Recently I heard a popular author say, “Write what you know.”

Currently I am 10,000 feet in the air flying from Seattle to Killeen with my husband. We are returning from Alaska, where we went on a cruise.

Staring out the window, I thought, “After almost 18 years of marriage, what do I know?” Within a minute, I knew the most important thing I know is to honor our marriage.

As I reflected on honoring our marriage, I came up with a brief (definitely not exhaustive) list of ways to show honor. Here’s what I know:

1. I know that in a good marriage you must confront issues. There are times it seems easier to just ignore problems; however, problems in marriage only incubate and grow unless addressed. Whatever we refuse to confront will happen again. We confront with the intent to restore, not destroy.

2. I know children are amazing. Whether adopted, biological, or fostered, they add a newness to marriage. There is something precious about sharing a new life with our spouse that just keeps us smiling. And yet, they require so much of our time and energy (especially babies and toddlers). Undivided one-on-one time with our spouse is huge. I know date nights or going on a walk and just talking is healthy to our marriage.

3. I know there will be many times our spouses will hurt our feelings. They may say or do things that break our heart. Over the last 18 years, I have certainly hurt my husband’s heart. Something he taught me is forgiveness. Forgiving yourself and your spouse is not saying that what was done is OK. Forgiveness is saying what was done will not rule and ruin your life. I know forgiveness is neccessary in marriage.

4. I know we need other married people in our life. Those who can help us navigate the storms are valuable assets. We need friends who are happily married. We must steer clear of those who want to badmouth or disrespect their spouse. These friendships are cancerous to our marriage. This is one of the reasons marriage groups are so effective. We meet friends who care about marriage like we do.

5. I know our spouses have annoying habits. Perhaps it’s biting nails, crunching ice or smoking. It may be something small, but it may really bother you. We have a tendency to nag, hoping our spouse will stop the annoying behavior. I have found nagging is not effective. After confronting the behavior, I know the best thing to do is guard my heart to keep the behavior from affecting me (and driving me nuts!).

6. I know vacationing alone with my husband is important. I believe family vacations are also important; however, for the sake of our marriage we have to have time alone. Vacations give us time to prioritize our marriage, have fun together, and have quality time. They also show our children that our marriage is important.

As we begin preparing our descent into San Antonio, I look at my husband and think how blessed I am to have him. I do pay honor to the struggles and the hard times of our marriage because I have learned from them. But I also honor the good times because they have held us together and became a platform to build on.

Even with his annoying habits, he is still my first choice for a travel companion and my only choice for a life companion.

Until next time, remember to honor your marriage.

Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.

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