Monday, October 15, 2012

Marriage Success Strategies: 1. Decide

This post is the first in a series.

To make a marriage last, what has to happen first? Two couples start out equally happy and in love. One pair grows and glows, more and more over time, until one spouse dies. The other turns from joy to misery in just a few short years. Why? Could it be due to the presence or absence of a deliberate decision, made at the outset, to pursue and develop a successful marriage?

Michael Hargrove was at the airport in Portland, Oregon, when he noticed an unknown man whose family greeted him as he arrived. Hargrove noticed the obvious passion between this stranger and his wife and children (two sons under ten and a daughter less than two). They exchanged warm embraces, affectionate words, and delighted expressions. Hargrove was impressed to learn that the couple had been married twelve full years and that they had been separated for just two days. Hargrove felt compelled to tell the man, “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

Hargrove writes:

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with a forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend … decide.”

Source: A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul, by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Believe it or not, a happier marriage does not begin with a miracle, a new house, more money, or different children! It does not come about accidentally or automatically, just because two people become husband and wife. It starts with a decision. That decision, made at the beginning, made every day, and made for the long haul, determines to a large degree the success of that marriage. That decision encompasses choices that lead to “happily ever after.” These choices include the following.

● I will put God first in my marriage. I will look at my marriage as He does, and I will glorify Him in my role as a husband or wife. I will imitate Jesus in thought, word, and deed.

● I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, for my marriage to thrive and flourish. I will change myself, getting better and better at marriage every day. I will become the person that my spouse thought he or she was getting when we said, “I do!”

● I will act in such a way that my spouse will say, at the end of each day, “I’d choose you again.” I will look my best, act my best, and be my best. I will earn his or her trust and respect every day. I will help create the kind of marriage that every person would love to have.

● As much as it depends on me, my marriage will last a lifetime. We will enjoy each other, share our blessings and challenges, and grow old together. When we near the end of this journey, we will still be holding each other’s hand and each other’s heart.

Do you want to have a happy, successful marriage and family? “Don’t hope, friend … decide.”

Cory Collins

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