• Heidi J. Smith

Marriage Tips from 20 years

Last weekend my husband and I snuck away to celebrate our 20th anniversary, while my sweet mother-in-law watched our four kids.

Nestled along the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois, Galena offered a charming retreat with shops and restaurants lining the streets and smells of Italian food, chocolate, and candles waffling through the air.

The sun warmed our faces as we moseyed in-and-out of shops, kayaked down the river, and slid down the waterslide in the hotel:)

As we relaxed, we reflected on the last twenty years and the lessons learned and-those-still-being learned. We are not experts and have lots to work on, but we are together by God's grace.

What are the lessons we are learning?

1. See the positive. Sometimes I get so caught up in the things that I want changed in my spouse, that I miss ALL the good things he is doing. And I can't change him, but I can work on changing me.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to fix our minds on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, and worthy of praise.

2. Speak edifying words. Why can I speak kind words to others, yet struggle with my words to my husband? Is it because he loves me regardless? Yet, words hold power to build up or destroy.

I can remember hurtful words spoken several years ago, but also remember encouraging words pushing me outside my comfort zone. How much more in my relationship?

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

3. Squeeze in quality time. Juggling work, family, church, and chores is busy. But I invest in what I value, and my marriage is worth it. Quality time requires intentional planning and maybe even asking others to help, yet the return is worth it.

Quality time prioritizes my relationship with God first and then my spouse second. It requires saying NO to good things in order to say YES to the best things.

As the world rushes by, may we fight for our marriages on our knees. May we cherish our spouses by seeing the positive, speaking kind words, and squeezing in quality time.

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Heidi J. Smith