Greg and I met at the ages of 17 and 20 and were engaged a month later. To our parents' credit, we agreed to a 4-year engagement while I attended college. We didn't fight, we didn't break up, and we never talked of being with anyone else.
We married in July of 1989 and had 3 children within the next 7 years.
When my friend recommended that we attend a Weekend to Remember marriage conference, I was taken aback. What had she seen in our marriage that would indicate we needed help?
Nothing, she assured me; we just might see that marriage is more than we thought it was.
From a young age, Greg and I had both been taught about God's plan of salvation, how Jesus traded our sin for His perfection while nailed to the cross. But, we had no idea of the scope and majesty of a marriage designed by God.
We went and were hooked. We could never convey 12 years of revelations in a conversation or 2. But, here are a few "secrets" lovingly revealed to us through Jesus Christ that have helped build our marriage.
1. God, revealed in Jesus Christ, is your first love, and everything you need. Although we were both raised in Christ-centered homes, we had never known how fully we would need God until we committed to a marriage centered on Him.
Now, Greg and I go to God together and individually for His strength, recognizing that God works through us to reach and comfort each other.
2. Your spouse is not your enemy. When I feel hurt or misunderstood, I repeat: Greg is not my enemy. Those words sound simple, but they have stopped many a rant in my head from emerging through my mouth.
Forgiveness and grace are indispensable in our marriage.
3. Concentrate all your affection and attention on each other. During one conference, the speaker challenged every couple to out-serve each other. When our satisfaction is in each other, that protects us from affairs of the mind, heart, or body.
I constantly feel out-served, out-cherished and out-loved by Greg, but I try my best to keep up.
4. The couple is first; the kids are second. This can be hard to accept. One of the conference speakers shared about remodeling their home and choosing to do the master bedroom first. We had just made the decision to remodel ours last. We changed our minds, made it the most beautiful room of the house and forbade the kids entrance.
Now, when first-time guests visit and we walk through the house, the kids hang close in hopes of catching a glimpse inside. Our children, seeing the devastation of divorce around them, have thanked us for our devotion to each other and talk of our marriage as a role model for theirs.
5. God has roles for men and women. Attending the Weekend to Remember conference every year brings adjustments to our marriage. Revelations come as we continue to grow in our understanding of our roles as man and woman, father and mother.
In a changing and self-centered world, we have learned that we cannot go wrong by embracing God's unchanging and perfect roles for men and women in marriage.
We want our marriage to affect the entire world, starting with our own children and reaching out to everyone who sees us.
During our lovey-dovey engagement we could have never grasped the honor of Christ working through our marriage to impact the world; now we treasure it as a vital part of the couple God has brought together as Mr. and Mrs. Greg Griffith.
This year, we challenge you to start a new tradition with your family by capturing moments and memories and sharing them with one another at year’s end.
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Walt and Ann Bealke have been married for a long time, just not to each other. They are now 5 years into their marriage (the third for each of them), and are seeing God redeem their pasts and build a Gospel-centered marriage.
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