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God makes the best peanut butter

Sammy Millar on why God is the key ingredient in marriage.
Sammy Millar
Posted February 12, 2013

Last month, Brenton and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.   What a crazy, fun, wild ride it’s been! Ups, downs, twists and turns don’t begin to describe it.

Living together, working together and two children later, it’s fair to say we have learnt a lot. 

Five key lessons we take from the past five years go a little like this:

1.  When conflict arises, remember the 3 Cs:

Confront: We can be quick to confront the other person, but how about confronting ourselves and asking, ‘What part did I play?’ ‘Did I anger easily, react, or have unrealistic expectations in the first place?’ I won’t change our relationship for the better by trying to change my spouse; the best way to bring about change is by starting with me. This means confronting my own weaknesses, expectations and actions. When I do this, I often end up apologising.
Commit: Whatever the conflict may be, we’re in this for the long haul so we are committed to working through it.
Communicate: Share our perspective openly and honestly. Communication isn’t just about expressing our perspective, it’s also essential to listen to our spouse’s perspective. Sometimes this might mean going away to process what they’ve said and coming back to talk about it again later.

2. People watch.

Growing up, I watched the relationships of those around me and decided what I wanted my own marriage to be like (and not to be like). Brenton and I still look to other couples we respect, seeing what things from their marriages we can implement in our own. We also recognise that other people are watching our marriage, especially our children. How we treat each other needs to be consistent—in and out of the home.

3. Love selflessly.

Ephesians 5:2 (The Message) says: ‘Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.’

If I am serious about putting this verse into practice in my marriage, it means loving my spouse by giving everything of me, without ulterior motives and without expecting anything in return. It means encouraging, equipping and empowering him to be all he can be. I’m convinced this can only result in marital bliss.

4. Keep the fire burning.

Brenton and I have found that time together fuels our relationship. We regularly spend time together on ‘date nights’ without the children. This is invaluable.

5. God makes the best peanut butter.

If we are the slices of bread in a sandwich, God is the peanut butter in the middle. If we’re the bricks, God’s the mortar. If we are the pages of a book, God is the spine binding us together.

This is without a doubt the greatest learning we take from the past five years. Our marriage is at its best and strongest when we make God the centre of our relationship. We grow and develop together as a couple when we are regularly spending time together in God’s presence, in prayer and in the Bible.
We are still rookies at marriage—we haven’t mastered these lessons and have a lot more to learn—but it’s a blast all the same. Marriage, with all its challenges, excitement and fun, is the best adventure I’ve ever been on!

By Sammy Millar (abridged from War Cry 9 February 2013, p3)