Some of the best marriage advice I received as a young man came from my pastor. He said if you want a marriage that lasts, then find someone who’s been married a long time and watch them. At the time the “Old People” in my life seemed really strange and I thought they’d have no clue how to face the current issues of my day, but I was wrong. These older couples may not have been experts in my culture or changing technology, but they did understand relationships and how to strengthen them. Today (July 2nd) was my 30th wedding anniversary, and now that I’m walking on the other side of the fence I’d like to offer a few tips of my own. Below are five tips for a thirty year marriage.
The first tip is to never say the “D” word. Divorce–doesn’t even sound good does it. My wife and I decided very early in our marriage that we would never say the word divorce. No matter how mad we got or how tired we were, we would not mention that word in an argument. It was difficult at times and the word often popped into our minds, but it was never spoken.
It’s too easy to say things you don’t mean when you’re angry, and when you begin to throw the “D” word around you begin to think about it. You begin to believe it. Before long it seems like the only solution to your problem. Instead of looking for reasons to stop being together, you should look for reasons to build your marriage.
The next tip is: don’t go to bed mad at each other. I would be lying if I said I never went to bed mad at my wife, but I can say we made it a priority to resolve our issues before the day ended. There are times when couples need a little distance, and some time to work through hard feelings, but when its all said and done we need to learn to set our emotions aside and communicate openly and honestly.
We still have fights after 30 years of marriage, but they look a lot different than when we were first married. Arguments these days often last about 2 minutes. I say what’s bothering me, she says what’s bothering her and we drop it. I’ve learned to hear what she’s upset about and try to make changes and she does the same. We don’t have very many “BIG” fights any more.
Always make sure to kiss each other goodby. You never know when your last kiss will be, and we’re not guaranteed of tomorrow. And I’ll also add, on occasion throw in the 10 second kiss. I won’t say much more on that….just try it.
Tell your spouse, “I love you” everyday. One of the most basic needs of every human is to be loved, and it’s important you tell your spouse that you love them. Try and think of the kind words you use as building blocks to your marriage. The more nice words you use, the stronger your marriage will be, and probably the nicest thing you can say is, “I Love You.”
There are certain roles only a spouse can fill, and don’t allow others to fill them. When we think if intimacy often times sex comes to mind, and that’s part of it, but only a small part. Sex is one of those things that only your spouse fulfills. That may seem obvious, but infidelity happens, so maybe it’s not as obvious as you would think.
Beyond sexual intimacy there are places in the heart that should only belong to a spouse. I consider my wife as my best friend. She listens to me when I talk. She laughs at my jokes. She makes corny comments, and just hearing her say them makes me smile. If I were ever to allow another woman that place in my heart it would be wrong. That place belongs only to her.
If you were to ask a hundred people what makes a marriage last you’d probably get 100 different answers, but these are a few of my top tips. I’ll leave you with one final thought. A marriage relationship is never complete. You’re always pruning it, watering it, and working on it.