1. God First – I have learned I must place God and my relationship with Jesus the Christ ahead of my wife. My total allegiance must be to God. What God desires of me must be greater than what my wife desires of me. Putting God before my wife does not mean putting my church or ministry before my wife. My first and most important ministry is to my wife. The bible is the best guide for marriage and you really don’t need to read any further if you spend more time in the word, because there is nothing I can say that the Word can not say better.
2. I’m the Head (Priest) – God will hold me responsible for my wife, my wife, my children (God willing), and all those under me. I must lead. I must take responsibility for the spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical health of my family. My families spiritual strength is not my pastor responsibility it is mine. I am responsible for insuring that my home is holy, not by force, but through love and being number 3.
3. I’m the Least (Servant) – I must be a servant to my family. I must be last. I must wash feet, and humble myself, and sacrifice my wants. In the world the Head is served, but in Gods house the head is the servant. The greatest is the least. I must model love, compassion, forgiveness, patients, and servitude. When my wife is the most receptive, open, loving, understanding, giving, etc. is when I am serving her. You don’t make people change you love them to/through change. When in doubt always put the other person first.
4. Love is not a feeling – but an action that you must will yourself to do daily. As my Pastor Dr. Ivory L. Varner says “it is not about what you feel, but what you will.” Sometimes you are not going to feel like loving, and that is when you must will yourself to love. Sometime you are made to feel like what you are doing is not love, but you must will yourself to love even when love don’t feel like love.
5. Love doesn’t mean yes – My wife’s least liked word is no, but in executing 1-3 I have learned to say no, but also evaluate why I am saying no. Am I saying no because I am trying to execute 1-3 or because it is my own personal biased. If it is my own personal biased and it is going to break down my wife, I will say yes. But if saying yes means, going against what God has instructed me to do, or it going against what as the head I know to be what is best for my family, then I must say no out of Love.
6a. Do everything together – My wife and I do as much as possible together. We don’t allow things to become my thing and her thing, everything is our thing. You don’t need your time apart.
6b. Always include her in decisions – Beyond the fact that my wife loves me, believes in me, and is a God fearing women, she follows me because I listen to what she thinks. She knows that I fear God, and want to only bring him Glory, but she also knows that I love, honor, and cherish her, therefore when I make decisions, she knows that what she wants is in my thoughts. If I plan a trip I can plan it without talking to her, because I know her and I think about what would she want to do on this trip, where would she want to eat, stay, SHOP, etc. But I never make decisions without talking with her. Most of the time we come to an agreement, but even when we don’t she knows that I have listened to her point of view and I care about her point of view.
7. The power of the tongue – it can do damage no matter which way you use it. It can do damage when you speak hurt, but it can also do damage when you don’t speak love, affirmation, encouragement, etc. When you don’t speak love, affirmation, and encouragement and just say they know how I feel, it can be just as damaging as speaking hurtful words. You have to say I love you, I care about you, you are special, you are doing good, you are wonderful, and you are important. I have tried to get into the practice of when I am upset with my wife addressing her by sweetheart, beautiful, wonderful, etc. because it puts me into a state of mind to talk to her like she is worthy of, instead of talking to her like I feel at the moment. It is my way of willing myself to talk to her in love instead of anger.
8. Time, Talk, Transparency, Trust, Touch – my church teaches this and I think it is very important. You have to spend time together, you have to talk, you have to be transparent, which leads to trust, which leads to touching.
9. My wife is wonderful – God has given her to me, in all her glory to make me a more Godly man. She pushes me. She challenges me. She reveals my flaws to me by the way I treat her. She is my mirror. When I think to highly and holy of myself, God uses her to bring to the surface my flesh that I thought I had overcome, so that I can look back to him and depend on him. She is unique. She loves me. She is my ride or die chick, beyond what anyone knows.
10. You have to practice being romantic. You have to try to be romantic. You have to think of doing romantic things. Romance does not just happen. You create romance. You make time for romance.
11. Find Godly marriage mentors. Find people that have been married longer than you, or who have a marriage like you want and cling to them. Gain all the wisdom and knowledge they have to give concerning marriage.
12. Don’t hang with single or unhappy married folks– Single people don’t understand being married and don’t have the same responsibilities. Unhappy married folks want other people to be as unhappy as them.
13. One moment at a time. Marriages work or don’t work because of moments. Every moment, you can build or tear down.
14. I have so much more to learn about marriage.