I went camping this weekend with three of my better college friends. They’re the kind of guys it’s easy to rekindle (no pun intended) good conversations with around a weekend of hiking and other manly things (like driving 20 miles from our campsite to watch the Oklahoma State game at a Buffalo Wild Wings). They’re also the kind of guys who aren’t ashamed to borrow camping supplies from their girlfriends/wives, so we didn’t have to go far in the conversation before humility came up.
Anyway, here are 7 unsolicited thoughts on marriage from 4 guys who have been married a combined 36 months. Grains of salt and such…
1. Pursue who you actually like – file this away under the “don’t over-think it” category. The idea of liking someone is fun, but it’s vastly different from actually liking who that person is. Especially when you
have to get to live with them 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
2. Continue to romance – This is something we all admitted we struggle with. It’s just so comfortable to fall into the “let’s just hang out, cook dinner together, and read every night” routine. Romance is different. It’s emotionally strenuous. It’s necessary.
3. Learn how she learns – As the male is the de facto leader of the pack, it seems to us that to understand the way your wife learns things is an effective way to lead her to the places God would have for both of you. Then again, we also gleaned hours of entertainment from burning plastic spoons so maybe “us” and “leadership” need to get reacquainted.
4. Ask “why am I doing this?” – This goes hand in hand with #3. In fact, I think asking “why am I doing this?”, honestly answering, and changing our actions based on that answer would solve 75% – 99% of all marital fighting. But we’re human so it’s not always that easy.
5. Love her generously – All four of us commented multiple times about how wonderful our wives/girlfriends are about submitting to our leadership and playing the beautiful role God would have for them in the relationship. It’s easy for us to take this for granted and yet in today’s world where women are idolized for all the wrong reasons it’s up to us, as guys, to lavish our girls with praise for their humility and honor.
6. Be consistent – The most difficult of all these if only for the longevity needed to accomplish such a task. It’s funny (and not funny) that 35 years of consistency can be thwarted by 1 minute of indiscretion. Success = prayer + humility.
7. Protect at all costs – The tie that bound this weekend was how much we, as Christians, come under attack. And the (sometimes) humorous punch line was that these attacks aren’t always from who we would deem “enemies.” During one of our long talks, one of the guys said, “Satan works in creative ways” while we all nodded in agreement.
As we stared at the fire’s embers deep into Friday and Saturday night, we thought about how to protect our marriages, protect our wives, and protect our hearts from spiritual warfare. We went camping to have a weekend with the boys and it turned out (as it usually does…) to be all about the girls. I think God was laughing at us and smiling too.
I think he likes camping trips to be like that.
What would you add to this list?