Your Marriage Can Last a Lifetime
I am a newlywed and I want my marriage to last a lifetime. Can you offer me some insight to help my marriage last for more than two or three years? Mrs. James
Dear Mrs. James,
I think one of the major keys to the survival of any marriage is for the couple to understand that the relationship must go through various developmental stages to create a lifetime of blessings. Unfortunately, many people fail to realize this and dissolve their marriage in divorce court before they really begin to enjoy some of the lifetime benefits of a solid biblical marriage. Let me explain what I mean.
I believe the first stage of marriage is an emotional carryover from the dating years. The newlyweds are usually filled with romantic ideas about everything they experience. They think they should be the center of one another's world and the central focus of everything that occurs in their mate's life. Some women expect to receive flowers two or three times a week, while some men get married expecting their new wife to satisfy all of their sexual fantasies.
However, many couples fail to recognize that the erotic love of newlyweds should grow into a deeper kind of love that seeks to benefit their spouse, instead of their own selfish desires. Notable problems in many marriages usually occur at the onset of this transition period. I like to call this transition period the second stage of marriage.
To survive the second developmental stage in marriage, I believe couples must be willing to make a sincere effort to understand one another's philosophy about life. The wife may need to work at understanding why her husband finds it difficult to justify a weekly florist bill (to satisfy her romantic ideas about receiving flowers two or three times a week). On the other hand, the husband may need to develop more realistic expectations in the bedroom. He may need to cast aside some of his fantasies and modify a few of his expectations, based upon the personal temperament and desires of his wife. (This, however, does not mean she has a right to deny him sexual pleasure for an extended period of time, at least, based upon what the Bible teaches on the subject in 1 Cor 7:5 KJV).I believe the couple who can successfully chart the rocky waters of the second developmental stage of marriage will be on the road to enjoying the truly rewarding experiences only found in the third developmental stage of marriage.
I believe the third developmental stage represents the time in marriage when a couple has begun to truly appreciate the personal differences in one another; things that they may have misunderstood and criticized during the second developmental stage in their marriage. Stage three couples have typically learned to ignore, and even laugh about some of the hang-ups and weird habits their spouse has. Yet, their love for one another has increased and grown deeper. They have seen their marriage go through some of the storms of life and now realize how blessed they are to have a marriage partner who has stuck with them through the best of times and the worst of times.
Verses to Remember
(1 Cor 13:8 NIV) Love never fails…
(1 Cor 7:5 NIV) Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.