Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Miracle Marriages

Before Dan and I got married almost 15 years ago we met with a couple in our church who volunteered to meet with engaged couples to just talk about what makes a successful marriage, answer questions, etc.  I'll never forget 3 really important pieces of advice that they offerred us - 3 things that I came to understand as absolutely critical for any couple who hopes to survive.  I dedicate this blog post to several friends who have over the years and especially recently come to me to discuss some of their marriage issues and problems.  My hope is that everyone understands that when you step back and look at any situation from the outside that ANYTHING (bar some forms of abuse - which I am not addressing in this post) can be worked out - if both people are willing. 

One of the first pieces of advice that the married couple gave us was to make friends with other married couples.  As newlyweds many of our friends would still be single.  Of course, we weren't supposed to just throw out the old friends, but they explained to us that it's very dangerous for couples to try and live "married-single" lives.  In other words, if Dan went out with his buddies every Friday or more, and if I went off with my girlfriends to bars or dance clubs as I always did before, then it's not hard for that to transition into others thinking that you're still available...and it's not that much harder for a married person to act as if they are still single as well.  Dangerous territory.  It's important for married couples to have friends who have good marriages and like to do the same things that they like.  (I still love you my single friends!!!)  Actually my single friends have become more a part of my family now - it's not a seperate life - but I do enjoy a girl's night out once or twice a year with both married and single friends!

The second piece of advice we were given was to ALWAYS speak positively of our partner.  Everyone knows that's not always easy.  And I have to admit I always, always, always, had that advice in the back of my head even at moments in our marriage when I wasn't following it.  When I hear other people tear their partner apart to pieces over this thing, and that thing, and every little move he or she takes, and, and, and...I can actually feel their frustration - I wish I could help them to understand that the complaining and frustration only makes it WORSE.  Now, not that people shouldn't be able to vent, but in venting, by the end the rule should be for the one venting to think of 5 great and endearing things about their spouse and SAY THOSE!!  The only way to get over all the frustrating things about a partner is to concentrate your energy on all the GREAT AND ENDEARING things about your partner!!  Not the things you look back on and say "that's what I fell in love with" - NO - the things about him or her NOW that are GREAT!!  Always look for the good things or you will end up feeling like you're going no where...and others will think your marriage is really in trouble!  And you may decide that your marriage is really in's a spiraling effect.  Compliment your spouse on a regular basis...and make it your practice to tell others just how awesome your partner is!!  (I'll tell you right now that my husband ROCKS - and there are so many reasons why...including the fact that he does dishes!!)

The third thing they told us was more a fact than a piece of advice and it was this:  Love is a choice.  How romantic, right??  Give you goosebumps too??  Riiiiiiight!!  Well listen, let me go on to explain here.  In a world where movies, t.v. shows like the Bachelor (I'm sort of a closet watcher - guess I'm out now!), and other media (including the Disney Princesses) try to make us believe that love is your heart skipping, and butterflies in your stomach, and tripping over your words, and candle light on the beach, and long walks at night, and slow sure leaves out the day to day just living and being together.  It leaves out the whole toothpaste tube phenominon, the shoes in the middle of the floor, the cupboard doors always being open, the newspapers flung around, the stacks of papers, the wife or husband who doesn't care about finances, who does which chores, he or she doesn't value me and all the things I do...all those things that people end up letting get under their skin!  As I said before, those things can really spiral into a big messy constant struggle!  And what it all comes down to is this:  LOVE IS A CHOICE!!  I'll say it again, love is a choice.  You need to decide if this is the person you want to love, and if it is, then you need to treat them like you love them.  How do you treat someone like you love them?  You thank them for the things they do (instead of screaming about the things they don't do); You compliment them; You help them with things that they struggle with; You go the extra mile (or inch) for them; If they are the ones causing a problem in your marriage then you honestly discuss it with them without accusing - maybe you have to get a third party to help you (again I'm not addressing abuse in this post); You choose to forgive them and let go of your grudge (or pain you're holding on to inside); You tell them that you love them, respect them, admire them, adore them, think that they are the best, value them.  You choose to do these things because love is a choice - and choosing to love EVERYDAY is how you make a miracle marriage.



covnitkepr1 said...

Three very sound three pieces of advice. Your new follower has been married to his first wife for 45 years now and hoping for another 45.

veterankindergartenteacher said...

How lucky for you to have gotten such sound advice so early in your marriage!


May Be Miracles said...

So happy for you and your wife...the rewards and blessings of marriage multiply greatly over the years! Thank you for stopping and for sharing! God Bless!

May Be Miracles said...

You are so right...we were lucky. However, as with most things in life I can look back and see God's hand in leading us to where we needed to be.
God Bless!!

Robin said...

May..I am really impressed.... these are so true and profound ..and I did get chills reading this....You have a lot of wisdom and you've shared it with all...all three of these are core beliefs and attitudes towards love, marriage and commitment...Really Great..!

Dustine said...

Thanks again Robin. I'm happy to share some great wisdom that a married couple once shared with us. Seems so simple, but also challenging ideas for many. Blessings!