How to Build a United Marriage

The mid-morning sun continuously peeked through the trees with considerable curiosity, as if to check out each new face on campus. Who were these students that would soon be walking the hallowed halls? Only time would tell. With each new arrival and introduction, the clang of suitcases, ironing boards, and o their paraphilia could be heard making its way into the empty dorm rooms. I still remember the fear of the unknown that filled my thoughts, while hearing the laughter from returning students who renewed old friendships. Finally, after settling in my dorm room, I walked around with my family to get a feel for what would be my new “home away from home.” I didn’t want them to go. I was scared—being used to having my parents close.

And, then I saw him.

To this day, my heart still pounds as I remember that moment. Lean, 6’3” and wearing the noisiest shoes. What was that sound? It reminded me of the clip-pity-clop of Clydesdales on a cobblestone path. Later, I learned that horseshoe taps were on the heels of all his shoes. As he passed by, giving me a lingering grin, I got a whiff of British Sterling cologne as it wafted through the afternoon breeze. I. knew then that one day I’d catch this handsome hunk and make him all mine.

 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing….” Proverbs 18:22a (NKJV)

Bonnie and Hub on the brink of their wedding day.

Commitment, Chaos, and Consequence:

Hub and I married when we were barely eighteen…just kids. Soon, I learned that we both had a lot of growing up to do. To most people, we’ve beaten the odds, but I know that our journey has had nothing to do with “odds” and everything to do with God’s plan. Having both come from Christian homes, we knew what God expected and all the things we “should” do. However, we seldom went to church, and little by little we grew farther apart. Our arguments were intense. I loved to push his buttons. I wanted to be in charge. After all, I grew up with three younger brothers, and I had always been the boss. But deep down I knew that wasn’t God’s plan.

Verses I’d heard my Dad preach growing up seemed to burn deep within me. I especially recalled a verse in particular, “Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22 (NKJV) The devil perched on my shoulder and said, “Why do you have to submit to him?” It became a vicious cycle. I was feisty. Hot-headed. Quick tempered. And Hub was patient and kind. I often remembered that I had made this marriage commitment until “death do us part.”  (What was I thinking?”) I mean, after all, don’t most people go into marriage commitment with the idea that if it doesn’t work out they can walk away? I knew deep down that surrendering to Hub was key and without it there would be spiritual consequences. I needed to surrender, as unto the Lord. Slowly, I began to learn that I didn’t have to “win.” I didn’t have to be “right.” “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) was a verse I began to practice daily. And God’s blueprint for blessings started to unfold.

Communicating with Clarity:

Over the years, I have learned that one of the main ingredients to any good relationship is communication. What we sometimes think we’ve heard is not what was said or intended. Cultivating good communication requires listening with our ears open and our mouths closed. It also requires consideration, compassion, and listening with our hearts. All too often people are not listening, but rather waiting for their turn to speak. Let me share with you a personal experience that will explain what happens when there’s communication without clarity.

About five years ago Hub came home early from work and called to tell me he planned to cut the grass. I asked him not to because it was 99 degrees outside, and I would rather he waited. He agreed and asked if there was anything he could do for me. Quickly, I said, “Yes! I want you to sit in the recliner and watch golf.” Simple right? Hub is a four-handicap golfer and I knew this was something he would enjoy. His last words to me were that he would do something to surprise me. I’m thinking he’s going to make dinner. But when I parked in the driveway, Hub met me at the car (as he always does) and had me hide my eyes as he walked me into the house and down the hallway. He was beyond excited.

When I opened my eyes, I was speechless. In just a few hours, he’d taken a sledgehammer and knocked down five walls! Why? To build me the closet of my dreams and surprise me. At that moment, I had a choice—to either make a memory or have a meltdown. So, I hugged him tightly and thanked him for my surprise. Communication is key. And clarity with communication is even better!

Loving Unconditionally:

The Bible has much to say about our words and tells us that one day we will give an account for each idle word we have spoken. Marriage is an intimate relationship, ordained of God, where we can share our love, grow together, build up, and strengthen each other. That means words of encouragement count. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV) I challenge you today to use your words for good. Be an encourager. Love your spouse wholeheartedly and unconditionally and watch your relationship flourish and grow. Stop pointing out the shortcomings and start recognizing the strengths.

Christ-Centered Focus:

Much has changed on our marriage journey. I’m no longer the 88 pound cheerleader and Hub is not the hot-shot basketball star averaging 33 points a game (before the three-point shot existed). Looking back, I realize I can’t undo many of the mistakes along the way. None of us can. But we also can’t live life looking in the rear-view mirror.

I’m often reminded that life is truly a vapor. That’s why God says we should learn to number our days. For many of you reading this, someone made the choice for you—maybe a choice where you had no voice. We can’t control what others choose; we can only control our reaction. No matter our circumstance, God is our hope. He’s also the great healer. He’s a God of restoration, forgiveness, and second chances. Love is about giving. And who knows more about love than God? He gave His only son for you. For me.  Give Him your disappointments, your unmet expectations, and hand over your heartaches. He knows and understands. In November, Hub and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. By no means am I an expert, but I do know that the Bible says, “Unless, the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Psalms 127:1 (NKJV).

This is From My Heart~ Bonnie Lovelace

To learn more about Bonnie or to connect with her personally, you can find her bio by clicking the About Us tab at the top of our Homepage.

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