Comparison Kills & 13 Other Things I've Learned in 14 Years of Marriage

Comparison Kills & 13 Other Things I've Learned in 14 Years of Marriage
Looking back on 14 years of marriage, I have learned lots of things...many from doing it the wrong way. I’ve compiled a list of 14 things I've learned in 14 years of marriage. I hope one of these might encourage you in your marriage.
  1. Take it easy. My dad used to use this phrase anytime we got a little too worked up over something that was really not a big deal. He would say, “Take it easy greasy, you've got a long way to slide." There is truth to the statement. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded that it's not that big a deal. Some of our challenges in marriage will simply be ironed out over the course of time.
  2. My plans versus God’s plan. Looking back, it makes us laugh that we thought we were in charge of how our family was going to grow. I think it comes natural to most of us to have an ideal plan for our lives. The truth is, God is bigger than your plan. Somehow, His plan is always better.
  3. Actions speak louder than words… but not by much. Undoubtedly action is necessary to maintain a good marriage. However, good and appropriate action should be paired with good and appropriate words and communication. Do the right things and say the right things!
  4. Inside jokes. There are countless exchanges my wife and I share that are built on our 14+ year history. Facial expressions, lighthearted comments, sarcastic remarks are all part of this playful banter we share and it makes us laugh. Marriages need laughter.
  5. Enjoy your differences. The one thing that becomes undeniably clear in the early days of marriage is how different the two of you are. At some point, you simply have to stop bemoaning your differences and start embracing them and even enjoying them. This will require you to believe that God has a plan to combine each of your strengths, talents and gifts to make a difference in your home and in this world together.
  6. Talk a lot. We talk a lot. My wife would tell you, “We talk a lot because Andy likes to talk." I suppose that's true. However, we have learned that life only becomes more and more complicated overtime so we must communicate regularly and extensively to stay unified.
  7. Don’t fight after 9pm. Conflict gets exponentially worse late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. There is very little that can’t wait on a decent night’s sleep and a little perspective. 
  8. Comparison kills. In almost every case, comparison is harmful. Whether it be comparing material possessions, income levels, comparing your spouse to someone else, comparing your kids to other kids or comparing which of you has had the harder day at work, it’s all a pointless waste of time. The only comparison of any value goes like this, “just as Christ…"
  9. Keep saying it. I think my wife is beautiful. I tell her she is beautiful. She often rolls her eyes. She probably thinks I’m after something (and she’s probably right) but I do think she’s beautiful. I will keep telling her, even if she won’t admit it or believe me.
  10. Honesty and Trust. We are honest and open with each other. We share passwords. We don’t hide our phones. We let each other in to our good news and our bad news. We have done everything we know do to to foster an atmosphere of trust. I saw this quote recently, “Trust takes years to earn and seconds to lose.” There is no short-term pleasure worth forfeiting the trust we have.
  11. Help each other succeed. Amanda does an incredible job supporting my ministry and calling. She single handedly handles 5 boys when I have to travel and speak somewhere. She does the same every Sunday for church as I take care of my duties at Highpoint Church. Likewise, I try to help her have the time and freedom to pursue some of her personal goals, albeit not as often as she does for me. We help each other. We want one another to succeed. I have no question this one factor is a major reason we are able to pursue our callings.
  12. Err on the side of family. One of the best decisions I’ve made in the last 14 years came from a season of working WAY too much in the early days of planting Highpoint Church. Through Amanda’s willingness to confront me, I pulled back and decided to err on the side of family in my schedule. I have never regretted it.
  13. Some things don’t need fixing. Not everything requires my 2 cents opinion. Just because I might prefer something different, does not mean it’s broken and in need of my repair. When I back off and listen, I end up discovering that God has uniquely equipped my wife with a different, but needed, perspective.
  14. Die to self. This is the undercurrent of the previous 13 lessons but needs to be stated. Selfishness is our enemy. I need the daily reminder of Jesus’ invitation to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him. Denying myself is critical to a healthy marriage. This just isn’t about me. Ultimately, it’s about Him. I pray that when people look at us, they really see a shadow of the better more important marriage…the marriage between Jesus and the people for whom He died.
Posted by Andy Savage at 8:06 PM
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