Tips for a Lasting Marriage
Tip #1 STAND FAST!!!
**Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.** Phillippians 4 :1
I’d like to continue the series on True Love, focusing specifically on marriage.
Verse 8 from the fourth chapter of Philippians came to mind as I began to think of common issues that come up in any marriage, in any relationship really. As I read this verse, I felt led to read the entire chapter of Philippians 4. I was happily surprised to find so much good advice in this chapter regarding our relationships. So, today, we’re going to look at verse one and will continue through the chapter for the next several days to deepen our understanding of what True Love is in marriage and in all of our social interactions.
STAND FAST–to firmly remain in the same position or keep the same opinion:
What comes to your mind when you think of Stand Fast?
Commitment, vows, promises, never give up, don’t walk away, be ready to fight for what is right, protect yourself and be ready to defend others. Stand on Solid Ground. Be unmovable. Don’t be swayed. Don’t be distracted. Stay alert.
These are all ideas that come to my mind when I think of the words Stand Fast, are they the same as yours?
Also, standfast means to me that I have to DECIDE that I will not be moved. Every wedding ceremony has the couple declaring their vows, promises that on that day they think that they are going to fulfill because they are living on so much Emotional Love. But it never takes long in any relationship for those vows to be tested.
I’ve heard from young couples over the years something like, “ I promise to be with my spouse no matter what unless they do….. This…” That ¨this¨ may be a variety of things. But this statement from a newlywed tells me they are prepared and have the plan to divorce their spouse when they do something they don’t like. They have also declared this statement to their spouse and so that spouse knows what they need to do if they want to escape their relationship. I see it as a not wise practice.
Now that I’m thinking of it, I actually did say this to my husband Jim early on in our relationship. if you do such and such I’m gone. I was talking about drugs and alcohol abuse. It turned out to be a self-fulfilling statement, because he did do those things but I actually surprised myself when I decided as a Young Bride that I was in it for life anyway. It took us years to work through those issues and if it hadn’t been for God in our life, we probably would have divorced, actually I’m sure of it because we talked about it several times. But one day, my husband started praying fervently for our marriage. And on a separate day, some time later, God spoke to me about forgiveness, and about making some changes in myself so that we could find more common ground.
So, now, my marriage vows are truly unconditional.
Traditional vows encompass a wide range of possible problems that could arise in any relationship. Even though on our wedding day we had no idea what kind of test those vows would come under, once they did, we both understood that it was time for us to grow up very quickly and become students of what a vow really means.
God tells us in the book of Jeremiah, ** I have loved thee with an everlasting love.**
That’s a commitment, a vow that He has never broken. God has always loved his creation and He always will. When we do right, when we do wrong, when we draw close to him, and when we run away, God continues loving us.
So, back to Philippians 1. Standfast. No matter what. In every storm. Don’t surrender. Get up and fight for a lasting marriage!!
The second thing that we can see from Philippians 1 are the words “dearly beloved”, repeated twice. ”Dearly beloved and longed for.” Beloved means much-loved. Longed for is the desire to be with that person that we love so much.
Emotional, sentimental love doesn’t have to only last the honeymoon. It can be rekindled again and again. But it doesn’t come from fairy dust sprinkled over the carpet. It comes from WORK. Standing fast in loving our spouse, as the Spaniards say, Sí o Sí! Yes, or yes! just like …**For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him, Amen.** If God promised it, He will do it. If I say I’m going to love my husband till we die then I’m going to find a way to do it. Sí o Sí.
I know there are many, many, many people that have gone through a divorce. My heart breaks for them because I’ve watched families go through it and it’s a painful, ugly drawn out agony.
If you are one of those many, my advice to you is to forgive yourself and forgive those others that were involved. Today has been cleansed by the new mercies of God. Decide you are going to work to build a better future.
If you are in a second relationship or third or fourth, take some time to stop and think about the vows that you have made or plan to make. Decide that this time will be different. That you’re going to give 150%. That you’re going to learn how to face each issue as it comes with maturity and grace. That you will both learn together to build a lasting relationship with God’s help.
God wants our marriages to succeed, to last a lifetime, because our marriages are a picture of God’s never ending love toward us. Let’s put our marriage before Him and ask Him to show us what we need to do to make it better and that He would show us what we need be so that we can be true to our vows.