I was planning to write this post under travel because I know how much y’all love pretty places to go.  And heaven knows I do too.  But 25 years of being married has taught me a few things.  And some of the things I’ve seen lately and roads I’ve traveled have shown me that even more urgent than sharing pretty places to go, is that I share more of what matters when we’re traveling through this life.

Up until recently, when people have asked me for advice on marriage or relationships, I sort of shrugged a little and looked around for someone older and wiser to ask.  But reality has smacked me in the face as I walked down the aisle at the weddings of two of our own kids this summer and then looked at my husband on our 25th anniversary like– seriously?! Yes.  

So it turns out I’m older than I thought.  And with the years of experience (however different all of ours may be), I feel there’s an obligation that comes to share them and possibly help someone else in some small way.  But I’ll warn you: this is heavy.  Not nearly as fun and games as most of my other posts.  And yet I’m feeling lately that people need to know how to help their homes way more than just helping their houses.  So I’m starting with this.

If I believed in luck, I might be saying we are some of the “lucky ones”, still going strong together after 25 years.  But I don’t believe in luck and there’s no such thing as chance.  So to what do I attribute a love like this that has turned out to be so rare in the world we’re in today?  Here’s my first answer:  it’s a generational blessing.  Both Dave and I have had strong examples of marriage in our own parents that really set the stage for us, starting way before we even met.  Patterns were established and roles were modeled for us to aspire to, and that has been a large part.

But another piece of the generational blessing is the spiritual inheritance.  I have come to realize my life is defined by Proverbs 20:7: “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.”  This is what my parents have given me.  My dad was the most Christ-like person I’ve ever known, and when he left this earth, he left me and my family the greatest inheritance we could have ever asked for… the promise of being blessed by God because of his own life well-lived as a true follower of Christ.  I could write a book about this subject alone.  But for now, I’ll just say this matters.  How you choose to live not only affects you and your spouse, but it affects generations after you.

So the foundation of our marriage was set for us, which gave us a big advantage to start.  But what about our part?  What about people whose parents also lived lives of integrity, but things have not turned out this way for them?  And what about people who have never had a Christian heritage at all?  Here’s an important piece of this to grasp:  the degree to which couples gain in a relationship is directly tied to the degree to which they lose themselves.  If you go back and dig into pretty much every single issue marriages have, you will find it started with the root of selfishness of one or both parties. Unfortunately, most people walk down the aisle to be married, never truly understanding that what you’re really vowing to at that altar is to die to yourself for the sake of the other person.  Read that part one more time.

So there you go– the secret to success in marriage, and really any relationship, is to simply just forget yourself.  Easy, right?  IF ONLY!!  But life is hard and our sin nature works against us every single step of the way.  We’re born with self-preserving tendencies and then indoctrinated a million ways in self-love in the world today.  So how can we possibly attain a self-sacrificing kind of love that makes a marriage last? We have to go back to the author of love Himself.  He wrote this blueprint and we cannot succeed by trying to build it another way.  And that really is the secret, friends.  But let me tell you–it’s deep and wide and there’s constantly more to learn.  

So that’s what I’m leaving you with for now.  I’ll share more of this blueprint as the Lord impresses on me to do it.  Meanwhile, if you’re wondering where to start on this walk with God, talk to me.  If you have specific questions, let me know.  I’ll try to find answers for you.  I don’t know who this is for– but I’ll write it when He tells me to.  

P.S. In case you missed our trip on Instagram, we split a week in Florida, first at The Beach House Suites by Don Cesar in St. Petersburg, then to the Atlantic coast in Palm Beach at the Eau Palm Beach.  We highly recommend either of these, especially in the off season when crowds are basically zero!  Also recommend renting a convertible even if you are totally an SUV person who never rolls the windows down! It was fabulous!