A few weeks ago, there was a story in the major news media about a couple who had been married for 72 years and died within one hour of each other. As a nation, we collectively stood amazed at the longevity—not only in years, but in commitment—of these two people. These days, marriages lasting twenty years seem to exceed the norm.
I believe people want to stay married to the same person. The couples I meet with who are in the midst of relational crisis, would rather patch things up then split up. But staying together seems to be incredibly difficult. So many things conspire against marriages that are strong and unified—work, communication style, personality conflicts, finances, and the list goes on and on.
The truth is, marriage is tough work. It is a clash of cultures (the way things were in her family and the way things were in his). It is a communication landmine (what he hears is not what she means and vice versa). It is an exercise in self-denial (not my will but thy will be done!).
I’m convinced that the people who stick it out and stay married to the same person for decades fall into two categories. Either they are too stubborn to give up but they are miserable all along the way, or they have learned the secret of continually finding beauty in their spouse. Of the two, I’d rather fall into the second category—I don’t find stubborn misery particularly appealing.
There are so many reasons why we should fight for our marriage—especially men. All the studies show that men live longer and are healthier and make more money when they are in a long-term committed, monogamous relationship. Both men and women report that their sex lives get better and better the longer they stay married. And lets be honest, the grass isn’t really greener on the other side. The minute we think things would be better if we just got out of our marriage and into another, we have simply bought into a lie.
So what are we to do with this most difficult but most rewarding of institutions? We must invest wisely. We must utilize a buy and hold strategy with continual reinvestment. We must be willing to wait out the highs and lows while we keep our eyes on the prize. We must keep adding to our initial investment little by little. When we do, we will have plenty to live on when it is time to retire!
We don't invest in our marriages with cash deposits (although I have seen it to be useful), but with steady deposits of love. These deposits are made through little acts like writing your spouse a love letter, taking them out on a date, and helping out with the chores around the house. They are also made by the difficult acts of putting your spouse's desires first, choosing to speak their love language instead of your own and deciding to believe the best always. Invest in these ways and hold on and you'll be ready to enjoy the fruits of your investment.
So my question to you is this, are you using the right strategy for investment for your marriage? Are you investing for the long term or are you jumping in and out and can't decide what positions to hold from one day to the next? The pastors in Kings County would love to help you learn to invest in your marriage wisely and then maybe we'll be reading about you and your spouse holding hands after 72 years of marriage.