Yesterday my wife and I celebrated three years of being married to one another. There are plenty of articles and blog posts out there talking about how to be successful in marriage, or why marriage is hard, or even about what the Bible says about marriage, so I would like to add on to those important conversations with an observation of my own… It is very beneficial to celebrate the milestones in your marriage.
When I say “celebrate the milestones in your marriage,” I don’t only mean the anniversaries. Certainly anniversaries are a wonderful time to re-connect with your spouse and reflect upon God’s goodness, kindness, and mercy in your marriage. Anniversaries can be a time to celebrate what God has done for you as a couple, but also what He has protected you from. But don’t merely celebrate the anniversaries, but seek to celebrate the small milestones in your marriage, and in your spouse’s life, as those come about. In my marriage I have made it a point to celebrate each anniversary, however, I have learned to make a point in celebrating God’s lovingkindness in our covenant along the way. One example came up this past fall when my wife was accepted into Nurse Practitioner School. My wife working full-time and being in school is certainly challenging, but it’s a good challenge- something to be celebrated not lamented! So, when my wife was accepted into school I took her on a date to celebrate all God has done, is doing, and will do through her vocation in nursing. We should all seek to find even the most mundane displays of God’s grace in our marriages, and then celebrate them.
Just last night after my wife went to sleep I stayed up to watch the Reds vs. Dodgers. One thing stood out to me in this game, and that was when Joey Votto pulled a double down the right-field line, driving in Tyler Mahle for a run, and the broadcaster (I believe it was Jeff Brantley) took a moment to congratulate Joey Votto on his 900th RBI. In the baseball world this is not some crazy unique milestone like hitting your 500th homerun, or bagging your 3,000th hit, but nonetheless we show respect and love for our home-town sports heroes by acknowledging even the smaller milestones as they come; how much more so should we be acknowledging and respecting our spouses and God when those milestones come along in our marriages!
So, how does it look to celebrate the milestones in your marriage? This is going to depend on your life situation in regards to kids, finances, and the like, but as a rule of thumb I would say “Do what you can to honor God and your spouse in a special way.” The very first thing you can do when you are making it a point to celebrate a particular milestone is you can turn your phone off! You can make sure your undivided attention is on your spouse, and that will show them you love them and you want to honor them. Another thing you can do is plan something unique. For some people this could mean taking a trip, for others it could mean going to a very nice place for dinner, for others still it might mean doing a special act of service like cleaning the entire house from top to bottom. You know your spouse more than anyone besides God, and so you should be able to know what your spouse would feel most honored by when you are attempting to celebrate them in a special way. Another suggestion I would have is when you are celebrating milestones in your marriage do not choose to be anxious about trivial things– don’t allow a dinner to be ruined because you are obsessing over something small, such as a long wait for a table or a tab that’s $10 higher than you expected– I promise it’s going to be fine!
At the end of the day, you can worship God by acknowledging all He has done for you and your spouse. You can honor your spouse by acknowledging their hard work and sacrifice in your marriage. You can re-connect with your spouse in a deep, and even romantic way. You can build memories that continually show your spouse you love and care about them, and this builds trust for the future. As you celebrate milestones in your marriage God will actually change you to make this more of a regular sort of thing than a special thing, and you will find yourself wanting to worship God and honor your spouse more and more!
So, allow me to end this post in a fitting way— by celebrating my wife, Whitney. Whitney, happy three years of marriage; it truly has been the best three years of my life. You are my best friend, and you are an absolute joy to be married to. I thank God for your love, kindness, joy, level-headedness, and your desire to help me as best as you can. Thank you God for sovereignly guiding my marriage and protecting it, I pray for further guidance and grace in our lives.