Yvonne and I always look forward to the annual Singing At Sea Cruise every year.
It’s a “working” cruise for me but that cruise gives us a chance to “get away” and spend much needed time together.
This year, we were the hosts for an afternoon slot for “The Newlywed Game.” The Newlywed Game is based on the long running game show, where couples are asked questions separately to see how much they truly know about each other.
The Game on the Cruise was hilarious!
We chose 3 couples that are friends of ours; Sam and Leah Parsons, Eric and Laura Ollis and Andrew and Sheree Ishee. Then, we chose a couple from the audience that had been married for 3 days! There were lots of prayers being offered up from the men! Haha!
While the questions we asked that day were funny, many times we fail to really study our spouse. See, marriage is growing together and loving and learning about each other. It’s so easy to become selfish and the partnership of marriage becomes about “Me” and ceases to be a partnership.
Whether you have been married 3 days, 3 years or 30+ years, there’s still MORE to learn about your spouse. Part of loving them, is getting to TRULY know them.
A highlight for us on the Singing at Sea cruise this year was hosting our version of the long running game show The NewlyWed Game. For several years, Bryan and I have floated ideas back and forth about doing something on the cruise that was fun and yet challenging to families. THIS idea was the one we threw out there and are blessed that we were given the green light.
Thankfully, we have great friends who agreed to play along. None of us had any idea if this was gonna be a dud or “winner.. winner.. Chicken dinner” as we say in the South. I’m grateful that it ended up being the latter. We had a great turnout and an audience that encouraged us to just throw it out there and see what happens. Well, what happened was our friends were hilarious and pulled no punches with us or with each other.
After the cruise, reflecting back on the ranges in years married of all of us, the different personalities of all the couples and the different dynamics all the husband and wives have with each other, what is the deeper message? For me, it showed very similar traits that we all shared which make a successful marriage. Here’s my list;
1) Marriages grounded in God. All of us have marriages with the foundation built on the word of God. There’s no way around the fact we all need The Lord’s hand in our relationships.
2) Friendship. You’ve gotta like your spouse as much as you love them. There are gonna be days that love has nothing to do with it. It’s the fact that you really like who they are as a person.
3) Laugh a little. It won’t kill you. Now, granted we are blessed with hilarious friends, but each of these couples have fun in their marriage. They laugh at each other and with each other.
4) Respect. Respect in a marriage is priceless. For me that means I tell you the truth tempered with love. The tempered with love is the kicker. There are ways to conduct yourself that puts your spouses feelings first. Husbands and wives- it’s okay to keep your mouth shut sometimes for the sake of not disrespecting your mate. Look at it as a victory in self control.
5) Circle of Friends. I stood on that big stage at one point looking at Sam & Leah Parsons, Eric and Laura Ollis, Andrew and Sheree Ishee and thought to myself ” We have great people in our lives. Thank you, Lord.” All of us very much the same but different. Surround your marriage with people who cheer for you. People who want to see your marriage succeed. Those folks who are gonna kick you in the pants and be the first to tell you to go apologize for that insensitive thing you said to your spouse.
Now, I’m left with the nagging feeling that some of you reading this may not be in a good place with your spouse. That hurts my heart. If there is anything I know to be true it is that God can heal the biggest of hurts and the most desperate marriages. So… where do you start? That’s it really. It starts with YOU. You have control over yourself and that is all. So, are you willing to do your part? Good. There are changes you can make that will impact your marriage. Here are a few challenges for you:
1) Forgive. Decide today to forgive your spouse of past hurts. Decide today to forgive yourself of past wrong doings. If you haven’t confessed those to The Lord and asked for forgiveness, do it now. If you have not told your spouse you are sorry, do that too. Now, let it go. Only use it to remind yourself of how you don’t want to ever behave again.
2) Pray for your spouse and marriage daily. Find a time to regularly pray for strength, discernment and protection over your marriage. I pray specifically for God to give Bryan the courage and strength to be the man he has called him to be. At the end of the day, if Bryan is focused on his relationship with God and vise versa, our marriage will be greatly affected.
3) Focus on the Positive. Remind yourself to think of the blessings your mate brings to your life and then tell them. Say “Thank You” more today than you did yesterday.
4) Date & Communicate. When you first fell in love you did special things. Maybe you wrote notes or cooked a special meal. Whatever it was- start doing it again. Use words of gratitude towards your mate even for the smallest things. If you used to spend time sharing your heart… talk to your mate. Share your inner most emotions. If you have anxiety about doing that, pray for God to open an opportunity for communications. I always do that when I have an issue I need to discuss. I wait. It may take Him a few days to make it happen but He always does. I just have to be patient.
5) Pay Attention. Your spouse is a treasure. A gift given to you. You have an opportunity to learn the most intimate details of their life. Be interested. Be MORE interested in their life and experiences than your own. No one wants to feel invisible.
Your marriage is the MOST important earthly relationship that you have. Invest in one another.
You never know…YOU might be the next contestants on the “Newlywed Game!”
The Hutsons 2015
Rescue Me Ministries