real, if you got a glimpse into all the traits and habits of your spouse, you might not have moved forward into marriage. Even though that may be the truth, marriage can be fantastic and incredibly fulfilling, but it doesn’t just happen naturally. If you want to receive all that marriage has to offer, here are some foundational things you want to be sure to add to your life together.
4 Foundational Things to Add to your Marriage
It is a guarantee that you and your spouse are going to make many a mistake, regrettably say some harsh words, and on more than one occasion let one another down. Be ready to offer forgiveness. It is forgiveness that will prevent roots of bitterness from ever creeping into your marriage. For that reason, be quick to ask for it and to offer it. The more you practice it, the more freely it will flow.
Give your spouse and yourself lots of grace. There’s a big learning curve for newlyweds—make space for that. You likely have entered into your marriage with a lot of expectations. Some you won’t even be aware of until they go unmet. Allow room for you both to figure this marriage thing out by doing the best you can. As a newlywed, pivoting is the name of the game. If something doesn’t work, add grace and pivot.
One of the most powerful mindsets you can have in your marriage is that of sacrificial giving. The dating years are mostly all about receiving, but working on transitioning into a sacrificial way of life with your spouse will be a game changer. After all, out of all the ways Jesus could have demonstrated love for us, He chose sacrifice. It’s always going to be beneficial when you follow His example. And, when both of you are doing it, you will be set up for an incredible marriage.
Keep God in the Center
This is the most important foundation out of them all. Having a God-centered marriage means giving your marriage a higher purpose and allowing God to use it for His glory. By our nature, we often desire to please ourselves or our spouses first. By keeping God in the center of your marriage you will be on mission as a couple to seek to please Him first. When you seek to fulfill all that He calls you to by walking in the Fruit of the Spirit in your marriage, there is no doubt that it will be richly blessed.
On your journey of marriage, you will be sure to get all kinds of marriage advice, some of it good and some, not so much. Develop a “take or it or leave it” attitude when it comes to the recommendations of people. But when it comes to God, remember that His way will always be the best.
Here’s to many years of enjoying your journey!
Chris and Jamie Bailey are professional counselors and marriage coaches who are passionate about helping couples live their best lives together. As the hosts of the Expedition Marriage Podcast, they also speak at retreats and workshops and provide expert, uplifting content on their blog at ExpeditionMarriage.org.
Their latest book, the Newlywed Couple’s Devotional, will bless your marriage and the new couples in your life for years to come.
To WIN A COPY of your own, simply comment on this post or reply to this email with “Newlywed Devotional” to be entered in our giveaway drawing!