Recently, I attended a marriage seminar by Pastor Susan Dunn where she teaches us the key principles from the book Sacred Marriage – what every single needs to know and what every couple needs to practice.
Together with her husband, Derek Dunn, Susan Dunn is the co-founder and Senior Pastor of City Harvest Church in Irvine, Orange County, California, and they have provided counsel and support to many individuals and married couples in their ministry.
In the 2 hours session, Susan shared valuable insights into the institution of marriage and some of the cases she have counseled in her ministry. In this post, I will be sharing some of the marriage tips that I have learned from Susan.
In our modern society, people are continuously deluged and influenced by the media and popular culture of what marriage is like and are completely caught unaware and unprepared for the commitment and problems that lies ahead. Some of the issues faced by married couples can include financial problems, annoying living habits, differing views on raising your children and issues with the in-laws. Today’s divorce rates are between 40 and 50 percent and divorce rates are high even among Christians, but God did not intend for a marriage to be divorced.
1. Fight for your own marriage
The moment you say “I do”, you are publicly declaring your promise and commitment to your spouse. The biggest miracle is the miracle in the marriage itself. The basic fundamental is to fight for your own marriage and fight for your family. Your marriage provides a covering and protection for your children so that they can grow up in a loving and nurturing environment. You are the best role models for your children.
2. When two become one
Does your marriage life become mundane and routine after a while? Seriously, how many movies or dinner dates can you do in a month before things become routine and boring and then you decide to have children to solve the problem, without understanding the true purpose of it. Eventually, things spin out of control and your problems become magnified, the vicious cycle continues…
When two become one…It takes a lot of effort and commitment, more than just bearing your husband’s surname, living under one roof together and sharing household bills. Case in point: Susan shared a case she counseled where the couple was married for 10 years and seems to be the perfect couple in the eyes of everyone, no quarrels whatsoever and they have regular dinner dates together. However, they hardly bonded or communicate, each one living their own separate lives but under one roof. No amount of counseling could help as they had drifted too far apart in the 10 years and eventually, the couple divorced. You really need to take time and effort to understand one another and make your marriage work.
The mission of a marriage is to please God through pleasing your spouse. Try to create a vision and value board at home where you can remind each other of the vision and goals of your marriage and as a family together.
3. Love Freely, Love Strong and Love Unreservedly
In today’s society, people tend to do things in the reverse order. When you are head over heels in love during courtship and dating, you seems to be able to overlook every flaw and love the other party unreservedly but after you got married, you start to hold back and withdraw your love, afraid that your spouse will take you for granted. In actual fact, we need to love appropriately when dating and love freely and unreservedly in a marriage! Do not let your spouse BEG for your love and attention! This is utmost wickedness!
In other words, we need to love freely, love strong and love unreservedly in a marriage. What is love if it cannot be given freely? When you can love yourself appropriately, you can then love others freely. This make a noble man and women out of us when we can show love and acceptance to others. If there is one thing that can change the world, it is LOVE.
4. Servanthood, Sacrifice & Suffering
After the honeymoon period is over, does it become a dreadful chore to serve one another and do things for your spouse? Instead, constantly think of how you can serve your partner and why not start from today? The beauty in a marriage is serving one another lovingly and confronting your own self-centredness and selfishness. You can’t take a vacation from being a husband, a wife and definitely not from being a mother or a father.
Again, do not be misled by the mass media that your marriage will always be romantic and problem free. Believe me, there are bound to be sacrifices involved and suffering. Do not avoid confronting our struggles as it only makes us stronger when we faced them head-on and not run away from them. Problems are inevitable in life, so choose to communicate, resolve and move forward as a couple together.
When you have a strong marriage, God will be honoured as you are a walking and living testimony for Him. Even when lightning strikes, you will still stay strong and resilient together. 🙂
I shall end with a beautiful quote:
“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them–it was that promise.”
― Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
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