I love my wife more today than the day we were married, but it would be misleading to leave the impression that it has been trouble free. Two values in particular have kept us from becoming a statistic.
1. Managing Expectations. I don't expect to be happily married all the time. In every marriage there are both ongoing minor irritations and occasional blow ups. And over the life of a marriage, perhaps one, two, three, or even four extended periods where the marriage itself seems at risk. So run from anyone who says their marriage is all bliss. A family systems scholar, Edwin Friedman, states, "In reality, no human marriage gets a rating of more than 70%." I will add that it gets sweeter with each passing year--probably a function of age and maturity.
2. Commitment to the Institution. It's more important to be committed to the institution of marriage than your spouse. That's not to say it's not important to be committed to your spouse--that's incredibly important. But unless you are more committed to the institution than the person, what is the moral glue that will keep you committed to your marriage during those inevitable times when you just don't like each other very much? The pay off is that "86 percent of unhappily married people who stick it out find that, five years later, their marriages are happier," (National Survey of Families and Households).
Until every church disciples every man…