Here are 15 truths from 15 years of marriage:
1). Be prepared to move. In 15 years, we've moved three times. Our first home was seminary housing in New Orleans. In April 2005 we moved to Moreland, Georgia, and in December 2016, we moved to Lexington, Kentucky.
2). Children change your life. Our first year of marriage was childless - we did whatever and whenever we wanted. Those days are long gone.
3). Your marriage is more important than your children. After Jesus, the best thing you can give your children is a Christ-centered marriage they can model when they're married.
4). Married couples should worship and serve the Lord through their church. God only created three institutions: Marriage, Family, and the Church. You've given your life to Jesus, you've married your spouse, you raise children, and everyone in your house worships and serves the Lord through your local church. This is God's plan for you.
5). Discuss money daily. You and your spouse must know how much money is being spent. Nightly questions: What did I buy today? What do we need to purchase tomorrow? What bills need to be paid? Financial communication is your friend.
6). Your marriage rests on trust. You must believe what your spouse says and encourage transparency. The truth matters - your marriage can't be built on deceit.
7). Critical words don't promote positive actions. Criticizing, insulting, hollering, yelling - negatives don't create positives.
8). God speaks to you through your spouse. Your spouse is able to speak wisdom into you because they know you best. Sherri has told me things I need to do, things I need to change.
9). Premarital counseling can be blueprint for the future. Sherri and I had realistic expectations. Too much emphasis is placed on the wedding, once the 30-minute wedding is over, real life begins.
10). Your spouse's problems become your problems. Their past, friends, family - become yours.
11). Your spouse and your children will follow more of what you do than what you say. Empty promises, threats, and plans fall on deaf ears. Your family follows your actions - they know the real you. The phrase, "Talk is cheap," has some truth to it.
12). It's hard to get away from younger children. "Date Nights" and "Get Away Weekends" sound great, but aren't always possible. Sherri and I have joked, "When someone has a new baby, they go missing in action from church for two years." The more children, the more anchored.
13). The more you do together, the better, Think we, not me. You're not single anymore, your plans should be their plans.
14). Marriage mirrors God's covenant relationship with His people. God never promised: "perfect happiness" or "conflict-free living." If happiness is the goal of marriage, you'll get divorced as soon as the happiness wanes.
15). A Christ-centered relationship and an other-centered attitude along with a commitment to making your marriage flourish - this attitude shows your marriage isn't about you. God desires you to be an encourager to your spouse, not a critic. Build up rather than tear down.
5 Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Marriage