Secrets to a Long Marriage

Lately I have been asked, “How does one stay married for 60 years?” My lady and I are in Iowa celebrating our 60th Anniversary. How DOES one remain married so long? Truthfully, I can only answer this from the point of view of a male, Protestant American. First you get married young and you live to be old. And you must practice patience, forgiveness, determination, and a willingness to grow and change in your love. Above all, grow in your love.

Second, you must learn to fight fair. In all marriages, there are disagreements. Fighting fair means sticking to the issue and not introducing exaggerated things about your mate’s attitudes, family, his/her behavior or statements. Sometimes one must forgive huge transgressions; but forgive we must.

Take 3-4 day “mini-moons”; to get away for revival! Renew your love and your FREINDSHIP!

Play together. Don’t be afraid to work together.

Support your spouse through terrible times of great stress from career change, illness or depression. Simply forget yourself and do what needs to be done for your “other”. Do it with grace, love and patience. Try to put yourself in his/her place.

Keep no secrets from one another about job pressure, financial problems, romantic attraction to someone else or terrible weights.

Have a friend or other friends, and do things with him/her that are special to that friendship. I have gone away for a few days each year for many years to play golf with my pal.

Sometimes, of course, marriages do grow apart and marriages fail. Divorce may be the kinder and better road than continuing a bad marriage. If that is the best answer, do it with respect, courtesy and grace. Throw out your anger, defensiveness or judgment.

For Bev and me, having a long marriage meant being Christians (as best we could be). It meant being “regular” at church attendance, and being “tithers;” that is, giving 10% of our taxable income to the church. During the several years I experienced a “burn out” in the ministry, we were involved in the church in the same way as were laymen. Tithing can be a difficult challenge. Because of that difficulty I have never pushed others to do it. However, I do know it has helped us in our effort to be Christ-filled people.

Love God, love each other, and practice courtesy, kindness, and generosity to everyone.