by Phyllis Ducey

My dear friend Janna got married Sunday September 19th. It is hard to believe she is old enough to be married but she is. I'm not sure how long I have known her but I have watched her grow from a charming young girl to a beautiful young woman. And when I say beautiful, I mean inside and out. She is strikingly pretty when you meet her and then as you get to know her you find an incredibly humble God-loving heart inside.

One of Janna's friends suggested that some women who have known her well share their personal insights on marriage. I was unable to attend the wedding but did want to share a little of what has worked for me and my husband. (This past Saturday we celebrated our 39th anniversary.) So Janna... this one is for you! (Hopefully a few others will be blessed by it too.)

Simply put three Cs and a R:

... and Respect

Love is overwhelming for your husband when you first get married. It feels like it will never fade and you both will be together always. But with divorce statistics that say almost one out two marriages end in divorce, we know that it is not what holds people together. At least not that kind of love.
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. "
Eph4:14, 15

Our marriage did not start with Christ as the head of our household but I do think His hand was on us all the way. As the currents of life pulled us one way then the next, we eventually discovered the joy of having Christ our central focus. First and foremost I believe that is what held us during the times when the blissful feeling of love faded in and out. When Christ is your central focus you both are drawing to Him then you are moving in the same direction. Without Christ, it is easy to be drawn any which way and more times than not they are opposite directions.

For those women who love Christ and your husband does not know Him personally... keep praying. It was many years before my husband came to know the Lord after I had. The principle is the same though, follow Christ and the rest will eventually fall into place.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Eph 4:2

The love that the world bases relationships on comes and goes (thus so many failed marriages) but know that love is not the key ingredient to marriage. In my mind, it is Christ first then commitment. Commitment holds you together when you are not sure you even like your spouse at that time. It holds you in place when the times are so rough and so intense you are not sure you can even breathe without falling apart. It holds you when you feel misunderstood or neglected... Christ brings the comfort and strength to you during those times but your commitment not only to Christ but to your marriage is what helps you bridge the gap until you are past that phase. And yes, there are many phases to marriage... both good and not so good.

With Christ as your focus, commitment holding you in place communication will bring you back together. You would think after 39 years of marriage we would have this down pat but we have found that over the years our communication styles change periodically. Since the time we have been a marriage where we both have chosen Christ first, our communications have improved greatly but we still always are working on it.

A simple example is that one day I told my husband I was fixing stew for dinner and mentioned it was one of his favorites. He said no it wasn't. Huh? When did that change? Somewhere along the line he no longer liked it and I had no idea. I assumed that I knew everything he liked but it had changed... the rest of life is like that too. We change our personal goals, our likes and dislikes and without realizing it our methods of communicating. It is always a challenge but certainly is worth the effort to rediscover how we can best communicate and build on our relationship.
"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Eph 5:33

... and Respect
In God's word, He tells men they are to love their wives as themselves. He tells women we are to respect our husbands. God is the head of the church and He designates our husbands as the head of our household. We live in a society of women who are strong willed and very able to live easily without a man in their life. I sometimes think that world view permeates our marriages in such a way we do not allow our husbands to be the head of the household. I am a strong willed woman and it is often a struggle when I think I am right and my husband is wrong. I do express my opinions (hopefully lovingly) but when a decision has to be made and we are not in agreement, my husband gets the final say. (Then I do a lot of praying to convince God I was right and He needs to change my husband's mind... usually the end result is my mind gets changed!)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Heb 12:1

In our marriage we have struggled through some rocky times and I can remember at least once when I looked upon my husbands opinion with disdain and had lost all respect at that moment for him. He said he was going to do something that I thought was totally wrong. It was an evening and I had to leave for work right after the conversation. I turned off the car radio and had a talk with the Lord. I told Him that I had lost my respect for my husband and if I was suppose to have it, He better show me something to respect. God immediately did. He showed me that though the statement my husband made was wrong it was a sacrifice my husband would make to protect his children. He gave me the image of a papa bear protecting his cubs. In the meantime while I was at work, God must have worked on my husband's heart too and he changed his mind. The next several days and weeks were very tough but we were committed to each other, we worked on communicating our feelings (I told him that I respected his desire to protect our children) and drew closer instead of further apart.
"Come near to God and he will come near to you."
James 4:8
Three Cs and a R... that is how I think our marriage has stayed together. After 39 years I love my husband more than ever and enjoy being his wife. Before Christ came into our lives I often think it was a fluke that we were able to stay together. But in reality I know it was because Christ had His hand guiding us towards Him. And as we still strive daily to be closer to Him, we grow closer to each other.
Below are some great shops with wonderful ideas for weddings... no wedding coming up? Check them out anyway because they have lots of great other items too.

Vinyl decal by ARareTreasure

Sterling silver pendant
by CarolMaschlerJewelry

Wine glasses
by HandPaintedPetals

Save the date magnet by mavaro

Wedding favor pouches by NECESSARYINDULGENCE

Eventide sterling silver necklace
by PiedBeauty

Boutonniere pacifier clip
by RhondaDdesigns

Comments (10)

On September 20, 2010 at 1:15 AM , Art and Sew Forth said...

Well Phyllis...congratulations on 39 years! And thank you,as always,for your very open and honest sharing of your struggles. Your 3 C's are excellent...and the R is like the icing on the cake for the husband. May God bless you with another couple decades of joy.

On September 20, 2010 at 2:00 AM , Graceful Moments said...

What a beautiful post and what a thoughtful and lovely gift to give to your young friend! Just like you! I always enjoy your lovely posts and the beautiful choices you pick to accompany them!
Happy Anniversary...39 years! Congratulations to you and your husband! ♥ Vicki/EllieLee :)

On September 20, 2010 at 5:02 AM , Julie Riisnaes said...

Congratulations and thank you for your great advice!

On September 20, 2010 at 7:59 AM , pfd said...

Thank you for the congratulations and kind comments! I remember when we first got married and thought 5 years was a long time... and only people on their last legs hit 39 years... lol! I am very blessed.

On September 20, 2010 at 8:56 AM , MYSAVIOR said...

Congratulations on 39 years of marriage.

Wonderful advise.


On September 20, 2010 at 12:56 PM , Sue Runyon said...

What a wonderful post for your friend Janna and also the rest of us married and not yet married. Great advice. Beautiful item choices too!

On September 20, 2010 at 5:47 PM , Sheryl at Hand Painted Petals said...

What a loving and lovely gift for your friend. It's very inspiring for me and I want to share it with everyone! Such wise words, and written so beautifully. Thank you for including my wine glasses, too. I feel so humbled by their being included here. Thank you again.


On September 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM , cksilver said...

Thank you for allowing God to speak through you so beautifully, Phyllis. Great words of wisdom for all of us! Keep allowing Him to speak through you - it means so much to all of us each week. :)

On September 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM , KippysSoMature said...

((((hugs to Phyllis))))
and praise Him 39 years!!

On October 14, 2010 at 1:32 PM , Melanie said...

I'm a little behind in my reading, but trying to get caught up and this post you wrote is where I am today. It is so, so beautiful and so, so true. Thanks for sharing... a great reminder for me and my marriage today!