3 Secrets for Marriage
Before the marriage advice, lets set the stage. Growing up Brandon saw marriage as two people loving each other through thick and thin, never giving up and pushing through the hard times. He saw this through his parents – two of the most amazing people you will ever meet! Together they navigated marriage, raising a family of 4 kids (three of them boys) + spending time with extended family and did it all with great love. That is what drew Brandon into the calling of marriage.
A Different Perspective
I on the other hand saw a totally different perspective of marriage. Both of my parents are truly amazing people as well, however the marriage front did not work well for them. I witness two people who argued all the time, who did not know how to except the others persons love and at the same time were trying to raise 6 kids – 5 who were from a previous marriage. I was the “only child” of my parents marriage, but not the only child in the family. When I was 12 my parents chose to divorce. This fallen example of marriage continued in my family. All of my siblings eventually got married and all of them got divorced as well.
SO WHAT CHANCE DID I HAVE!
The last chance and most powerful! Seeing all the divorce in my family I made up my mind to never get divorced, to love unconditionally, to love fully and to NEVER GIVE UP! And I knew I had to find a man who believed the very same thing to his core. So I prayed for that man!
GOD CAME THROUGH!
At the age of 28 I met Brandon and we talked a lot about marriage. His experience and mine. We talked about how we wanted a marriage to look, what our goal for marriage was, our hopes dreams… all of it. And by the grace of God it all lined up.
And yes we have a very happy, joy filled, beautiful and blessed marriage. But here is the secret and our marriage advice…
IT TAKES WORK!
Two of the most common questions we get either on an engagement shoot or during a couple’s grand reveal is…
…”how long have you been married?”
…”what is the key to a great marriage?”
We have answered this question several times, but lately the internet has been abuzz with Pope Francis’s 3 secrets for marriage. This is beautiful marriage advice. I have read his quotes on so many blogs and my heart said this should be re-posted and shared as many times as possible. And all I can say is, “way to go POPE!”. He said it better than we ever could – he nailed it on the head. Here is his advice.
1. Ask Permission
Pope Francis, “always ask your spouse, the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife, ‘what do you think, what do you think if we do this?’” rather than just “running over” the other without getting their opinion.”Know that courtesy is one of the properties of God … and courtesy is the sister of charity, which extinguishes hate and protects love.’ Yes, courtesy protects love. And today in our families, in our world, which is often violent and arrogant, we need much more courtesy. And this can begin at home.”
I know this may sound like difficult marriage advice, we get it. Asking for permission takes humility and may feel demeaning at times. But what we have learned is that asking permission and starting a conversation with a question allows the other to feel welcomed, trusted and invited into your heart. They feel loved by you and 9 times out of 10 they want the same thing you do. And if for some reason they don’t, this invites them to respond in love not in an argument.
2. Be Grateful
Pope Francis, “THANK YOU.” “It seems easy to say the word, but we know that is not always so … But it’s important! We teach it to the children, but then we forget it ourselves! Gratitude is an important quality. An old woman once said to me in Buenos Aires: ‘Gratitude is a flower that grows in the noble land.’ Nobility of the soul is necessary to grow this flower.’ In your relationship, and then tomorrow in married life, it is important to keep alive the awareness that the other person is a gift of God, and for the gifts of God to say thank you! And in this inner attitude say thanks to each other for everything. It is not a kind word to use just with strangers, to show you are educated. It is necessary to know how to say thank you, in order to get along well together in married life.”
“Thank You” after “I Love You” is the second most common thing we say to each other. And really it was Brandon who taught it to me by example. He has always thanked me even for the seemingly smallest things I would do since we met. It has rubbed off on me. I find myself noticing the very small things + the big things he does and being so grateful for it. And it really does feel good.
Pope Francis, “In life we make so many errors, many mistakes…We learn to recognize our mistakes and apologize. ‘Sorry if I raised my voice today,’ ‘I’m sorry if I went without saying goodbye,’ ‘I’m sorry if I’m late,’ ‘If I have been so unresponsive this week,’ ‘If I talked too much without ever listening,’ ‘Excuse me, I forgot,’ ‘I was angry and I’m sorry I’ve taken it out on you’… This is how a Christian family grows.”“Jesus, who knows us well, teaches us a secret: never end a day without asking for forgiveness, without peace coming back to our house, to our family,” the pope advised. “It is normal that there be a quarrel between husband and wife, but there’s always something to do about it. We had a fight … Maybe you’re angry, maybe a plate flew, but please remember this: never finish the day without making peace! Never, never, never! This is a secret, a secret to protect love and to make peace.”
Take it from us, this one is hard but so IMPORTANT! We pretty much have to say sorry and I forgive you at least once a day. It is this challenge that actually brings us the most happiness and peace. To know that no matter how bad we screw up the other person will be there. Even at our lowest moment the other person loves us. This brings us so much peace.
So there it is – three words “permission”, “gratitude” and “forgiveness”. If your soon to be married or have been married for years we hope this strengthens your bonds of beautiful married life.
For more of Pope Francis’ wisdom check out ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS TO ENGAGED COUPLES PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE
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