I guess a series on marriage wouldn't be complete without dealing with the more "practical" side of marriage. I confess this is not an area I feel comfortable discussing, but the need is so great that I feel I must mention it. I've seen some long-standing marriages of highly respected people in my life disintegrate in the last few years, and it shook me to the core. If I can issue a warning to myself and others and save even one marriage, I will be eternally grateful.
- Be affectionate always. Most of us have seen an older couple, married for many years, holding hands and thought, "Oh, how sweet!" Why? Sadly, it is unusual to see couples married more than a few years being openly affectionate. Why does it matter? Most people never see your marriage up close and personal. In this world of skyrocketing divorce rates and broken homes, many have never seen a marriage worth imitating. The little glimpse they see of a couple holding hands, smiling into each others' eyes or walking arm in arm may be all they ever see of a Christian marriage. What a testimony to the beautiful love of God! Your children need to see it. My parents have always been openly affectionate, and it gave us children a security that we subconsciously understood before we could express. Even if no one else is watching, it sends a positive marriage to your husband when you are willing to show him affection. It tells him, "She loves me and doesn't care who knows it. She must be proud to be my wife." After all, isn't that how you feel when your husband surprises you with a peck on the cheek in the middle of the mall?
- Guard yourself carefully. Yes, I mean around other men. It disturbs me when even Christian women are flirtatious or careless in touching men other than their husbands. I want to be careful not to offend, but isn't a friendly handshake sufficient? It's so easy for the devil to tempt us in these areas, and no one is above temptation. Maybe some are rolling their eyes, but my relationship with my husband is so precious, I would never want to harm it in any way. He feels the same about me.
- Fulfill each others' needs. You knew it was coming, didn't you? Actually, I am going to be chicken and refer you to another post about this aspect of marriage. Jess' post at Making Home says it better than I can. She is talking to Christian married women very practically. I may not be quite ready to blog about this, but that doesn't mean I don't feel strongly about it. I'm not about to give God's beautiful plan for marriage over to Satan. I hope you won't, either.