A guest post by Jeremy LeFevers…
Mine is a story of two “I do’s.” This second time is vastly different than the first. Can a guy with a failed marriage behind him and re-marriage now have anything valuable to say to other married friends? Larry Osborne said, “Wisdom is just remembering our dumb mistakes.” So, I sure hope so!
Here are a few thoughts, and honestly, these bits of advice were never offered to me before. These are obviously not exhaustive, but hopefully helpful.
Confess hidden and present sins.
If you’re struggling with any sin in your life, confess it and get help. Carrying hidden sins will only continue and even be amplified. Guys, if you’re struggling with sexual sin, get help. Get help. Ladies, if you carry fears of abandonment or have experienced abuse of any kind, if you tend to shop till you drop, and have awakened to a drained bank account more times than you care to remember, get help.
Confess. Get help.
Don’t say “I do” until you really do.
Keep Jesus central.
An active life in Christ is critical to a great marriage. He is the glue, the grace, and the only constant. When peace is absent, your time in the Word probably is, too. Spend time with your spouse talking and reading about Him, and sharing Him with others. Live in community where accountability, encouragement, and support are evident. Confess sin to one another. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” and be equally ready to offer forgiveness and extend grace.
Communicate with words.
Jesus is the only mind-reader. As clearly and as plainly as possible, ladies, tell us what you want us to know. Have us repeat it back to you to ensure that we understand what you are saying. Repeat if necessary! Guys, if you’ve maxed out your word bank for the day, too bad! The conversations you have with your bride are second only to your prayer life. You cannot regularly withhold conversations from your bride. Wives, show grace here on occasion.
Words carry weight. Weigh them carefully. Use words of encouragement, love, admiration, and praise often—not sparingly.
You will fight. If you don’t, you either live alone, or you’re a liar.
When you fight, take a step back mentally, wait out that necessary 5-10 seconds, and breathe. Regroup. Call to mind your vows. Remember that you promised to come second. Remember that the way you respond reflects the Gospel of Jesus at work in your life. Then respond in love.
If your fights are about heavy, hard things, you need to get someone else—a pastor or community group leader—to help.
Woo and pursue
Be intentional when you’re planning to woo and pursue! Ladies, plan a man date! Treat him to some of his favorite things and enjoy them along with him. Guys, take Google’s advice for ways to romance your bride. You got the girl, now work to keep her. Enjoy one another. Laugh. Dream. Pursue.