When I completed my Masters in Educational Administration, I was surprised to learn that reflection was such a huge part of the educational landscape. Many scholarly articles and research have been written on reflective practices in education. Reflection in education is - "the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning." If reflection is pivotal in Education, it seems a natural progression that reflection can be applied to other areas of life particularly marriage. As I reflected, the questions that kept coming up were, "What keeps a marriage together? What makes a marriage thrive? What makes us so special, when so many quit?"
From my vantage point the answer is shared values. That may not have been the answer you expected but shared values are foundational to everything else.
Values are things you believe in, that anchor you, that in today's lingo are "non-negotiable". Values keep you when you don't feel the love or when you're on different pages. Shared values force you as a unit to unite.
|Artist's Rendition of us on our Honeymoon|
Shared values over the years:
- Shared faith - for us our faith,our Christian beliefs determine how we live. It is intertwined in everything we do. In our marriage we have seen the truth of the scripture "Iron sharpens Iron", as we have both benefited from the sharpening affect of iron. We both take our faith seriously and we both want to grow. Sometimes we challenge each other but more often than not, life also challenges us. We have hung in there and are better for it.
- Mutual respect and trust - I trust my husband without reservation and he does the same for me. Now I know this is uncommon, but what's the alternative? I don't have a reason to not trust my husband, and if there is ever a doubt we can talk it out.
- Support - My husband has said he wants the best for me, he wants to see me happy, (BTW, I don't always remember this when I'm annoyed with him) but he is unwavering in his support. It bothers him when he can't do something to make me happy, but since I know his heart and his intent, that is often enough for me. I'm in California as a show of support for my husband, and he's hugely appreciative of the efforts made on his behalf.
- Children - we both wanted children but differed on the number. We both valued raising Godly children but our methods were different. Over the years we just kept working it out: sometimes both of us have no clue what we're doing; sometimes its clear one person has great insight in a particular area so the other just steps back and sometimes it is absolutely reassuring when both of us are saying the same thing and passing on Godly wisdom to our children. It's at times like these we know we have shared values.
These may be the most important, but there are others - such as friendship, honesty, perseverance, and generosity, just to name a few.
So, we're here. It's important to remember and reflect. It's important to celebrate. We feel blessed to have made it this far and we hope to have many more years together.
Read all of this series:
Part one - Believe The Best
Part two - The Gift of Marriage
Part three - Unload Your Baggage
Part four - Romance is NOT Dead