Today's blog post was written by my father, Alex Mandes. Yes, he is our guest blogger. Today's post is very special because its my parent's wedding anniversary! Their marriage is such a testimony, to me and many others. They are the type of couple that, as Hebrews 11 says, this world is not worthy of - for their integrity and faith. If you have been encouraged by my parent's example as husband and wife, or another couple, please post back and share your story - such stories need to be told.
Topic: Lessons learned after 34 years of marriage
- Sex needs to be good but I will not cover that here. Sex is the special Godgiven glue. Nevertheless, I will not leave you without very good advice. Check out John’ Grays article, “John Gray's Secrets of Rekindling Romance and Passion.” http://store.bottomlinesecrets.com/print.html?article_id=13218
- Irreconcilable Differences areGood but need to be managed. Understand you are more different that you may realize. A good study of Genesis 1:26-27 points that out and yet God said that, “it is good.” That does not mean we will not grow and change. We must become more like Christ, but even then it is the differences that actually attracted us to each other. Never ever talk about divorce – don’t even joke. In all of my years of counseling there have only been two times and it was about safety of life issues. Find a sounding board couple. When you get stuck make sure you have a couple you can confide in to help you over the hump. Be careful that it is a mutually agreed on couple.
- Understand the cycles of life. For example, sex was good before kids. Once you have kids your energy level will tank and that will affect sex, communication, and resources. That only means spontaneity may be planned…spontaneous/planning is not an oxymoron if you are planning to make it to the long haul.
- In-laws must be respected. It is not cool to rag on your spouse’s family. We get to choose our spouse and friends but family is God given. Learn from them. Let you spouse lead the discussion on where they fit. The line must be drawn when one partner feels that in-laws trump the marriage relationship.
- Have fun….lots of fun with each other and with the kids. Fun does not have to be expensive. Julie always excelled in this. Purpose to make your house the place your kids will want to hang around at and even bring their friends to. When they are older they will continue to seek you out.
- Put God first and practice the spiritual disciplines. I rarely felt like I had to preach at Julie because I knew she was listening to God and I know she knew I was listening to God. Bible Reading, going to church, giving, hospitality…all need to be lived out before God, spouse and kids. Be real about it.
- Learn to say I am sorry…with not buts. Be quick to set the example of brokenness. We are not weaker when we admit failure. In fact, God lifts up the humble and broken hearted. Kids need to see this.
- Men need to set the example. We live in a time when more and more men are sitting back and letting things happen. I really believe that this is the real evil of our day. Men, be intentional, courageous, and out there real. I believe that most men are not selfish as much as afraid to look bad. The solution is not to sit back but to lean in and be a learner. As the sins of the father are passed from one generation to the next so will the blessings of the father pass on to the next. Pass it forward no matter what happened in your past. God is your great father. Ask god to help you – He wants to.
- Money. Put the best of you in charge but both need to know what is going on. In charge means managing the books but it does not mean delegating accountability. There must be TOTAL transparency in everything.
- Roles are NOT tolls. Marriage roles are not static boxes that restrict us to a list of does and don't. The mother of Jesus was a super powerhouse in the Bible. Study each other and know what your gifts, talents, and experiences you bring to the table. Let those determine your parameters. Marriage was made for us not us for marriage. The Bible says that women are to submit and men are to love their wives TO THE POINT OF DEATH. Man need to really take that point to heart. Jesus served the church by laying it all out there. Brothers, let the Holy Spirit speak to you right now about that. Submission does not mean wives can’t do something incredible. BTW Jesus submitted to His parents. Luke 2:52. Submission need to be understood in the context of unity of purpose…not setting a station of life. Some of you brothers are married to a thoroughbred – that means you need to grow up fast rather, rather that than put her down – I speak from personal experience here hermanos. Julie was a fire breathing stinking navigator missionary who left her home to move to the end of the world – Laredo. If you married a thoroughbred don’t make her pay the toll…you need to learn all you can from God and her so that you can be worthy of her. If she is not a thoroughbred then serve her like one till she gets there…she will follow your lead.
Ps...thanks Dad for being my first guest blogger!!