My 17 year old daughter was asking me, her dad….the one who now has TWO marriages under his belt an honest question.
And I felt strangely both unqualified and qualified to answer. And while her age question is relevent, she prompted me into some deeper introspection. Maybe Bailey’s answer can be found somewhere within the following 12 ways I messed up my first marriage, and how things have been and will be so different with Laura:
- Never stop courting her, holding her hand, dating, or opening her door. Being a gentleman, HER gentleman, is a life long calling, not only while you date her.
- Don’t stop trying to be attractive, even if it is only for her. Some of us think that once we get our spouse we can coast. Just the opposite. We should work even harder to look our best (grooming, weight, style, etc).
- Don’t point out her weakness. We choose our focus! Choose to focus on what she does right. Ask God to give you eyes to see her as He sees her.
- Never call her names. Names turn into labels. Labels feed insecurities. The only names we should ever call our spouses are the names that God gives us….chosen, beautiful, helper, lover, overcomer, beloved, etc.
- Don’t stop kissing her. Ever……EVER
- Don’t stop having fun together. Our relationships are energized when we have fun together.
- Don’t stop buying each other Birthday, Valentine, or Christmas presents. HUGE mistake. A gift, no matter the price, communicates value and thoughtfulness.
- Don’t pressure her. Share your perspective, and then respect hers. Find the common ground in between.
- Dont skip out on things that are important to her. It’s not all about you. It’s about her retaining who she is and you retaining who you are while you become one.
- Don’t lose your voice in an important matter just because you are a people pleaser. The result is a resentment that may become fatal to the relationship.
- Don’t separate emotionally from her after a fight. Emotional divorce precedes actual divorce, and that’s a very slippery slope. STAY OFF!
- Don’t stop the romance. Choose today to romance her. And choose to do it again tomorrow.
So what’s the magic age to marry, Bailey? I don’t know. God knows, and together let’s ask Him. But I do know that a healthy marriage takes a focused, intentional, and on going effort…..nothing less. For anything less may be fatal….