By Megan Alms | Contributor
Ryan and Selena Frederick's marriage began with a life-or-death crisis.
Upon graduating college, the new couple decided to go on adventure, leaving their lives and moving to Switzerland to pursue equestrian care for a year. But within a few weeks of their adventure, Ryan fell ill with a mysterious sickness. After trying to tough it out for a few weeks, he went to the doctor. He learned that he had a bacterial growth on his mitral valve. When he asked how much the surgery would cost, the doctor told Ryan, "You either go to the hospital or you die."
This life-threatening event is the experience from which the Fredericks write from. Having such a close encounter with mortality affected the way they have lived the rest of their lives. They committed to loving each other fiercely and fighting for each other every day.
Your marriage isn't about you, or even about your spouse, the couple has learned. Your marriage is about serving God and proclaiming Jesus' power to a world in need of hope. It's a covenant made to promise unconditional love. If your hearts and marriage are in the right place, this covenant relationship brings both spouses closer to God.
So what are the secret ingredients to a lasting marriage?
The first is prioritization, say Ryan and Selena. Put God first, then your spouse, then your children. Everything else should come after these three most important members of your life. Be intentional about making time for each other, and that investment will yield a closer marriage.
The second component, according to Ryan and Selena, is communication. Don't just talk; listen to your spouse. Be aware of the signals he or she is sending out, not only through words, but also through body language, tone and timing. Seek the real issues hiding behind frustrations he or she may be communicating. Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
Perhaps the most striking element of this couple's advice, their secret to keeping the "spark" in their marriage, is curiosity. Don't lose curiosity about getting to know your spouse. Whether you've been together for one year or fifty, there is always more to learn about each other. Remember how excited you were to get to know one another on the first date? That flame of excitement continues to burn as long as you desire to discover more about each other.
From finances to intimacy, this book covers the tough topics. And, with the help of God, couples can use this book as a way to facilitate conversation and strengthen their marriages.