With those words, the newly proclaimed couple will join over 60 million ring-bearing couples in the United States. One hundred and twenty million people live their everyday ordinary lives as married adults.
I am one of those adults. I have been, so far, for nearly twenty-two years.
Healthy marriages certainly consist of generous gift giving, flower bouquet surprises, and exotic anniversary trips; but those things are the proverbial "icing on the cake." How about the cake? Since you asked, I'll share my not-so-secret recipe.
Mark's Recipe for an Ordinary Life Marriage
Optional (and highly encouraged) Ingredients:
Moving out of Parents' Basement
$ Set Aside for Fun
- Carefully choose a compatible man and woman and introduce them to each other.
- Continue to stir as the mixture of attraction and love thickens into a firm commitment.
- Engage the services of a pastor, priest, or willing and qualified friend to invite the couple to voice their commitment publicly. [Optional (highly encouraged): rings exchanged here.]
- Encourage the couple (in most cases, very little applied pressure is needed) to slowly and steadily increase the temperature (aka - turn up the heat). Warning: Results may vary. Any long-lasting results will fully appear in about nine months time.
- Invite the happy couple to set goals in regard to their life.
Suggested topics (along with words to say):
God "Serve Him."
Church "Choose, attend, and serve in one."
Debt "Avoid it."
Money "Save for the future." "Buy memories."
Conflict "Expect and deal with conflict."
Fun "Have it."
- Introduce the couple to passages from the Bible.
Song of Songs
Ephesians 5:21-33 (Make sure they start in verse 21.)
- Remind the couple to pray for one another and encourage them to continually repeat steps 2 -6.
- Ask the man and woman to commit to faithfulness and forgiveness.
- If the first two ingredients begin to separate, introduce them to a trained recipe counselor.
- If the first two ingredients, when mixed, create a child or children, remind them to continue to nurture their connection as they care for their offspring.
- Remind the first two ingredients of Jesus' words in Mark 10:9 - "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
- Add spices as necessary and desired.