Our Journey in Marriage

Marriage is a Blessing – Don’t turn it into a curse.

Henry wedding 1Our Wedding Photo in 1987

This article may be slightly long compares to the normal standard of a web post. However, I hope you have the patience to read it through. We are sharing our journey of more than 20 years of marriage and really pray that someone like you who are reading it will be blessed.

For those of you who are deciding to walk down the aisle soon, you are surely overwhelmed by the prospect of you and your partner living happily together for the rest of your life. This is actually a good expectation. In fact, when both of you decide to say “I do” to each other, you should have such high hope of your marriage life.

Marriage can be one of the greatest blessings in your life. You are going to live with the person whom you loved and committed to for the rest of your life on earth. In years to come, two of you are going to have children to share this life together. How wonderful it is. Julia and I have married more than 20 years. Just recently, together with our two lovely teenage children, we went for a studio photo session to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We really had fun together. Besides taking the “trim and proper” poses, we had some relaxed and funny poses as well. The end result was a nicely bound wedding anniversary album that recorded one point of our marriage life together.


I hope nothing will deceive you by painting a marriage is a life “happily ever after”. A successful marriage filled with love, romance and vibrancy does not just happen like that – it takes much hard work and commitment by the couple. Of course, I would not suggest that married life is always gloomy. It certainly isn’t true in my case. The good news is you can have a happy marriage if you decide to make it a fulfilled and blessed one.

If you are contemplating to marry your partner soon, looking for some tips about building a strong and loving marriage relationship, you are at the right place. I am about to share with you ONE critical factor that can bless your marriage in many years to come. I am sure there are some of you, like Julia and I, who have married for many years, are probably looking for ways to enhance and revitalize your relationship with your partner. I promise to touch on your situation later. But I would encourage you to stay tune, I am confident that what I share with the newbie’s will provide some insights for your existing marriage relationship too.

CommitmentA Good Beginning is Half Way to Success – A Happy Marriage Needs to Start Well

I may make myself unpopular by saying this remark: a marriage is a life long commitment. If I say this in any other way, I am guilty of telling you this is not so important, you may just skip this and go on to other practical tips. I do not wish to deceive you. From my own experiences and many others, I can very confidently say that this is the foundation stone of a strong and happy marriage. Let me say it again; a marriage is a life long commitment. You probably will then ask, what then is commitment? According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, commitment is defined in three ways as:

  • a promise to do something or
  • a promise to behave in a particular way;
  • a promise to support somebody/something
Full Commitment for One Another is the key
Henry & Julia 3Our 20th Anniversary Photo – 2007

A committed marriage is therefore one that both partners promise to have and to hold no matter what may happen. Circumstances will surely change over time. It is important that you have faith in each other and continue to resolve whatever issues and challenges at hand together. Your marriage will become stronger and fulfilled when both of you triumph over difficulties; and when you both press on to tread an even higher ground.

Many of us who are working, before we embark in a new project, one thing we will definitely do. We will identify the key success factors and formulate strategies to ensure action plans are being executed to fulfill these success factors. Flipping the coin and see things from the other side. I would like to share with you one key failure factor in any marriage relationship: the lack of commitment. Today we are educated and gradually made to believe that a marriage can be taken as a “trying out” period for two adults living together. As long as we are happy together, the marriage will continue. When we face difficulties and heartaches, we will resolve to a divorce or separation. This socially acceptable standard of marriage tells us that we can always opt out when things don’t go on smoothly. Well, when a couple is entering into marriage with this casual attitude, they are heading for a disaster. Why? We can always identify the reason in our daily experiences including in schools, work, play and relationships. The universal law unfortunately seems to hold true; the lack of commitment is the sure recipe for failure.

DeterminationAn experience we learned from our daughter

Let me share with you my daughter Wynne’s experience to demonstrate the importance of commitment. When Wynne was ten years old, she was chosen to represent her school to participate in the national English story telling competition. It was an honor but it did not come cheap and easy. The first thing the English teacher asked, “Wynne, are you willing to work very hard and totally committed to this story telling competition?” She agreed without actually understood the impact on her life thereafter. Wynne was in a Chinese school, the teachers would give tests every week to ensure the students learn. I remember how Wynne struggled in the midst of school work, tests, extra curriculum activities, church activities and the training sessions. Sometimes the teacher came to our house at night to train her tell the story, they did not finish until late night. Many times, Wynne was in the edge of giving up, but we prayed with her and encouraged her to persevere. Just cut the story short. Wynne secured first places through all the competitions at school, region and state levels. Finally she was crown as the national champion of the English story telling competition of the year and received a huge trophy. There were so many people she would thank for in helping her to win this prestigious title, but one thing stood out very clearly was her total commitment to the competition and her determination to overcome all difficulties.

I don’t think success in a marriage relationship is of any difference. If you prepare in advanced an “escape clause” before you say “I do”, you will never put 100% effort to make this relationship Divorce decreeworks. When both of you encounter a difficult situation, it is natural to focus on the problems instead of attempting to find solutions – after some time, you probably are totally convince that that you made the terrible mistake in marrying your partner. These problems become the justification for a separation or a divorce.

Please do not misunderstand me. The problems I am referring to are not those that are so serious that you are subject to constant danger and life threatening situations if you continue living with your partner. In fact most of the time, I am sad to see that couples are considering divorce and separation because one party cannot forgive the partner on wrongs committed previously, even the partner has genuinely repent.

When you decide to get married, the intention is to share your lives together for the rest of your life. Almost all genuine couple who loves each other would not enter a marriage relationship with the intention of having a divorce or separation later. They have the hope and initial determination to make it all the way to the end. This is the right spirit to start your marriage lives together.

Commitment Requires Determination and Perseverance

Commitment is not, though it is important, merely a verbal declaration to satisfy our psychology and emotions. It requires two very essential ingredients to work things out, determination and perseverance.

  • Determination is your psychological motivation to find solutions to any difficulties arising from your marriage relationship
  • Perseverance is the energy not to give up for a prolonged period of time.
Ten Ways to LoveHard work and sacrifices

Ultimately a strong and happy marriage relationship involves hard work and sacrifices. This is not intended to frighten or discourage you from a married life. But both you and your partner need to be realistic and know that you will face constant difficulties and challenges after your wedding day. But the good news is if both of you are committed to work things through without giving up, together you find solutions to issues, you are going to experience a new level of intimacy and joy in your marriage lives together. Yes. Your future will be bright and full of blessings.

A common Chinese proverb that says, “A good beginning is half way to success”. If you start your marriage relationship well by having mutual commitment to one another, putting in the essential ingredients of determination and perseverance, I can see how you are going to have a blessed and fulfilled marriage together. I want to wish you success and happy in your marriage life.

Before I go, let me share an excellent book for you, it enriches your marriage life tremendously when you truly understand the meaning of Marriage. Happy reading!Timothy Ketter

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