By Keith Gaebel
1. When you married you promised to be the person to own your mate’s heart and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. You chose your mate, never forget it, and never get lazy in your loving, never take your mate for granted.
2. Protect your own heart in the same way you committed to your mate. Love yourself fully with the same vigilance, because there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except your mate. Keep that space always as an open invitation to receive your mate. Refusing to let anyone or anything else to enter there.
3. Fall in love over and over again. Constant change is guaranteed to come, and in that, you will have to choose each other every day. You must take care of your mate’s heart. Always aggressively win your mate’s love as you did while courting.
4. Always see the best in your mate. Focus only on what it is you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love and you will know, without a doubt, that you are the most blessed person on earth to be married to this person.
5. Your job is to love your mate as is, and not try to fix them, with no expectation of ever seeing a change. If change happens, love the results of that change whether it is what you wanted or not.
6. Take full accountability of your own emotions. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that, your joy will spill over into your marriage and your love.
7. Only God can and will heal your past hurts and give you emotional rest when you give those hurts to Him. You were attracted to the mate you chose. Why? Because of being the best person suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds so that you could find healing and emotional rest. When healed this way you will no longer be triggered by your mate and you will wonder why you ever were.
8. Allow your mate to be who God intended them to be. When sad or upset, it is not your job to fix it. It is your job to hold your mate, to establish the feeling of importance, and to bring in a sense of OK-ness. When storms of change and emotions roll in, remain strong for your mate and give the assurance you are in this for the long haul. Listen to what is really being said and what is behind the words and emotions.
9. Be playful… don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh. And make your mate laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier… and is good medicine.
10. Learn each other’s love languages and the specific ways your mate feels cherished and validated. Make it a priority each day to allow your mate to experience your love.
11. Be present. Time and focus are the most important assets to soul satisfaction. A cleared head makes room for the sense of oneness, oneness is the reason for marriage. Being fully available is gold.
12. Be willing to be carried away in the power of masculinity and the softness of feminism. Full trust dwells in the penetration to the deepest levels of the soul and the satisfying acceptance of the consuming and devouring affection.
13. Do not be an idiot… do not be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes as will your mate. You are not supposed to be perfect, just try not to be too stupid.
14. Give each other the space to develop their God-given individual gifts and talents. Becoming who you are is the space needed for renewal, centering, and you will find yourself singing new songs. Encourage each other in their gifts and talents.
15. Be vulnerable. You do not have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears, your feelings, your challenges, and be quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
16. Be fully transparent. If you want their trust, you must be willing to share everything. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart to let your mate in. Part of courage in loving is to drop the mask of even the dark places then you will experience the full dimension of what love can be.
17. Never stop growing together. A stagnant pond breeds malaria; a flowing stream is always refreshing and delightful. Atrophy is the process when a muscle stops working, just like if you stop working on your marriage oneness.
18. Don’t stress about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It disappears when teammates fight. Figure out together ways to leverage both person’s strength to win.
19. Forgive immediately and focus on the present rather than being a hostage to the emotional weight of the past. Holding onto past mistakes is like an anchor to the forward movement in your marriage. Forgiveness gives the freedom of a lifted anchor. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.
20. Always, always choose love. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this becomes the accepted principle through which all your choices are governed there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will endure when that love is defined within the Spirit of all Love.