Posted on our church's website two weeks ago by my beautiful bride, Bobbi Jo Cloeter.
I’ve spent a third of my life as a wife. Remember that I am young, so it’s not as long as you think. I met my husband 12 ½ years ago when we were both camp counselors. I knew the moment I saw him, I was going to marry him. Needless to say, he didn’t stand a chance.Back then he was a quiet, serious, thoughtful college student.I was pretty much the opposite. We instantly clashed. In fact, I’m pretty sure the staff was taking bets as to how long before there was a brawl between the two of us. As it turns out, we didn’t hate each other, but were actually attracted to each other. We would spend hours talking and sharing stories and dreams and silly jokes and confessing our deepest, darkest secrets.
At the time, I didn’t know how important those hours were. We still think back to those days with a wistfulness for more times like that and probably a bit of disbelief that we could survive on two hours of sleep a night. In all my years of wifery, I have learned a few things that I think are keys to a strong, loving, God-centered marriage; a top ten of sorts.
10. Say “I love you” everyday. Text it, write it, pantomime…get that message out there!
9. Sleep on it… I actually think going to bed angry is OK. Then you don’t argue while crabby. Start fresh in the AM.
8. Do stuff together. Take walks together. Cook together.Never stop dating. Even grocery shopping is more fun with your spouse…usually. Sitting by each other while both on your smart phone doesn’t count.
7. Dream together. What do you want to do as a couple? Where would you like to travel? Where do you see your family in the future? Plan your dreams together.
6. Support each other. I know this may come as a shock, but sometimes Jeff and I don’t see eye to eye on everything. Still, I try to show a united front. Be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader.
5. Have fun together. It’s ok to be goofy with your spouse. Let your silly side come out and laugh with each other.
4. Trust each other. Share your secrets, your thoughts, your fears. Learn to rely on each other for the important stuff and the “unimportant” stuff.
3. Forgive each other. Though some of us are close :), none of us are perfect. It isn’t fair to expect perfection from another person.
2. Pray together. Share a prayer journal, say it out loud, hold hands during worship. All of these connect you to each other and to God.
1. Be humble. Aim to put your spouse above yourself.Jesus humbled himself for us. This isn’t a suggestion to neglect yourself, but to consider the wants and needs of your spouse.
This list is not comprehensive. It’s also not a check list of rules to be followed. It is merely a few suggestions on how to approach marriage and make it work. There are people who’ve been married for decades longer than us, and we often set them and their marriages up as models for our relationship. My parents still date each other. Jeff’s parents spend a week in the Boundary Waters camping together. John and Sharon are each other’s biggest supporters. Bob and Lynn share a passion for ministry together. All these couples have been married for decades and are still committed to each other and to God. God created man and woman for each other and the list above is our approach to ensuring our marriage lasts.