When people hear how long Joel and I have been married, they often ask, "How do you do it? What's your secret? Do you ever fight?" Well, Joel and I are as human as any other couple, but early in our relationship, we made some decisions about how we would treat each other and how we would respond to one another.
First of all, Joel and I choose to respect one another. We value each other's thoughts and opinions, and we make sure to listen and consider what the other has to say. We don't always agree on everything, but we do agree that we want peace in our home. Sometimes that means we have to simply agree to disagree. In other words, we can still respect and love each other even when we don't see eye to eye.
Another decision we made early in our relationship is to support one another. We recognize that we are a team, and whatever we decide to do, we do it together. Anytime we had a financial goal, we both did our part to save money. If we were remodeling a house, I was right there with him laying sod in the yard. When we were building our home, I was there every day to meet the subcontractors and help keep us on schedule. When Joel became pastor of the church, I did my part in the service as well.
As our lives have evolved over the years, we've both been willing to do whatever it takes to keep our connection strong with one another. For example, several years ago when we assumed leadership at the ministry, our lives became fuller and more complicated. Oftentimes, we'd find ourselves moving in different directions. We had to make an extra effort to connect with each other throughout the day. If we weren't careful, we could easily find ourselves breezing right by each other, our minds preoccupied with the tasks at hand. Instead, each time we passed, we chose to acknowledge each other—to make a connection. Sometimes we high five, sometimes it's a quick "I love you," and occasionally, he'll plant a kiss right on my lips. It's not important how we connect, but it is important that we do connect. We are both busy people. We both have a lot going on, but whenever we see each other, everything else is placed on hold for a moment while we connect.
I encourage you today to treasure the people in your life. Be willing to make adjustments to improve your relationships. Respect one another and don't hold on to offenses. Keep the connections strong. You may be going through a difficult time right now, but remember, there are better days ahead in your future. The difficulty may be for a season, but your relationship is for a lifetime. Keep the right perspective. Remember, people are God's priority, and when we make the people in our life our priority, we are taking steps toward building lasting relationships.
A friend loves at all times… (Proverbs 17:17)