When I walked in to the marriage seminar "Modern Family" hosted by Calvary Chapel Puerto Rico, taught by Pastor Dan Crespo, I had one question on my mind: Is it possible to have a perfect marriage? After almost five hours of note taking, what I learn was absolutely mind blowing.
The example that most of us have had tells us that the answer to this question is no. It seems like most of our generation's parents divorced (including mine) or never even got married in the first place; a good majority of us Millennials came from a single parent background. As I talk to my friends and listen to their thoughts and opinions, I have found that a lot of them do not believe in marriage and see no point in saying "I do" to legally and financially bind themselves to another person forever.
But, there is so much more to marriage than money and paperwork. There is something so gratifying and comforting in knowing that there is a person who will love and support you unconditionally. Marriage is about finding a partner who will trudge through difficult situations by your side, and who will also be there with you creating the best moments of your lives. It is about finding your best friend, a person who cannot live without, a life long companion.
No marriage is perfect, but every marriage can be fulfilling in every possible way.
In order to achieve harmony and blissful joy we first have to understand the purpose of marriage (to be one with another) and the purpose of life (to be one with God). You don't believe me, read Genesis 2:23-24, and John 14:1-4. You see, by focusing on pleasing God, we will ultimately please each other and our selves.
What does it mean "to be one with God"? Read John 17:20-21, Ephesians 13-14 & 2:10-13, Colossians 1:27, and Philipians 3:10-11. As you can see, it is really a lot more simple than people think. The answer is Jesus. In order to be one with God, we must accept that Jesus is God in the flesh, that he was punished and died for our sins, and that he rose from the grave proving that he can conquer anything, even the inevitability of death. To be one with God, we must take up our cross everyday and live with Jesus as our example, trying to be like him in every aspect of our daily lives.
Now you're probably wondering, what does it mean "to be one with each other"? This is where things get a little bit more complicated. Our society tells us that we should worry about making ourselves happy and then worry about others, but in order to become one with someone else we must die to our self. That means that all instead of thinking about what is best for you, you should constantly and consistently be thinking about what is best for your spouse. Worry about their comfort, their troubles, and their well being.
This can be a lot more complicated than it sounds, so to help guide us through the challenge of letting go of our autonomy, here are 5 things you need to know that are absolutely essential to achieving oneness with your spouse.
1. Spiritual Companionship.
- Pray together
- This is the most important thing a couple should do! By praying together not only do you grow closer to God as a team, you learn about one another. Listen to what your partner is praying about so that you can understand each others soul and inner most desires.
- Read the bible together
- Not only is reading to each other incredibly romantic, it will help you both learn about Jesus and grow spiritually by applying what you learn to everyday situations.
- Talk about your thoughts and beliefs about God and His Kingdom, without judging each other, without laughing, and without getting angry about what the other has to say.
- Believe it or not, God actually wants us to be sexually fulfilled (Read Genesis 1:28)
- That means you must have sex unselfishly and you must never deny sex to your spouse (Read 1 Corinthians 3-5)
- Talk to each other and be honest about your sexual needs, then reach a compromise, but never assume that your sex life is "good enough". Make sure that BOTH of you are completely satisfied.
- Make out! Remember those times when you couldn't keep your hands off of each other and rekindle that passion!
- This might be difficult, but talk about what makes you happy, angry, and sad, and why. It is vital to know what makes your partner tick, so that you know which buttons to press, and which not to.
- If you or your spouse finds this impossible it is probably because one of you has a hard heart. There is a conflict that was left unresolved and now you are left feeling hurt, angry, resentful, or bitter. If you continue on with that unresolved problem this is the cycle that you will eventually find yourself falling into: hurt ---> anger ---> resentment ---> bitterness ---> divorce. My advice if you are feeling any of these things is, talk to your spouse and find a way to deal with it and overcome it together!
- Make every single decision together! Not matter how big, or how small, the more things you confront and deal with together the better.
- Laugh and cry together.
- Read 2 Corinthians 2:4. You should feel for each other the way that Paul feels for the Corinthians. He cries for them and rejoices with them I'm sure, but he passionately admits to them when he is feeling emotional. It should not embarass you because if you can't cry in front of your best friend then who can you really count on?
- Be on the same page when it comes to your kids. How many you want, what kind of education they will receive, how you will discipline them, etc., and reach a compromise. It is best to have this conversation a few times before you get married just to be sure.
- If you did not have this conversation before you got married and reach a point where you cannot agree on something, get a second objective opinion (a mediator) and talk about it until you find a solution.
- Be 100 percent honest with each other about your expectations and desires for your children.
- Last but not least by far, HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
- Find a common hobby, watch TV together, read to each other; find something to do, anything just do it together!
- Have a date night at least once a week
- Take little trips together ALONE. Even if it is just spending the night in a hotel room every six months, you will appreciate that special time with each other.
The most important thing is to enjoy each other. Remember all the reason why you got married, write them down and look at them every day if you have to. But never forget that you married that person because at some point you thought to yourself "wow, I can't live without him/her".