Keys to Success

What are the keys to success in marriage? When I first got married, I knew that part of my marriage commitment involved loving my husband with all my heart and to even set aside some of  my own desires. One of the sacrifices I made was to move to the USA. At first, Leon and I considered living in Ecuador. As a loving husband, Leon tried to find a job in Ecuador, but as we prayed and asked God, I knew in my heart that God wanted us in the USA. This was not easy for me. Leaving family, friends, my church, Ecuadorian food, language, and culture would be a sacrifice, but I did it for love.Marriage is full of sacrifices like this. For love, we must think of our spouse first. Some sacrifices seem easy at the beginning of a relationship and others are harder, but the closer a couple becomes, the more sacrifices there are to make. The compromises might include spending less time with friends, taking on new responsibilities or chores, watching a romance instead of an action adventure, feeding the baby at 2 a.m., or moving to another country or state. Another sacrifice we make in marriage is choosing to actively listen instead of being the talker. Most people want to be heard and understood, but struggle to listen attentively. If we're honest, many of us are thinking about what we want to say while our spouses are talking. I think of the words from John 15:3, when I face a hard choice in marriage. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Although most of us won't be called to literally give up our lives for our spouses, we are called to think of our spouse's needs before our own. Making sacrifices is an important part of growing mature in a marriage relationship. Besides making daily sacrifices, how do you build a great marriage? You could buy 100 different books on the topic and get 100 different answers. The truth is, growing a great marriage cannot be whittled down to a formula or doing life a certain way. For each couple, the keys to success are a bit different. Still, building a successful life together with your partner involves starting with the blueprint for successful living, the Bible. In her book on marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn states it this way,"Highly happy couples tend to put God at the center of their marriage and focus on Him, rather than on their marriage or spouse, for fulfillment and happiness. 53% of Very Happy Couples agree with the statement, "God is at the center of our marriage" (compared to 7% of Struggling Couples).” (pg. 178, Highly Happy Marriages) In my relationship with Leon, putting God first and being willing to make sacrifices has had a huge impact and kept our marriage thriving for over 26 years!