Someone has said, “Marriage is like flies on a windowsill. Those on the outside want in, and those on the inside want out.”
Well, I’ve got better news. It’s possible to be on the inside of marriage and want to be there. I’ve been on the inside my entire adult life. As soon as I saw Sue, I thought, “She’s the one for me.” As soon as she saw me, she thought, “He’s really weird,” (in an adorable way, I assume). We were hitched at 18.
Nobody is the oracle of wisdom on marriage, but Sue and I still like each other immensely, so something has gone right. But it’s not because we’re unique. It’s because of the consistent application of principles anybody can apply. Here are three that have kept Sue and me deeply in love.
No force. We allow one another a lot of space to be ourselves. Freedom is the operating system of reality. Freedom is risky, but it’s the only relational dynamic in which love can thrive. Early in our marriage, I tried to control Sue, but she quickly eradicated that foolishness from my head. Because we give each other this freedom, we can feel completely secure with one another.
“Silly boy, that was yesterday, and this is today….”
Lots of playfulness. Scripture portrays the ideal romantic relationship as playful: “Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon” (Song of Songs 1:7). Sue and I have never allowed a spirit of heaviness or distance to linger long between us. We engage in a lot of relational play and laughter.
Quick forgiveness. One time I did something to hurt Sue. Seeing her tears, I was flooded with guilt and immediately apologized. The next day, still feeling guilty, I apologized again. She looked at me and smiled, “Silly boy, that was yesterday, and this is today. How do you want your eggs?” Forgiveness should be given as quickly as possible. If you are going to keep love alive, an almost ongoing forgiveness will need to be your default mode.
If you found these principles valuable, drop us an email letting us know that you’d like an article that explores three more. For now, it’s my prayer that you’ll make a choice to keep your marriage free from coercion, full of playfulness, and quick with forgiveness.