A beautiful marriage is built on the back of a beautiful friendship.  This is truly where it starts.  A marriage built on anything else is like a house made of straw.  It will bend and break at the first signs of a storm.  This friendship is built with time and experiences, heartaches and struggles.  Without these experiences together you have not built and laid the stepping stones that will allow you to walk along the path that is marriage.  Imagine a beautiful trail lined with wildflowers and tall trees.  The actual trail however is muddy and hard to walk through.  For you to make it down this path, these stones have to be laid so that your feet don’t sink and become stuck.  These stones are your experiences together as a couple and even as a family.  With every new challenge in life or every new obstacle overcome you are given a new stone.  When you lay that stone, you know that it is solid and it can be relied on for a place to safely stand.  It has been tested and you know that it is tried and true. Sometimes, people forget to put certain stones down and although you may be able to step around the spot that is nothing but mud, one day you will forget that it is not there and you will sink. 

As I said, my wife and I dated for six years before I asked her to marry me.  We grew together through college.  We were with each other when we took our first professional jobs and stepped into the real world.  We moved hundreds of miles away from family and built a life based solely around our love for each other.  Every issue and problem we worked through together as a couple.  We had nobody else to rely on but ourselves. We have been through it all.  These years were spent building a cobblestone path through the woods that is as solid as can be. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone should date for six years before they get married or that if you didn’t you won’t have the proper foundations.  What I am saying is that whatever your path is, make sure it is built on solid ground.  If your already in a marriage that isn’t what you imagined it to be, take a step back and see where the weak points are.  Build on those weak points by having meaningful conversations, quality time together, and last but not least, total honesty.  It is honesty about what you love about your marriage, what you want to change, and where you see you and your family in years to come that brings about real growth and healing. Remember, Family First.

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