My younger sister found an old letter from me this week, full of advice about her upcoming marriage. I was a young wife myself when I penned this letter to a new bride, having only been married four years at the time.
I wrote, “Christians must commit themselves to marriage ‘as long as we both shall live’. You two are the kind of people who will work to make your marriage last—with God’s help! The first part of a lasting marriage is commitment—which you have. Decide from the outset that there is no option for divorce, for that is half the battle. Then you’ll have to work out your problems because you know you’ll be together for life.
In addition to your pre-marital counseling, I hope you’ll read a couple of excellent marriage books before the big day! The best book I’ve ever read on marriage is Naked and Unashamed: Recapturing Family Intimacy by Bill Mills. We try to read one marriage book per year, so we’ll keep growing as a couple.
We were counseled before our marriage to take one year out of ministry. We attended church and Bible study, but we did not lead anything. This was excellent advice, as we weren’t under pressure to run all over the place or to focus on others. Instead, we had time and energy to pour into growing our marriage.
We took the television out of the home for that first year. It can become too easy to just watch TV and not spend time communicating, laughing, being intimate, praying together, playing games, and the like. Putting the TV away gave us a lot more time to build our foundation.
One more piece of advice from your big sis…get a few good cookbooks!
I hope this advice is helpful to you. We love marriage and we would never go back. There are times when it is very hard and you will, no doubt, experience those times…but God is gracious and He helps us to say (and mean) those most important words, “I’m sorry”, and “I love you”.
With love from your big sis,
By God’s grace, my sister is celebrating her 14th wedding anniversary this month. I’ll soon celebrate my 18th.