What everyone should know about marriage but no one tells you We spend a lot of time planning for

our weddings, But how much time do we really spend planning for the marriage. Here are some things to remember as you embark upon your journey to marital purpose.

1. Marriage is a lifelong commitment.Your marriage will go through tough times, but remember you re in it for the long haul. Don t succumb to the microwave mentality of our time. Marriage is hard work and each partner should be willing to put in their fair share to make it last. Anything worth having is worth working for. Marriage is no exception. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." - James 1:2.

2. Forgiveness is an essential expectation of marriage but it comes with a counterpart and that s forgetting.. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, you Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15. This is a commandment with a promise. If you desire forgiveness from God you must learn to forgive. That includes your husband. But it s forgetting in marriage that can be downright impossible. How can you be expected to forget the horrible words, the devastating arguments, or worse yet, the affair? Truthfully, there is no cut and dry answer to this question. Only God can give the courage and strength to truly forgive from your heart. But it is important to remember that when you don t forgive the only person you are hurting is yourself.

3. Admitting when you re wrong and seeking reconciliation with your spouse can be both difficult and humbling. Many of us would rather jump off a bridge than to admit the error of our ways. But the Word says "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." - Matthew 5:23-24. Admitting that I m wrong has sometimes been difficult for me because in my mind it was admitting that I was imperfect, I was weak, frail. Over the years God has convicted my spirit and taught me that without Him I am weak, frail, and imperfect. Only He can perfect our imperfection. So learn to admit when you re wrong and ask for forgiveness from the one whom you ve offended.

4. Communication, as Keith has taught me, is very important. But communication should be done from a non-judgmental, non-condemning standpoint.

5. Don't try to change your spouse. Instead, try to encourage and strengthen each other. You can t change your spouse, but you can change yourself. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. - Luke 6:41-42. I spent years learning this lesson. Why I thought I was powerful enough to change God s creation is beyond me, but I tried to no avail. Then one day I decided that my spouse wasn t the one that needed changing. It was me. What an aha moment. Once I came to that realization, life was much sweeter. You do your job and allow God to do his.

6. Don't depend on your spouse to fill all your needs. Only God can do that. "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, depends on flesh for his strength whose heart turns away from the LORD." Jeremiah 17:5.

7. Husbands be willing to fill your God-given role. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." - Ephesians 5:25-28 8. Wives be willing to fill your God-given role. "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." - Ephesians 5:22-24

Expect from your marriage what God expects and in the end it will lead you to a marriage of purpose.

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