What I’ve Learned After 25 Years of Marriage


Hugh&CindiToday is my 25th wedding anniversary.  And after 25 years with the same man, I  can honestly say that marriage is one of the best ways to practice dying to self and living as Christ would. There have been great times, there have been trying times, and there have been daily tests of whether or not I would put myself on the shelf and put another person first.

I wanted to share with you today what I’ve been thinking this past week about what 25 years of marriage has taught me:

  1. The greatest way to show love to my spouse is to imitate the way God has shown love toward me — unconditionally and sacrificially.
  2. Instead of praying “Lord, please change my husband” a much more effective prayer through the years has been, “Lord, please change me.”
  3. Quality time cannot always be a replacement for quantity of time. In a marriage, you really need both.
  4. God must come first, then spouse, then the children. And this order can easily get reversed.
  5. There is wisdom in learning to let things go.
  6. There is freedom in being able to forgive, even if your spouse has not yet said “I’m sorry.”
  7. To be humble in marriage is to  say, “I’d be honored if you would still love me.”
  8. To be a servant in marriage is to say, “I don’t deserve you” rather than the other way around.
  9. Simple acts of love keep two people knitted together.
  10. “Never let the sun go down on your anger” is much easier said than done. One must be deliberate and intentional to let things go before ending the day.
  11. Not EVERYTHING needs to be talked through. (This was a difficult one for me, at first.)
  12. A wife needs to look to God to be her “Husband” rather than looking to her husband to be “God” (Isaiah 54:5).
  13. To die to self in marriage means to put the other’s interests, preferences and needs IN PLACE OF (not just above) your own.
  14. “Love is blind” is not a bad thing when you choose to be blind to the less flattering traits of your spouse
  15. God is the Only One who can fulfill me at every level. Therefore, it is unfair for me to expect my husband to be my all-in-all.
  16. I cannot change my spouse. I cannot change myself,  either. God is the One who works transformation in individuals and marriages.
  17. My trust is ultimately not in my spouse, but in my Savior.
  18. If I say “this is un-fixable” I’m really saying “God can’t fix this.”
  19. A marriage does not rise and fall on how much we can trust a person, but on how much we can trust God.
  20. God is even more committed to my marriage than I am.
  21. My ability to glorify God as a woman is directly related to my ability to glorify God as a WIFE.
  22. Being my husband’s wife  is my most important ministry.
  23. Instead of looking for what the marriage (or your spouse) can do for you, look for what you can do for your spouse.
  24. Focusing each day on “making a memory” sure  beats “keeping a record of wrongs.”
  25. The greatest (and most challenging) definition of marital love is found in First Corinthians 13:7 (NASB):  Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (First Corinthians 13:7, NASB).

Many of the lessons I’ve learned from marriage these past two and a half decades (and many of the points above) are elaborated on in my books, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When Couples Walk Together and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband.

Now, what have YOU learned from marriage or your present situation? I’d love to hear it.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

12 Comments

Sunni
Reply August 13, 2013

I enjoyed reading your message and note Cindy. Those are def. words to live by. While there are some without a Christian or different religious faith knowing you can't change someone else is important message. Thanks again for your post

yvonne chavez
Reply August 13, 2013

Thanks Cindy... unfortunately I learned most of that the "hard" way and my husband of 27 years left last year for another woman...I am spending my time now "getting healthy" and learning to love and trust the Lord so that my future will be more positive. I loved reading your thoughts though because they will help to keep a marriage strong. So many times we live life from the "they need to change" perspective...and usually it is "ME" than needs to change:)

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 13, 2013

    Thank you, Yvonne, for your words. I realized when I posted this blog that many of my readers would be coming from that perspective...my hope was to encourage even those who have had a painful experience with marriage that God is the One we center our lives around...married or not. I so appreciate you taking the time to respond with such encouraging words.

Monica
Reply August 13, 2013

Thanks Cindi for the encouragement and great reminders. Number 20 made me think twice. I know that is true, but I never really thought about it. :)

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 13, 2013

    Hi Monica: Hugh and I, in our "Couples' Date Night" often encourage couples with these words: "God will FIGHT for your marriage. Will you?" I included that line to encourage those who sometimes might feel they are alone in their commitment to keep their marriage together. (And by the way, your copy of my newest book -- which you contributed to -- is being mailed out to you today.)

Mary Purviance
Reply August 13, 2013

There is a lot of wisdom here Cindi. Thank you for sharing these insights. Happy 25th Anniversary to you and Pastor Hugh. Your commitment to one another and to honoring God are an inspiration. Love, Mary

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 13, 2013

    Thank you, Mary, for your sweet words of encouragement. Happy 25th Anniversary to you and Ken today, too! Enjoy your celebration. : )

Chery
Reply August 17, 2013

Hi Cindi,

Happy Anniversary to you both! LOVE this article...such wisdom! After just celebrating our 31st anniversary, I feel geared up with a fresh perspective on the next 31 years:-)

Our daughter and I just received your new book, "When A Mom Inspires Her Daughter", thank you! I have hardly made a dent and already find it a MUST READ for ALL women, whether or not they have (or plan to have) a daughter. Thank you for such a wonderful work!

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 17, 2013

    Thank you, Chery, for your example of 31 years of marriage! And thank you, too, for your enthusiasm about my newest book. Glad you're enjoying it.

Connie Boyd
Reply August 30, 2013

As always, I'm encouraged and challenged by your words. I feel the Lord has me in a season of focusing on my marriage and husband, with all the new responsibilities and divided attention of the baby :) What has got my mind thinking is quantity vs quality time and my most important ministry being his wife.
I'd heard a sermon on quantity vs quality some time ago, but with our newest addition and seeing it here, I am now seeing the importance of it and how the quantity of time spent together leads to a better quality of time.
This past year I had been trying to focus on my most important ministry being a mama...but this is a great reminder of the order of priorities.
Congrats on 25 years!

    StrengthSoul
    Reply August 30, 2013

    Thank you, Connie. It's difficult to get those priorities straight, especially when a newborn demands so much of our time. But I love your heart to honor God with your priorities and He will help you find a way. Sometimes just expressing those exact words to your husband, so he knows where your heart is, will help him see where he is in your priorities, as well. Thanks for staying in touch.

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