Having just celebrated my 25th Wedding Anniversary, I will be the first to say that marriage is not a breeze. There's a reason the New York Times reported recently that there are fewer couples reaching their 25th wedding anniversary than at any other time in history. A commitment 'til death do us part' is far easier said at the altar than done in the everyday struggles of life, differing personalities and an ingrained desire for each of us to be No. 1.

After 25 years with the same man, I can honestly say that marriage is one of the best ways to practice dying to self and living as Christ would. In my tenure with Hugh, there  have been great times, there have been trying times, and there have been daily tests of whether or not I would put myself on the shelf and put another person (my husband) first.

In hopes that you'll be encouraged to keep your "til death do us part" commitment, no matter what comes your way, I wanted to share with you the 25 things that 25 years of marriage has taught me:  

1. The greatest way to show love to my spouse is to imitate the way God has shown love toward me -- unconditionally and sacrificially.

2. Instead of praying "Lord, please change my husband" a much more effective prayer through the years has been, "Lord, please change me."

3. Quality time cannot always be a replacement for quantity of time. In a marriage, you really need both.

4. God must come first, then spouse, then the children. And this order can easily get reversed.

5. There is wisdom in learning to let things go.

6. There is freedom in being able to forgive, even if your spouse has not yet said "I'm sorry."

7. To be humble in marriage is to say, "I'd be honored if you would still love me."

8. To be a servant in marriage is to say, "I don't deserve you" rather than the other way around.

9. Simple acts of love keep two people knitted together.

10. "Never let the sun go down on your anger" is much easier said than done. One must be deliberate and intentional to let things go before ending the day.

11. Not EVERYTHING needs to be talked through. (This was a difficult one for me, at first.)

12. A wife needs to look to God to be her "Husband" rather than looking to her husband to be "God" (Isaiah 54:5).

13. To die to self in marriage means to put the other's interests, preferences and needs in place of (not just above) your own.

14. "Love is blind" is not a bad thing when you choose to be blind to the less flattering traits of your spouse

15. God is the Only One who can fulfill me at every level. Therefore, it is unfair for me to expect my spouse to be my all-in-all.

16. I cannot change my spouse. I cannot change myself, either. God is the One who works transformation in individuals and marriages.

17. My trust is ultimately not in my spouse, but in my Savior.

18. If I say "this marriage is un-fixable" I'm really saying "God can't fix this marriage."