What’s the secret to a long lasting marriage?
“Love your spouse more than yourself.”
Sharon — married 54 years to James
Robert stayed with a couple a few weekends ago, and discovered they’d been married more than 50 years. As is our custom when we meet couples married for more than 50 years, one of the first questions we ask is,
“If you could give one piece of advice to a newlywed couple, what would it be?”
and her answer was the above quote: “Love your spouse more than yourself.”
LOVE is the secret to a long lasting marriage.
Yup. You’re rolling your eyes.
Love. Sounds pretty far-fetched doesn’t it?
Because how can you continue to love your spouse… all those years? How can this touchy-feely stuff be the secret to a long lasting marriage? Your spouse isn’t always lovable, is he? Is she? (I’m guessing you’re not always lovable either, huh?)
I’ll let another couple – Charles and Mary, married 59 years in August – answer that question:
Charles and Mary are Robert’s parents.
When they visited us, Alex (our son) took them into his studio to answer a few questions about marriage. Here’s another short clip about their view of love in marriage:
Ask for Love to be Restored
Maybe it isn’t about the Hollywood-style smoochy kind of love.
Consider. Maybe this love – the one that is the secret to a long lasting marriage – is a love with its roots in a wonderful, amazing, ever-renewing Source. Yes. I’m talking about God. One God. Our loving Father. The creator of everything we hear, see, smell and touch, who allowed His ONLY Son to sacrifice His life – for us. For you. And your spouse.
Can we ask that loving God to restore our love – a selfless, Christ-like love – for each other? Or perhaps we need to ask that He helps us build that kind of love between us…
It’s a love that isn’t about human, self-driven emotion. It’s a love that is self-less – making less of yourself – and more of the other one… It’s a love that perseveres. Regardless.
This kind of love serves – without expecting anything in return.
This kind of love encourages – looking for and at the good.
This kind of love forgives – again, and again, and again…
This kind of love shares good stuff – without holding back.
This kind of love sacrifices – knowing what the other person needs.
This kind of love doesn’t change – whether the love is returned or not.
Marriage isn’t 50% and 50% — It’s 100% and 100%.
Arnold — married 61 years to Rose
You’ve heard that quote before, haven’t you? Arnold and Rose know the secret to a long lasting marriage. And it hasn’t always been easy for them. Even today, it’s not easy. They still persevere in love.
Why the focus on LOVE?
Why am I writing this post – now?
While a post on the secret to a long lasting marriage might be good at any time, it’s especially important for Robert and me this week. On Friday we’ll be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary.
32 years is still a teenager marriage by the standards of those married more than 50 years. However, we still need to keep working on our relationship.
It’s not a “done” deal. We can’t coast.
Love needs to be nurtured in every marriage, regardless of how many years you’ve been together.
You don’t need to “feel” love, to behave in a loving manner. Sometimes the action comes before feeling. Remember what Charles said in that first video?
“Love is not really just an emotion – it’s an act of will.“
Charles – married 59 years to Mary
Choose 10 Loving & Selfless Things To Do For Your Spouse
Here are 25 options – choose 10. Or make up your own… the point is to do them. And expect nothing in return.
- Give him/her a beautiful apple – and say, “You’re the apple of my eye.”
- When you know it’s going to rain that day, put an umbrella by your spouse’s bag/purse.
- Wake him/her up with kisses – all over.
- Make a video/slide show of all your favorite photos together – spend the evening reminiscing.
- Tell your spouse that you admire her/him – and why. If you can’t think of a reason… here’s a resource.
- Do a load of laundry – fold it – put it away. If you normally do this, then find something that needs to be cleaned/drycleaned of his/hers that’s been overlooked. Do that. Ask first, though, just in case.
- Buy some sparklers – go outside after dark and play together. Just the two of you.
- Arrange for a night out for your spouse and one of his/her friends. (guy time – girl time)
- Put clean sheets on the bed. Wash, dry and fold the others. Put a chocolate on the pillow.
- Send her/him a fun post-card in the mail. (Try the app “postagram” – it uses one of your smart-phone pictures & they’ll mail it.)
- Make him/her an ice-cream sundae – top it with a cherry and whipped cream.
- Buy her/him a “Best Wife Ever” or “Best Husband Ever” T-shirt. (or make one – try Pinterest)
- Reminisce about your first kiss together. Then make new memories. 😉
- Meet him/her at the car when they arrive home, and help carry in stuff. (Even if it’s only one thing.)
- Thank your spouse for being the person God made them to be. (It’s not about what they do.)
- Ask your spouse about his/her day – then listen, without talking. (It’s OK to ask questions.)
- Massage his/her feet.
- Learn how to say “I love you” in sign language – and other languages! Text them – send a video!
- Create a Geo-Greeting – http://www.geogreeting.com – It’s the coolest thing. Really – check it out!
- If your spouse is fully engaged on the computer/in front of the TV – bring her/him something they like to drink – then walk away without interrupting.
- Pray for your spouse. Diligently. With purpose. Use Stormie Omartians’ books for wife/husband.
- Ask what you can do for your spouse – then follow through.
- Make your spouse laugh. Tell jokes. Or watch a funny video together and laugh. Laughter is good medicine.
- Buy her/him a cupcake – add a sparkler – because your spouse needs to be celebrated.
- Plant a tree together. Let it be a long-lasting tribute to the two of you. (If you don’t own a piece of ground, then talk with your church. Ask to plant a tree on that property.) The point? Do it together as a symbol of your love.
Don’t put off doing the 10 things you choose…
It’s so easy to get “caught up” – to procrastinate. Remember: every marriage needs nurturing. Even if it’s going well this year, or it’s a disaster-sized year, your spouse needs to feel like you love him/her.
Because you still want to be married next year – and in 10 years – and when you’re married 50 years! So do we.
Make it a great marriage!