In talking with my wife Leslyn we came up with some pointers to pass along after @27 years of successful marriage. We find ourselves happier and falling more in love daily it seems, can't manage to stay mad at each other even when there is a conflict or a difference. Key to it is what i described when we gathered as men recently, and that is daily and prayerfully putting that protective "coat of love" on one another with a fervent embrace. Leslyn says first off choose your mate carefully in fear and trembling knowing it is for life, no going back on that vow and covenant commitment. Then, don't sweat the small stuff, (the little foxes don't have to spoil the vine unless we let them) learning to discern between what is major and what is minor, and how to submit to one another. Save your energy for the major challenges which will surely come, and over time our Lord can teach us not even to sweat THEM, knowing He is working them out with us and through us. Next, don't skip those regular devotions together including praying together. If work schedules prevent them from being daily make sure they are at least regular. We often had to do them separately during the week while in our working years but joined up again on weekends when it was even more fondly appreciated and deeply enjoyed for the anticipation and absence.. I marvel when i think how that the first 2 years or so of our marriage were one continuous devotional because of favorable God-given schedules whereby we were able to lay a solid foundation for the years to come and the trials that loomed. Finally I think of the order of European monks who had a pair of interlocked mountain goat antlers on the wall of their common room reminding them what can happen when two "lock horns" and neither will budge. Those poor goats perished on that mountainside in their stubborn determination! Both partners have to submit, but I believe in certain stalemates ( stale mate, the consequence of the stubbornness is that one or the other, or even both, becomes a "stale" mate) it falls to the husband especially to be the first to humble himself (no matter how right he thinks he is or wrong he thinks she is) to preserve the bond of peace between the two and prevent unnecessary damage to the relationship which is sacred before God.
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