Remembering that parental example is the primary standard by which young children measure acceptable behavior, we asked a group of long-timers to share their tips for marriage longevity. The consensus is posted below. In short, we found some basic principles upon which solid marriages are based. These guidelines provide a firm and immovable foundation, one that remains steady through “richer or poorer, in sickness and in health,” … through the storms of life.
The Official Long-Timers’
Top Tips for Marriage Longevity
- Begin your union with God’s blessing: A marriage is a living entity and subject to all of the temptations of the world. Asking for God’s support early in the life of the marriage helps to maintain respect for the union and supernatural assistance along the way.
- Selfless love: The marriage that lasts is the one that is firmly planted in unconditional love, mutual respect, and a sincere belief in the other person. Inherent in this mindset is a willing heart – a willingness to do whatever it takes.
- Trust: The heart must know that it can safely trust in the other. Shared hopes, dreams, and confidences must be protected. By never violating this trust, your spouse will have no need to seek support elsewhere. In our tell-all society, the standard is to seek the comments and advice of the multitudes. But an intimate relationship blessed by God requires safety – a safety that only comes through private and confidential trust.
- Prayer: A marriage is like a child, in need of protection, nurturing, and support. It requires prayer and divine counsel. Through prayer, understanding and insight are born.
- Courtesy: A marriage maintains strength and mutual appreciation through daily deposits of courtesy. Much like depositing money in a saving account expecting it to bear interest over time, invested kindness has its rewards, too. A lasting marriage requires a consistent and sincere expression of kindness, generosity, and appreciation.
- Affection: Through closeness, chemicals are released in the brain that encourage bonding. In fact, these are the same chemicals that are produced in the bonding process between a mother and her child.
- Keep your expectations realistic: Your spouse will never be able to meet all of your needs. Only God can do that. So when your spouse falls short of your expectations, remember that he or she is made of clay, just like you. Forgiveness and mercy are basic foundations upon which a marriage thrives.
- Change is inevitable: People change. That is a truth of life. One person moves ahead in a career, the other grows in knowledge of a specific skill, one changes priorities as maturity evolves, the other launches out to accomplish a dream. Through it all, when the best interest of the spouse is a priority, the marriage grows, too.
- A sense of humor: Nothing can dispel a glitch in a relationship better than a sense of humor. Repair misunderstandings quickly. And never – EVER – go to bed angry.
No matter how long a person lives, at the end, the realization that life is fleeting always takes center stage. So do not spend your energies on pursuing social status or on the accumulation of goods. Spend your energies on someone with whom you can share your life. The diversions that compete for your time are of little consequence when the final tally is complete. Give your heart totally to one person and, hand-in-hand, walk wholly under the blessings of a loving God.