Years ago, I (Cindy) read some wise advice that an older woman gave to her son concerning marriage. I remember it to this day. It was great advice. She and her husband had one of those inspirational marriages, but it wasn’t easy to build it to be that way. (Most aren’t!) At times, it was downright difficult. Oftentimes she wanted to give up. But thankfully, she didn’t; they didn’t.
In her declining years her son asked her for some of her secrets on having a long, happy marriage. She told him first up, that over the years, she had heard all kinds of excuses as to why some spouses couldn’t make their marriages work. One of them was that they never had a good marriage modeled for them while growing up. But this woman didn’t buy that excuse. She said that she learned:
“If you didn’t have a good example of marriage being lived out while growing up then do what it takes to learn how to BE a good example. We need more good examples.”
To that we say amen! We’ve had to do the same thing.
She said that with all of the great marriage advice that is available to us, and with the Holy Spirit to guide us, it doesn’t make sense that we can’t work out our differences. That is, if we both apply ourselves to follow God’s way of doing things. You will then BE a good example. You can’t do your spouse’s part; but you are responsible for doing yours!
Inspirational Marriages Inspire Others
After all, isn’t that what you promised? But also, it’s important to weather the tough times in our marriages so we’re an inspiration to others, as well. When we give up, we “inspire” others to give up on their marriages too. It’s called “Social Contagion.” When one married couple gives up on their marriage, others are “inspired” to do the same. Sadly, getting a divorce can be catchy! We see this all the time in work settings, families, and among friends.
But then there are those inspirational marriages that cause others to keep trying harder to hold theirs together. They think, “If they can make theirs work, so can we!” They dig in deeper to apply themselves to learn and do what they need to so their marriage can grow into loving ones too.
That’s what we do and have done. We look to other good marriages to see what they do that can help ours.
Here’s one that has inspired us. Ken and Joni Erickson Tada have and keep growing one of those inspirational marriages. A while back, we read a Today’s Christian Woman article titled, In This Thing Together, written by Ken Tada. Ken is married to Joni Erickson Tada. Joni is quadriplegic and often faces many challenges. But we love how her husband Ken stands by her with all of the trials that come as a result of her paralysis. It can be an inspiration to us all! They may not do everything perfectly, but who does?
In this article, Ken wrote the following:
“My wife and I aren’t marriage experts. We aren’t even experts at doing the disability thing. But we know this: suffering can either drive people apart in a marriage, or it can bind them together.
“And just as God reveals tender, intimate things when we patiently hold fast to him through our personal suffering, a marriage is tenderized when a couple patiently holds fast to God—and to each other—through hardships.
“I say this to any husband and wife going through tough times. God reveals himself to us when we come together, needing him desperately. And when we cling to God out of need, one of the most satisfying fruits of the Holy Spirit—the fruit of patience—can’t help but take root in a marriage.”
What an inspiration… and again, Amen! Thank you, Jesus, for these types of testimonies! They strengthen our resolve all the more when times get tough. But there are other sides to marriage too.
More Inspirational Marriages
Pastor Ray Pritchard shared this inspiring testimony in his Keepbelieving.com sermon, “Forever and Ever Amen.” Here’s what he relates about someone that he claims to be “the greatest lover”:
“Let’s begin with a little quiz. What television actor said the following? ‘To me the greatest Latin lover in the world was my dad, who married my mother. He was faithful to her until the day he died 55 years later. Now, that’s a great lover! I’m talking about a man who’s intelligent and romantic enough to keep one woman interested all the time.’ Do you know who said that? I’ll give you a hint. You’ve seen him on commercials talking about rich Corinthian leather.
Still don’t know? He is most famous for his starring role on ‘Fantasy Island.’ His name is Ricardo Montalban and he has followed in his father’s footsteps. He has been married to the same woman for over 45 years.”
Ricardo and his son can be inspirational to those who truly want to reach for the goal of being “the greatest lover.” We can all inspire to be that for our spouse.
And just to give you a few more, we also found more inspirational marriages that you can read about and view in these linked articles:
And here are some more for those of you who are going through a tough time in your marriage. You may want to call it quits. Perhaps these inspirational marriages can give you hope:
Inspirational Thoughts to Help Us Grow Inspirational Marriages
And then here are a few inspirational thoughts for you to grab onto that may help you in your approach to your marriage:
“Men, you’ll never be a good groom to your wife unless you’re first a good bride to Jesus.” (Tim Keller) “A man doesn’t own his marriage; he is only the steward of his wife’s love.” (Ed Cole)
And the same goes for women. When we say, “I do” that statement ushers us in to being one part of a chord of three strands. (See Ecclesiastes 4:12.) We are to be a bride to Jesus, as well as to our husband. Plus, we are to be a steward of our husband’s love–God’s colleague in showing the love of God to our husband. Sometimes this involves tough love, but it always involves God’s love.
Growing inspirational marriages is hard work! Even so, it’s some of the best work we can apply ourselves to do! Here are a few more thoughts that can help you as you apply them:
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.” (C.S. Lewis) “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” (G.K. Chesterton) “As 1 Corinthians 13 so famously states, ‘let all that you do be done in love.‘” (Bri Lamm)
And then lastly:
As you fall forward, or fail forward, consider the testimony you will be living out to inspire those who are newer in their marriages. Prayerfully consider:
“Is there anything more beautiful than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts on the path of marriage? Is anything more beautiful than young love? Yes, it’s seeing an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped. Their hearts are physically tired, but still strong with love for one another. A more beautiful thing than young love is old love.” (Unknown)
May these examples be inspirational for all of us to live out all the days of our marriages! That way, not only are we blessed, but others are blessed, as well. That is the prayer of our hearts for our marriage—that we reveal and reflect the love of Christ until God takes us to our final home. We hope it is yours, as well.
May we live out our married lives in such a way that we follow what we’re told in God’s Word!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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