Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Got Married for the Tax Break! How About You?

I proposed to Olivia because when I began to seriously think about what my life would look like 50 years down the road, she was by my side holding my hand at our anniversary celebration. I knew that we were meant for each other. I did not want to live life with anyone else. I loved her then as I love her now, the wife of my youth.

The tough thing about having a healthy marriage in today's world is that we are bombarded by so many messages about instant happiness, relationships built on feelings, and we are often sold on quick fixes...even in relationships. When we don't see the kind of marriage we want, we replace it with another one like anything else in life. This is what we have programmed into our minds (at least subconsciously) when we enter marriage.

Over time, we take our "soulmates" for granted, and we begin to say things about our marriages like the following:
  • We just grew apart.
  • I don't know my husband anymore.
  • She doesn't understand my needs, and never listens to me.
  • I need to be happy.
  • I don't love you anymore.
The fact is that when we dated our spouses, we put a lot of effort into impressing that person. We planned dates. We dressed our best for those dates. We may have even started working out to get or stay fit. However, once we married, we treated the marriage ceremony as the end result rather than the start of a wonderful legacy-building journey. We tend to create a roommate/business-partner relationship with the one we vowed to love and cherish for our entire lives. The lifetime commitment is then looked at as a curse, or life sentence, rather than a celebration.

When is the last time you planted notes around the house for your spouse to find? Or, planned a getaway for just the two of you (which requires hunting down a trustworthy babysitter)? Men, have you ever given up a fishing trip, or motorcycle ride, or something else about you, so that you could do something just for her before she asks for it? The reality is that having a healthy marriage takes as much effort, if not more effort, as when you were dating your spouse.

Our marriages are meant to be more than just a tax break. My wife is more than a roommate who washes my laundry and raises the children. She is my soul mate, my life partner, my best friend, and I get to spend the rest of my life with her because I am blessed to have her in my life. I am blessed that she said yes when I proposed.

Shameless plug: 
One way to invest in your marriage is to attend a Weekend to Remember marriage getaway with your spouse. This event is a 3-day event hosted by FamilyLife Ministries. You can register for this event, AND receive the BOGO rate, at There is an event coming to Corpus Christi, March 18-20, at the Omni Bayfront Hotel. Can't make that one? That's okay, FamilyLife hosts more than 130 of these events throughout the country throughout the year. I guarantee you that this event is cheaper and much more fun than a divorce. It's worth every penny. My wife and I have attended 4 of these events in the past 5 years. We go every year to improve on our relationship. It's our preventive medicine for our marriage.

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