These two lovebirds celebrate 40 years of marriage today. I can honestly say, their marriage is better at year 40 than it’s ever been. Yesterday, Dad asked Mom to accompany him on the EWC stage and share a few of the reasons they’ve survived 40….and each other. While they both acknowledged their journey hasn’t been without failures, their longevity of marriage is the result of two people who simply continue to make it better. I thought I’d share what they say has worked for them.
1) Always go back to your first love.
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
Whatever you did to win his heart in the beginning, keep doing it.
2) Treat your spouse with the same respect you treat others.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
We tend to choose our words with other people a little more carefully. We make allowances for their faults more easily. And, we usually show respect to others more intentionally. Be just as intentional with your spouse.
3) Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! Song of Songs 2:15
Most marriages survive and recover from the big stuff. It’s the small, trivial things that can really mess it up. You can’t accept what you continue to complain about. You’re going to have to accept certain things that will probably never change. Choose your battles. Don’t sweat things that won’t matter tomorrow.
4) Compliment his or her strengths.
So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Romans 14:19
Be intentional about praising one another’s strengths. And, don’t ever bring up his or her weaknesses. Focus on the good stuff. Whatever you focus on, you give energy to. Period.
5) Don’t take your marriage for granted.
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5 4
Set up guardrails to protect your marriage. Be mindful that you can fall any minute. Trust your spouse’s intuition and discernment. Dad quoted Henry Ford’s advice on a successful marriage (who likened it to his successful business): “Just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.”
6) Don’t keep a record of wrongs.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Never, ever bring up past failures or disappointments. Once it’s forgiven, leave it in the past.
7) Don’t ever give up.
Mom said, “There is no Plan B.” Don’t make giving up an option. There is always hope for a better marriage. Always.
For me, I’m grateful for such an example to look up to. They both continue to inspire me. They have imparted good stuff to me that I can apply to my own marriage.
I just hope that after 40 years of marriage, I look as good as they do.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both. And, I’m so glad y’all got married. Obviously.