Having crossed the same Rubicon, I have learnt. A lot. I put together 15 of the lessons I have learnt (not in any particular order) as I was reflecting over how I got here. Read on and enjoy:
1. Attraction and falling in love are not enough. You have to learn to love your spouse, and to be committed to him. It is a humbling process but it has great rewards.
2. Don't ever take each other for granted: Don't assume that because you are married, etiquette, good manners and being civil does not apply to your spouse. How you manage these three things speak a lot about you, not him
3. Jesus is the center. This is not a rhetoric or an in statement, but if It had not been for the help of the Lord teaching me and helping me, I may have just been another divorce statistic.
4. Honoring and respecting my husband in front of my family, kids and in laws, colleagues, church folk, etc demonstrates my love and esteem for him. It also sets the order in my house.
5. Bad mouthing my spouse unjustly to friends and family, no matter how close they are does make you look better. It destroys your marriage
6. Don't repeatedly talk about your spouse or 'report' them to their parents or members of their family. It speaks more about your upbringing than theirs.
5. Fights will happen. Yep. It definitely will. You will disagree and you will hurt each other. Register your willingness to forgive, even if your emotions are speaking otherwise. God will help you if you are willing to be helped.
6. Fight fair: Deal with the issue and not the person. Bad words have a way of lingering and springing up at the wrong time
7. The day I discovered that my husband and I were different parts of the same coin was the day I gained my freedom to love him without restraint. We are different, and we will always be. Understanding that and accepting it creates the space to love him better.
8. Your spouse, like any other person, will see things from a perspective different from yours on many things. Don't take it personal. Learn to accept, and even celebrate it. It teaches patience and increases intelligence.
9. Copy 1 Corinthians 13 and paste it somewhere you can always see it. Repeat it to yourself everyday
10. Having a healthy perspective about sex in marriage helps to enjoy each other and the sexual act.
11. Be loyal to each other. Be loyal to your wife. Be loyal to your husband. Be loyal.
12. Trust is earned and built. You don't have to have an affair to show infidelity. Once your spouse cannot trust you, you cannot go very far in your relationship. And vice versa.
13. A good marriage is hard work and sacrifice. Invest in your marriage as you invest in your business or career. Marriage is ministry. Don't take people and resources that invest in your marriage for granted.
14. Don't place your expectations of happiness, and peace and fulfillment on your spouse. Doing that is setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache. Don't place what only God can do in the hands of a human being. Man was not made to be the source of joy for another man. God is.
15. I have learnt that I still have a lot to learn. To stop learning is to stop growing and what does not grow, withers.
Here is to another 15 years...