Marla Smart: Six things I have learned in my marriage

Saturday, July 27, marks the 22nd year of our wedding anniversary. Looking back to that day, I don’t think that young woman knew what she was in for. It’s probably safe to say most young marriages start off with couples wearing matching rose colored glasses. Ours was no different.

Oh, we thought we understood it all. What 20 year old doesn’t?

We thought we were completely ready for what was coming. In the past 22 years, we have experienced miscarriages, deaths, divorces, job loss, long distance moves, money problems, the list goes on...I can chuckle about it now. I now know not to expect anything but the unexpected.

Here are six things I have learned in my marriage.

Be friends first and foremost.

Your relationship hopefully started with something bigger than physical attraction. Just as you would get to know any other friend, take time to truly know your spouse. Our wedding invitations were printed with Song of Solomon 5:16:

“This
is my beloved,
And this is
my friend...”

We took it to heart.

Find the relationship roles that fit your marriage best.

For so long, I was under the impression that there was only one role for each person in a marriage. But some people are not suited to the very traditional role assignments (i.e. Husband goes to work and brings home the money. Wife stays home to care for the home and family.) It’s ok to find what works for your family and do it that way.

Look for a Godly example of marriage to follow.

When Jerry and I married, we had some amazing mentors in our lives. Scott and Kim, the leaders of our College and Career group, modeled marriage well for us. They were there when we had our first big disagreement right before we got married and helped us overcome that obstacle with wisdom and calm.

There will be disagreements, bank on it!

Be willing to compromise, negotiate, forgive, and let go. If you are willing to give of yourself in that way, your spouse will as well. We are not perfect. Hurtful words have been spoken and apologies had to be made. Learn and grow from these times.


Kids shouldn’t end your friendship with your mate.

In fact, your kids will suffer if your marriage is suffering, and it will if you are not friends. Go out of your way to keep your relationship healthy. Date nights, or just long talks alone, are as important twenty years into your marriage as they were while you were courting.


Storms will come.

Lean on your partner for strength. We have a pretty long list of storms we’ve weathered in our marriage. Very few were expected, none were pleasant. If Jerry and I had chosen to push each other away during those times, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are now.

Any relationship worth having is not easy. I love my husband and our marriage is important to me. I know I have so much more to learn about doing it right. I think I’m going to direction I should, though.

Happy Anniversary, my Love!


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:30PM Published Aug 5, 2013 01:44PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.