14 Lessons I Learned from 14 Years of Marriage, by Ty Tamasaka
This month, my wife Laura and I celebrate 14 years of marriage.
Being married to Laura has been more of a blessing that I can explain, but it has also been a very different experience than either of us expected. We quickly learned that marriage requires work. Hard work.
When we started out in marriage together, we had no clue what our journey together would be like. All we had were hopes and dreams.
Over the years, I’ve asked couples who have been together for a long time, what they key to a successful marriage is. I’ve learned there is no one key, but below I’ve listed some lessons we’ve learned over the years. Some are observations. Some are directives. Either way, I hope they help in whatever season you find yourself in your marriage.
1 – Find the One. Jesus, not your spouse, is the One.
Don’t put pressure on your spouse to meet the needs that only Jesus can meet.
2 – Never make lasting decisions based on passing emotions.
Don’t make big permanent and lasting decisions based on passing anger, frustration, or depression. This is really hard to do because we are emotional beings and we like to act based on how we feel. Don’t do it. When we make big purchases based on passing emotions that a salesperson exploits, don’t you regret it most times? Refuse to make lasting decisions on passing emotions.
3 – A good counselor is worth the time and money.
We started seeing a marriage counselor when I was in my mid-thirties. We probably should have started when I was in my mid-twenties!
4 – A passionate marriage is not developed in a day. It is developed day by day.
There will be seasons of triumphs to enjoy and there will be seasons of struggle we need to endure. We cannot pray away God appointed seasons of struggle and challenge. You can claim every promise, read every book, and attend every conference, but there are some seasons when you just need to hang on tight and endure. Don’t mind the delays. A passionate marriage is not developed in a day. It is developed day by day.
5 – Your attitude in marriage determines your happiness more than your circumstances.
Not long ago, Laura discovered on her Pinterest account a picture of an elderly couple affectionately holding each other. When speaking of the longevity of their marriage, they said, “We were born in a time that when something was broken, you didn’t throw it away, you fixed it.” What a beautiful picture of marriage. We surely need to learn to keep an attitude like that in our marriages.
6 – Never use the “D” word (divorce).
Don’t use the “D” word (divorce) when you argue. Avoid it like the plague. Instead, use the “C” word, commitment. When you argue, never use the D word! Never.
7 – Don’t fight to win the fight. Fight to resolve the conflict.
In every struggle it is tempting to instantly take on the role of adversaries and try to win over our opponents. Make the effort to tackle the problem instead of your spouse!
8 – Know that some miracles occur gradually.
We’d love it if God changed the relationship immediately, but we’ve found that in marriage, the miraculous often occurs gradually.
9 – A Godly marriage is a journey, not a destination.
We never really “arrive” at a great marriage because it is more of a journey than a destination. It’s important to enjoy the journey rather than stress over the destination.
10 – Be willing to invest the time and money in your spouse – babysitters are cheaper than divorce lawyers.
Does this one really need an explanation? I didn’t think so. It does tie into the next point though.
11 – Schedule a date time… consistently.
We schedule important events in life. We schedule doctor appointments, graduations, and meetings. Date times are important to schedule. Date your wife. Your kids will thank you for it later.
12 – Don’t make the kids the center of your family.
Parents in today’s culture often make children the center of the home. Kids will leave eventually… leaving the home with a big hole. This approach produces kids with high arrogance and low self-esteem. I’ve read that child-centered parenting produces self-centered kids. The best gift to give your kids is a Christ-centered marriage and family.
13 – Forgive quickly.
Not only is forgiving your spouse commanded by Jesus, but it releases the power of God in your marriage.
14 – Figure out how to be a couple again BEFORE your kids grow up.
This is a lesson we are working on right now. The time will come when the kids grow up and move out. We need to have things in common and keep us together BEFORE the kids leave home. Figure out how to be a couple again BEFORE your kids grow up!
I’d love to hear the lessons you’ve learned in marriage. What would you add to this list?
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.