My husband and I celebrated yet another wedding anniversary last week — our 26th. In honor of that milestone, I’m sharing our secret, time-tested recipe for a happy marriage.
Married life has been every bit as sweet and satisfying as I always dreamed it would be. My husband is my best friend, and I love getting to live life with him, sharing moments and making memories together. I feel incredibly blessed to be wed to such an amazing man.
Even so, staying married — and happily so — has taken much more work than either of us ever imagined.
Our Recipe for a Happy Marriage
Building a happy marriage is an ongoing process. It’s not something you can power through once, then check off your to-do list. There’s no propping your feet up and saying, “That’s done. Now I can move on to a different project.”
Marriage is a dynamic relationship. Unless a husband and wife are drawing closer, they’re drifting apart. If their love isn’t waxing, it’s waning. If their passion’s not heating up, it’s growing cold.
There is no automatic pilot. No cruise control. No steady state. And no mindless maintaining of the status quo.
Living “happily ever after” is not a given. It takes purpose and persistence, planning and prioritizing. If I want a happy marriage, then I must work to make it happy, each and every day.
Getting married is easy. Staying married, not so much.
A lot of couples expect marriage to be a piece of cake. When they discover otherwise, many want to throw in the (dish)towel and get out of the kitchen.
They forget that even a piece of cake takes time, attention, and know-how. The very best cakes (like the very best marriages) are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, carefully measured, skillfully mixed, and beautifully decorated.
Do you want a happily-ever-after marriage? It will require a lot of love and commitment, self-sacrifice and mutual respect, patience, forgiveness, friendship, and tender affection (refer to recipe below).
God will supply the ingredients (see links below). But you’ve got to furnish the labor yourself.
Ingredients for a Happy Marriage
- 3 cups of genuine love – Romans 12:9
- 2 cups of friendship (not imitation) – Proverbs 18:24
- 1 cup tender affection – Romans 12:10
- 2 tablespoons happy thoughts – Philippians 4:8
- 4 cups of commitment, firmly packed – Proverbs 16:3
- 3 cups of selflessness – Philippians 2:3-4
- 2 cups of mutual respect – 1 Peter 2:17
- 2 cups of hard work – Colossians 3:23
- 1 cup of forgiveness (not optional) – Colossians 3:31
- 1 heaping cup of patience – Romans 12:12
- 1/2 cup understanding – Proverbs 24:3
- 1/2 cup humility – Ephesians 4:2
- 2 tablespoons of true grit – 1 Corinthians 15:58
Directions for Creating a Happy Marriage
- In a large capacity bowl, whisk together love, friendship, affection, and happy thoughts.
- In a separate container, sift together commitment, selflessness, respect, hard work, forgiveness, patience, understanding, humility, and grit.
- Fold love and affection mixture into the combined dry ingredients and
blend until smooth. Pour into a well-oiled pan and bake until golden.
- Glaze with liberal amounts of physical intimacy, then sprinkle heavily
with a sense of adventure. Makes 2 generous portions.
- Does not freeze well, so plan on baking a fresh batch daily. Best served
warm with a side of ice cream.
The bottom line? You really can have your cake and eat it, too. But only if you stay in the kitchen and keep on baking.
More Biblically Sound Marriage Tips
The Word of God is full of wisdom for every facet of life, but we’ve found it especially helpful in building a happy, healthy marriage. For a fascinating look at how science has confirmed the superiority of God’s design, check out my book Love Your Husband, Love Yourself.
Printed it and had it plastic-coated, now it is hanging in my bathroom (Dutch custom to hang things worth reading in the bathroom – you always have some time there) 🙂
This is good, i love this.
Jacob Nwachi says
I need your articles on Recipe for a happy marriage. Am a minister of the gospel of Christ.
Jennifer Flanders says
Glad you liked my “recipe,” Jacob. If you want, you may download and print copies to use with your congregation by clicking here. You might also be interested in “25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband” and “25 Ways to Express Love to Your Wife,” both of which are also available as free printables, too.
Homeschool on the Croft says
Oh, so true… We’ve been married 22 years and like you, have a wonderful marriage. But I would be kidding if I said it hadn’t taken hard work.
As long as you have commitment from both parties, I reckon most things can be worked through. After all, when we’re in the ‘valleys’, we realize, ‘Well, we’re married for life, so better get climbing up that mountainside. It’s either life together in this grey valley, or life together higher up the mountain’ 🙂
And yes … it’s always worth the effort to make things better, isn’t it.
Oh, and belated anniversary 🙂
Rick Warner says
Great mix and so true made fresh each day. Thanks