As I write, Gayle and I have been married 44 years and 8 months. That is long enough to have most the kinks worked out but I’m sure not all of them! Here are three amazing things marriage has taught me that never crossed my mind at nineteen when we got married.
- A Wife Who Loves The Lord Made Me A Better Man! In the early years, I really didn’t like this. Gayle wanted to have a Christian home and I really didn’t care much. Just her presence in our home tamed me some. Even though I was a total heathen, I altered my behaviors some just because she was there. Later, when I became a Christian, coming home to Gayle everyday, not wanting to disappoint her helped my growth as a Christian happen quicker than it would have on my own. 1 Peter 3:1-4 supports this concept. Trying to fix a spouse never works, but your quiet, godly presence can make a big difference.
- A Wife and Family Revealed How Selfish I Am! I remember my first awakening to my self-centeredness. I found that when my family did what I wanted, I could be fairly content. But when I had to do what they wanted and really had no interest, I would do it but was miserable and made everyone around me feel like they were walking on egg shells. They didn’t like to poke the bear. Over the years, my eyes have been open wider to see just how deeply embedded my selfishness is. It is ugly! The amazing thing is how blind I can be to that side of me. I often see that part of me showing itself in many ways. Marriage has allowed me to see this and make some adjustments. I’m not sure if living alone would ever allow me to see this. Learning to serve others with no expectation of reward or fanfare is big.
- Marriage Encourages Me To Consider My Legacy! I remember hitting the fast forward button and thinking about my time to die. Would I die alone, a selfish old man? Or would I come to life’s end surrounded by family, Gayle, our kids and grandkids and love. Would they have positive things to remember? What example would I have left behind for them? Would our marriage be an example to them of how rich life together could be or give them a reason to doubt the wisdom of married life?
None of those things entered my mind as a hormone driven teenager thinking about marriage. But now, they are the major life lessons from married life.