5 Good Attitudes to Bring to Your Marriage

Several years ago, I was having dinner with a friend who recounted the tale of a wedding ceremony he had attended. The couple had written their own vows, which included the line “for as long as our love shall last.” My friend was shocked—sure, about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, but most marriages don’t begin with that end in mind. And yet here we are.

If we want healthy and happy marriages, we can’t approach the altar with such a negative attitude. We need to hold onto and cultivate good mindsets that will allow our marriages to flourish. Here are 5 good attitudes in marriage that will lead to growth, appreciation, and long-lasting love.

Should I Make My Teen _____________?

When I was a youth minister, I had more than one parent approach me to talk about a defiant teen. Many teens go through a rebellious phase. They crave freedom and independence, and they often reject the traditions of their parents for the practices of their friends. So what do you do? Can a parent force a child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do? No. But parents can spend time and energy trying.

When counseling parents about their teens, I often suggest that they pick their battles carefully. Sometimes you need to stand your ground, and sometimes you need to let go. The question you have to ask is this: “Should I try to make them do this or might this be a battle not worth fighting?” Here are 5 situations you’ll probably face with your teen and whether to force or be flexible.

You Might Wish You Were Me, But I Would Love to Be You

I saw you from across the park this morning. You had a preschooler and a toddler running all over the playground, and you were holding an infant in your arms as you watched them. You were dressed in sweats, and your hair was in a messy bun. You looked so tired, and so beautiful too.

We made eye contact across the playground, and you smiled at me. Then your toddler fell off the swing, and you had to rush over to help him. We made eye contact a few more times as I walked laps along the park path, and the envy in your eyes was painfully obvious. You might have thought that I was a childless woman enjoying a morning walk in the park. You might have thought my kids were grown and my baby days happily behind me. I know I certainly looked the part, with my well-rested eyes, my makeup and hair done, and my clean dress. For at least a moment, you wished you were me.

In reality, I have more in common with you than you think. I haven’t had three children, but I do know what it’s like to chase after a toddler and a preschooler. My eyes might be clear and my clothes might be clean now, but I’ve had my fair share of sleepless nights, colicky babies, and spit-up stains. But my two children are older now, and my chances of having a third are slim.

You might wish you were me, but I would love to be you. I would love to be pregnant again, knowing that I held the newest member of our family within me. I would love to cradle a newborn in my arms as I watch my preschooler and kindergartner play on the playground. I would love to see my son and daughter fawn over their new baby sibling. I wouldn’t even mind suffering another year of sleepless nights, spit-up stains, and tired arms, if it only meant the chance to cradle another child in my arms.

You might have been jealous of me, but I was probably a bit more jealous of you. You might wish you looked more put together, that you had more time to wash your hair and do your makeup. You might wish that you could wear nice clothes without worrying about spit-up stains. I’m sure you wish you could have a full night’s sleep. I know I wished for all those things when my children were little, and now I have them. But when you suffer from infertility, you realize that having those things isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be (though getting a full night’s sleep truly is heavenly). You’re willing to temporarily trade all of those things (since we’ve already learned that these things do in fact come to an end) to have another baby in our arms.

I saw you from across the park this morning. I looked into your eyes, and I saw just a hint of envy. But what did you see in mine? Did you see my envy? Did you see how badly I want another baby of my own? Or did you just see what I want the world to see- a woman perfectly content with her lot in life, a mother who is happy to have just two children? But do you want to know the truth? You might wish you were me, but I would love to be you.