It seems like it was just yesterday that I was a sophomore in high school and met Russ for the very first time. My heart fluttered the first time we spoke and when I found out he was a preacher’s kid.
He was everything I ever imagined my future spouse to be—a Christian, seeking to be more like Christ, handsome, smart, treated me like a lady and made me want to be more adventurous.
We got married on June 5, 2010. I turned 20 right before we married and he was 19. We heard the comments from people who did not even know us over and over again, “Good luck making that work!” “Wait until the honeymoon phase is over …” “Hope it lasts!”
Is this the marriage advice people give nowadays? Maybe that is what is wrong with marriages today—instead of bathing couples in prayer, encouraging them and helping equip them for marital success, to many times, people poke fun, tear down and laugh because society believes marriages are doomed to fail. We must change our mindset and learn to invest in marriages and help set them up for success.
Thankfully, Russ and I both came from families that were extremely supportive, because they were bathing our relationship in prayer and encouraging us to stay active in church, read God’s Word together, pray together and avoid even thinking about divorce.
We’ve both come in contact with numerous young married couples lately who are separated, threatening divorce or are planning to file for a divorce. They often say that they have fallen out of love.
Love is more than a feeling, it is more than the butterflies in your stomach. Love is a lifelong commitment. Love is facing obstacles together, leaning on Christ together and learning to lean on one another when things seem unbearable. Marriage is often like climbing a mountain—challenging, often an uphill battle, with beautiful scenery as we climb.
My heart hurts for young marriages today.
Here are five things healthy married couples remember—at every stage.
They don’t let society pull them down.
You will encounter many people who tell you that your marriage will fail. You may have close friends who are not very supportive. You will hear comments that make you second guess your commitment and you may ask yourself if your marriage will last. Stay active in church, read your Bible together, pray together and come together as one. Be adventurous, make memories, grow together as a couple and try new things together.
They don’t ever talk about divorce.
Once it’s out, it’s etched in your heart and mind forever. Russ and I made this mistake a long time ago and it was only through God’s grace that we overcame. Divorce is not an option for us—but working on our marriage is.
They remember that marriage is not 50/50.
You cannot go into marriage with the mindset that you each must give 50 percent. Give 100 percent to your spouse and beautiful things will follow. Focus on what you are doing rather than looking for your spouse’s shortcomings.
They know that you will change a lot.
One thing I love about marrying my high school sweetheart is to see all the growth that has occurred in our lives both separately and together. We went to prom together and got our first jobs when we were together. I have seen my husband go from not really having a passion to thriving in his career as a firefighter and EMT. Give your spouse a chance to discover their passion and encourage them along the way. It’s an amazing thing to experience!
They start every day with fresh eyes.
Don’t let the pain or frustration from yesterday linger in your marriage. Trust God and face every day with a newfound sense of hope, a fresh pair of eyes and a desire to love your spouse unconditionally—through the ups and the downs. Get to know them more every day.
Instead of being marriage naysayers, let’s get out there and encourage young couples and all couples who are planning to say “I do!” Marriage is fun and only seems to get better with each passing day—if you let it.
Lizzy is married to her high school sweetheart and firefighter, Russ. She received her Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling–Crisis Response & Trauma cognate. Lizzy is a NYC Marathon finisher, mother to 8 month old Liam, and a previous high school Athletic Director and School Counselor. Visit lizzychristian.com for weekly devotions and free Bible study resources.