Aug 262018 0 Responses

Who Inspires You Toward a Better Marriage?

For me, it was my grandparents. When I consider how to have a better marriage, the marriage of my mamaw and papaw have many of the elements I desire. Granted, a grandson is biased and I wasn’t privy to many of the details of their lives. Yet I hope my grandchildren think of me and Jenny the way I think of my grandparents. I can’t think of them separately. They are forever joined in my mind with their love for each other defining them. They weren’t perfect, but they were awfully good and they were very good to each other.

I want that to be said of me and Jenny.

See It To Be It

You can’t be something unless you can see it. Without a visual picture of what success looks like, failure is nearly certain. We need a model (or better yet we need many models) that can show us the way toward a better marriage. This is the great hindrance to many people having a successful marriage. They’ve never seen one. Many well-meaning couples pledge their earthly lives solely to each other with no chance of them ever navigating the stresses of life together. Divorce is nearly certain because they have no framework in which to comprehend how to have a good marriage. They will do what comes naturally and when life takes enough of a toll, they will go their separate ways.

Thankfully, no matter the personal experience of individuals, we can find couples whose marriages are worth emulating. No one around us is perfect, but many couples have something to give. In their unique circumstances, they have found a way to develop meaningful habits, design a good life, and have a lasting love which others desire.

The Gift of Community

One of the things I love about pastoring a church is the diverse community I engage with on a weekly basis. Within that community, there are couples (and individuals) from a variety of settings who make my marriage better.

Widows and widowers who speak fondly of their spouse, motivate me to appreciate the time we have together.

Couples who have been married for decades inspire me to create a marriage which lasts.

Those who are just a decade ahead of us encourage us to navigate our current season.

Peers of the same age let us know our struggles are not unique.

Younger couples remind us of days gone by and how grateful we are to have come this far.

Jenny and I have many couples who encourage us to love one another. No one has shown us a perfect marriage, but many have modeled a consistent, faithful love which inspires us to live our wedding vows.

Who Is Your Model?

When you think of marriage, who do you want to be? Hopefully, you can quickly think of at least one couple whose marriage you appreciate and whose attributes you want to emulate. Beyond one couple, it’s wise to consider the relationships of many different people and find aspects of those relationships to influence your own marriage.

I’ve long said that every couple needs a couple. In each season of life, you need to have someone you look to as an inspiration of how to love your spouse better. Don’t idolize anyone. Every relationship has flaws and no one is perfect. Yet don’t write the false story that every marriage is bad. They aren’t. I’m surrounded by people from a variety of ages and backgrounds who have built meaningful relationships which are worth desiring.

Honor Those You Emulate

Have you ever told someone that you appreciate them and their marriage? Here’s your chance. Leading up to the kickoff of my next marriage book, Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love, and Last, I want to highlight four couples who inspire others toward a better marriage. One couple will be recognized because they laugh, one because they love, and one because they have lasted. The fourth couple will be someone who symbolizes all of these characteristics.

I would like to interview them and spotlight them both through a written article on my website and a video for social media. And for one couple, Jenny and I would like to take them (and whoever nominates them) to dinner (if they live close enough or we will send a gift card and you can take them to dinner if you live outside of our area).

Here’s how to nominate someone:

Share this post on social media with an introduction of who you are nominating and why. Highlight their laughter, love, lasting, or all three qualities. Write a brief explanation telling others why you picked them. Simply tag me on the post or email me a screenshot of the post.

It’s that easy. In a week, we will pick the couples. I’ll send them a book and thank you note for modeling a healthy marriage to others. We will try to arrange an interview. And for one couple, we will work with you and them to set up dinner either at our house or a nice restaurant.

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