I just finished reading the last book in a series about a family in Indiana. The story started with The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and has continued in The Firstborn Series. (I hear there's a third series on the way and I can't wait to see what happens next). Anyway, this series of books follows the ups and downs of a Christian family as they learn to love each other and make it through the trials that are thrown their way. At the heart of the family are John and Elizabeth Baxter, the parents. In this story, they weather many storms together through decades of marriage. At one point in their journey, Elizabeth takes the time to write down her "Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage". And, although this is drawn from a fictional story, I found the words to be poignant and applicable to all relationships, not just marital ones (although some of them are specific to marriage and may even raise a few eyebrows for some of you). I wanted to repost them for you here.
1. God has you here to serve on another. Love acted out is serving.
2. Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you'd lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby - find something you can do to have fun together.
3. Laugh Often
4. Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations
5. Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse
6. Keep short accounts. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are angry." Make it a habit to forgive
7. Determine up front that divorce is not an option
8. Learn about love languages. not all people show love or receive it the same way. You want a back rub and your spouse wants a clean kitchen. the love languages are fairly simple: acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts, and words of affirmation.
9. Words of affirmation are a love language for all men
10. Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. confident men do not seek love outside the home