One of the things I cannot understand about our society is why there is so little training for our children and adolescents on building and maintaining a successful marriage. Even in our churches we are lucky to get a few hours of premarital counseling by someone who may or may not be qualified to help us. They typically follow a book with a couple of pat answers that are good and even relevant but surely not exhaustive.
The ironic thing about this is that the same people in your life who offered little or no help in preparing for a good marriage and training on how to better love your wife, are often the same people with all kinds of advice when things start going wrong. And even setting aside the fact that they are a day late and a dollar short, so few really have the answers that you need to strengthen your marriage.
A lucky few of us have family members and close friends who are full of wisdom in the art of love and are additionally willing to take the time to invest in the lives of others. But for many of us, we don’t have a single marriage relationship we can identify that is an example of what we hope for in a great marriage.
That is why I have found it so important to talk to my wife about these things. Fortunately we had discussed prior to getting married what we both wanted in a great marriage. And even though we are nowhere close to having a perfect marriage, we are both working towards the same thing and even more importantly we are doing the same things together to get there. Because we talk about the things that we have to do in our marriage to improve it, we are on the same page. We are both putting forth efforts on the same front. That gives us power, that gives us momentum, that gives us the strength of two.
I remember a quote that went something like, “I cannot give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a surefire formula for failure. Try to please everybody all the time.” I thought of this in context here because I think one of the reasons that Janine and I work so well together is that we are trying to please each other, not everyone else.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. If you have the desire to radically change your marriage, and to improve it in a significant way than start today by talking about it with your wife. Share your thoughts and dreams about the future of your relationship. Ask her the same. Find out everything she thinks about as it relates to this. Don’t be judgmental about any of the ideas that either of you have. Just get the thoughts out together. You will have plenty of time to discuss them. To weigh each objective against the others and set priorities. But work on the same ones together.
If you will take the time to find out what your wife thinks about your marriage, where it is, where it is going, and how to get there, you will be able to truly have the great marriage that each of us wanted the day we asked our wives to marry us. We can become so comfortable in our marriage and even more, so lackadaisical, that we don’t even take advantage of the only other person in the whole world who could have a matching desire to our own for a magnificent marriage.