These are some of the many questions friends and family ask when a couple gets engaged.
If a couple is wise, even before they get engaged, they’ll ask their friends and family some big questions of their own. They will seek advice about developing domestic harmony, having a unified vision for financial peace and confirming their theological alignment. They will beg for insight into the melding of diverse backgrounds into a new family. They’ll gauge others’ opinions on the compatibility of their personalities, callings and life plans. Though these questions take different forms and concern different subjects, they are all essentially asking the same thing: Are we ready to get married?
But after the wedding day, the questions often taper off. Rarely do married couples ask themselves some of the great questions that helped get them to where they are. Having answered the initial question, “Are we ready to get married?” couples forget to ask the ongoing question, “Are we ready to stay married?”
Many of us were at the pinnacle of our creativity when it came to “popping the question” or throwing the wedding party, but in the midst of marriage, we don’t always roll with the same momentum. While preparing for our engagement and wedding, I spent untold hours planning and scheming special surprises, gifts and treats for my bride-to-be in hopes to enliven our affections for one another and demonstrate my devotion to her. One of the biggest differences between then and now is a lack of time dedicated to contemplating how to display my affection. We often fall into the family routine and forget how our spouse loves to be loved. Make time to plan how to creatively demonstrate your love for your spouse.
Having a huge party to celebrate your marriage shouldn’t just be an idea relegated to day one and then shelved until you hit 25 years. As fun as it was to host a reception and go on our honeymoon, it has been just as exciting to plan and take anniversary trips, to hire a babysitter so we can go on surprise date nights, to give each other thoughtful gifts and to have regular times in our schedule where it’s just the two of us. It’s a tremendously beneficial practice to show your kids and your spouse just how grateful you are to be married with a variety of dates, anniversaries, letters and prayers. Find any and every way you can to celebrate the fact that you’re grateful to be married and you’re ready to stay that way.
There is much more to staying married than simply not getting divorced. Staying married involves continuously asking good questions about your marriage. It’s common to get to ask an engaged couple how they are planning their wedding day, but it is rare and precious to get to ask a couple on their 50th wedding anniversary how they made it work.
By asking good questions about marriage each day, we move ourselves toward the sweetness of that day. And we demonstrate to God and to our spouse that, no matter how ready we were to get married, we are ready to stay married ‘til death do us part.
Adam Griffin is the spiritual formation pastor at The Village Church. Read Adam’s blog at: www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/author/adam-griffin/