Mark: Jill and I are in Orlando, Florida today because I had the privilege of officiating the wedding of some dear friends of ours last night. While we were there we had a little bit of fun in the photo booth at the reception!

Jill: As Mark was doing the ceremony he talked about marriage being hard work. I thought about his words a bit and exactly what “hard work” in marriage really means. What struck me is that most of the hard work of marriage is actually hard individual work. Personal work. Adjusting our own head and heart in some way.

Mark: Sure there’s the hard work of communication and cooperation that requires two people to work together, but even those often require hard individual work to work together easier.  What are we talking about?  Here are just a few individual pieces of the hard work of marriage:

  • Selfishness to Selflessness: Demanding our own way and not serving each other hurts our marriage. We have to be willing to serve our spouse even when we don’t feel like it. We have to allow our spouse’s likes and dislikes to be considered just as much as ours are considered.
  • My Way to God’s Way: When we’re in the driver’s seat of our life, we respond and react to our spouse based upon feelings. When God is in the driver’s seat of our life, we respond and react to our spouse based upon truth–using our God-Tools of compassion, love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, and courage. We do the right thing rather than what we feel like doing.
  • Loose Lips to Self-Control: When we’re careless with our words we cause unneeded pain and conflict in our marriage. When we learn to measure our words and speak kindly and carefully–even in conflict–it nurtures our relationship.
  • Criticism to Acceptance: When we only see what our spouse doesn’t do we are blind to what he or she does do. When we use our God-Tool of acceptance and stop trying to change our spouse, our marriage contentment increases.

Jill: These are just a few of the many options of the hard work of marriage we always need to be working on no matter how long we’ve been married! Can you think of anymore you’d add to the list?

So what about you? What hard internal work of marriage do you to do today? 

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