he year is 1519. Hernán Cortés and a crew of 600 men had just landed on the shores of Mexico. Their mission was simple: To conquer it. Many better-equipped armies had failed before them, but on landing, Cortés gave an order that was brand new. “Burn the boats,” he told his men. As they watched the boats burn, a new resolve was cemented in their minds. They would conquer this new land, or they would die trying. There was no other option. With this resolve, they went on to achieve victory in 1521, just two years later.
There’s an important marriage lesson here. On our wedding day, Jess and I made our wedding vows to each other, but more importantly, to God. We committed that we were in it for life. In the age where divorce statistics have skyrocketed, we knew exactly what we were saying, and we meant it with everything we had. You probably had something similar in your vows.
That mentality has helped to not only set the foundation of our marriage but has also given us much needed direction in difficult times.
When we feel secure in the permanence of our marriage, we’re more willing to put ourselves on the line, brokenness and all. This is why commitment is essential.
Here are some practical steps you can take today to “burn the boats” as you enter your marriage:
- Act like a team
- Talk about money decisions
- Don’t let yourself fall into the mental trap of having a backup plan
- Dream together
- Combine all of your finances
- In conflict, resolve it
- Agree to get help
- Fight the problem, not your spouse
- Remove “divorce” from your vocabulary
- Commit to being vulnerable
- Set some boundaries
Talk about major decisions together and don’t act until you both are willing to move forward. Everything from your wedding onward is an “us” decision, not a “me” decision.
You don’t need to talk about every single pack of gum you buy, but it’s helpful to set a dollar limit and agree to not make any purchases over that amount without talking to each other.
If we have a backup plan, it may start to sound more and more appealing in difficult times. That’s the opposite of being “all-in”.
Find creative ways to interweave your dreams so you can chase them as a team wherever possible.
Have one set of bank accounts that you both have equal access to. For the accounts that can’t be combined (like your retirement), you should both know where and how much each of you have. No secret stash of cash. Nothing held in reserve. This goes for any debts you may have as well.
Sometimes you’ll have to admit you’re wrong. If you get stuck in any conflict for more than a couple weeks, put your marriage ahead of your pride and get some help.
Committ to each other that either of you can make an appointment with a counselor at any time, for any reason, and the other one will be there.
The healthiest marriages are between two people who choose to fight the conflict side by side rather than fighting each other
It should never be mentioned in conversation. Not even when you’re really upset. That’s a seed of thinking that you never want to plant.
This can be difficult at times, but the more we open ourselves up to our spouse, the more intimate our marriage can become. If you actively apply these tips, you’ll be well on your way to cementing yourselves together as a team in the way that God intended.
Choose to make your spouse your only close friend of the opposite sex. Most affairs start as innocent friendships.
Which one of these steps stands out to you? Is there one that you want to start applying today? Let us know in the comments below…