Tonight at 7:15pm, Larry and I will be officially married for 40 years. June 20, 1970, the most romantic night of the century, I walked down the aisle of a little church in Downey, California, and was thrilled that my Prince Charming, Larry, waited at the altar for me. 40 years later, our journey has been filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, struggles and fun, with opportunities to grow and trust God more. If I could tell myself then what I know now, here are a few things I’d share:

1. Don’t take things personally. When it seems like your Prince’s armor has rust spots and even holes, don’t think it’s because he no longer cares for you. It’s not always about you. If you react as if it is and try to have him be the only source of your needs, instead of God, it’ll only make him withdraw. He’s not qualified to be what only God can be.

2. Focus on the positive. When your insecurities rise up and you’re afraid his inattention means He doesn’t love you anymore, think of how he is sensitive and responsive. Give him credit for his faltering efforts instead of focusing on his inabilities.

3. Appreciate the differences between you. It’s as if you have one focused eye and he has the other focused eye you need. Only with two eyes, can you have depth perception. You need each other; don’t think you have the only opinion worth something.

4. Value yourself. Your Prince didn’t marry a pauper. You are both children of the King, equal in God’s sight, both sinful and gifted. You don’t have to believe he’ll wake up and think he made a mistake marrying you. He choose you, as designed by God.

5. You aren’t voiceless. Believing you are voiceless makes you think you can only express yourself through anger. Instead, have confidence that God will fight for you after you express yourself calmly.

6. You both don’t know how to do marriage. Both of you have entered a life long journey. Neither of you will do it perfectly and neither of you has all the answers. If he thinks he does know it all, then offer grace. Let God open his understanding. Even 40 years later, there will still be areas of needed growth.

Well, I guess I could go on and on. But one last thing: Larry will change. You will change. Enjoy the journey. Marriage is not meant for your happiness, but your holiness. In 40 years, Larry will be a godly, mature, selfless, kind, loving man who adores you. Who encourages and values you. Who is your Best Friend and attentive lover. Far more than when he waited for you at the altar. That only comes through life and living. Have faith. Hang in there. God knows the way.