Today I saw a sign posted on a curb:
Sad, but true… in our culture we are becoming a rare commodity. A marriage that has lasted 30+ years and we are more in love than ever.
It’s not our wedding anniversary, but it is Valentine’s Day and not long after, it will be the 35th anniversary of our first date!
We really “hit it off” that first date, and quickly became close friends. I loved his humor, and he loved that I laughed at his jokes!
We are both pretty easy-going, but because we were both beginning a new chapter in our lives, it was a challenging time for both of us. We had both just moved before our Senior year of high school, from two different areas in the state. [I’m a romantic, and I truly believe God brought us together! :0)]
Growing up in the same town my whole life, it was the first move I’d ever made. He was a bi-vocational pastor’s son, and had moved a lot. I had hardly been out of Illinois, but we married and moved straight to Texas, sight unseen. After being a youth minister, and then a pastor for ten years, we came back to Illinois. We currently live in a town that has a large percentage of military families, and because of that, the transition of people in and out of our church is something we never get used to–we love them/hate it when they leave!
Since marrying in 1982, we have been in only three churches and lived in 8 different homes–consisting of everything from an apartment to a mobile home, a duplex and rental homes. We are grateful for God’s provision every step of the way, and after travelling to several countries on mission trips, we have come to realize that we could live anywhere as long as we’re together! (Can you say, AWWWW!)?
While there are no perfect marriages when two imperfect people are involved, and there certainly is no easy “formula” for a healthy marriage–I can offer a few of our priorities:
1) LAUGH TOGETHER. a lot. Seek to find the good in your situation and choose joy.
2) PLAY TOGETHER. often. Life is often hard and struggling to make time for each other should always be a priority. Do something that you both like. If necessary, give in and do something they like…it might just be fun… and don’t be afraid to try something new!
3) FIGHT AND FORGIVE. settle it. There’s no sense pretending you won’t fight. Just fight fair. No, “you always”, “you never”, or “I don’t want to talk about it”. Choose to work it out even if it takes all night–then choose to forgive. Let it go and look for the good and right and godly way to move forward.
4) PRAY TOGETHER. out loud. There. I said it. I know it’s hard for some of you, but there is nothing more calming or endearing than hearing my husband call out to the God of the universe on my behalf and or for our children and grandchildren. FAITH.MATTERS.MOST! Without a healthy relationship with God through Jesus, we would have not made it this far, this well. I know unbelieving couples make it work, but it’s rare to have a healthy marriage for this long without Him!
5) STAY TOGETHER. assume it. Not only do we plan to stay together for a lifetime, we plan to stay together as often as we possibly can. We love traveling together and as much as we can we sync our schedules and jump at the chance to “escape” together!
We had four kids and limited resources, but we found fun things to do together that were free. Go to the park, the zoo (ours is free), the mall. Take a walk, play tennis, rent an old movie, play a game. We love exploring the country–just driving to places we haven’t been and some we have–they’ve have become our favorite spots to eat or hike.
We DID save for the big moments, like our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We planned and saved years in advance, and made it a priority in spite of the fact that there were always other things we could spend the money on. It didn’t happen overnight–it took years, but we are so glad we did!
The world can’t seem to fathom it, but God created us to live happily in our marriages! Even if you never get to do something extravagant, have an EXTRAVAGANT MARRIAGE!
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY, LOVE!