Brad and I recently celebrated our 40th (WHAT?) wedding anniversary with a road trip to the Northeast. We had a wonderful time, saw LOTS of sights, and lengthened our list of places we want to visit again. We are crazy about Vermont and Maine and hope to return and spend more time in both of those states. (Well, I’m crazy about them and Brad really liked them, too.) Spending hours in the car together traveling 2700 miles in 9 days, with no hotel reservations, a Garmin, and Trip Adviser gave us a chance to practice our put-the-other-person-first and hold-your-tongue-skills. But, it all worked out and we had a ball!
This relationship milestone has me thinking about the other couples we know who have weathered the storms of marriage and stayed together for the long haul. I thought it would be interesting and fun and perhaps inspiring to ask a few to them to share their advice for staying happily married.
I loved reading what these special people had to say, and I hope you do, too!
First up, Debbie Diel……
On a hot summer evening, in a small country church, Ray and I pledged our vows to take each other for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. But I didn’t consider the worse, poorer, sickness, all the hard words of those vows I took. I was in love!! My big strong, groom and I were going to have a perfect life!! I literally ran down the aisle after being pronounced Mrs. Diel! I couldn’t wait to begin my new “wife life”! I felt like Cinderella, June Cleaver, and most certainly Wife Of The Year, all rolled into one. The truth is that feeling like we are in love, and real love are two different things. Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of love, and how our beloved makes us feel. Feelings come and go and feelings don’t preserve a relationship. For instance, ask yourself how you feel during a heated argument or after you fall in the toilet bowl because he left the lid up. But the miracle of marriage is that you vow to keep loving your mate because of a conscious choice to sustain the covenant that you made. The miracle of marriage is that you continually fall in love with the ever changing person that you married. The miracle of a Godly marriage is that it’s not about the bride and groom at all. It’s about God and honoring Him through the marriage covenant. The miracle of real love is not a feeling, it is 1 Corinthians 13.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Now 45 years after I ran down that aisle with my groom to my life as Mrs. Diel, I say keep going. Don’t look back. Keep going to the end. Keep living the miracle!! I love you Mr. Diel.
Next up, Kevin Colclasure…..
Here is my advice for marriage: Marriage, created by God and designed for a man and a woman, is such a beautiful and wonderful thing. As wonderful as marriage is, it does have its challenges and struggles, but with Jesus being the center of me and my wife’s life and marriage, there hasn’t been anything God has not been able to help us through. Marriage is not only a man and woman joining their lives together in holy matrimony, but it is a picture of God’s loving relationship with His people here on earth. Our marriages are a picture or a model of His love for us and the fact He promised to love us always no matter what and to never forsake us.
My piece of advice for marriage is to never stop dating. It was through dating we came to know our spouse, came to know their likes and dislikes. It was through dating we found ourselves falling in love with our spouse and eventually standing in the presence of God and others, vowing to love our spouse until death do us part. For some reason though, once the ring as been slipped onto the ring finger, we throw out the very things that caused us to fall in love with our spouse in the first place. One of those things being dating.
So my question is, when was the last time you went on a date with your spouse? Just the two of you and no kids or other friends? I would also suggest not going to a movie, because you cannot communicate and connect at a movie. Not saying going to a movie is wrong or bad, but to really connect and spend quality time with your spouse, do something that will allow you both the opportunity to communicate. Going on a date doesn’t even have to be expensive, be creative in what you do. Go for a walk on a nature trail. Go for a bike ride, build a fire out in the backyard and enjoy the outdoors and the stars. Take a walk through some of his/her stores at the mall.
You can also go more extravagant and go out of town to a big city. Find a bed and breakfast in a community that has the little shops and places for sight seeing. The point being, to keep the fire burning in your marriage is to never stop dating, never stop communicating, and doing things together. If grandparents do not live close, find another couple and have an agreement that the each of you will watch the others children so you can go out on a date without kids.
Jesus has been the most important piece of the puzzle for our marriage, but continuing to date has been another important puzzle piece for our marriage. I believe you will find it key to your marriage as well.
Thank you for the great advice, Debbie and Kevin! Stay tuned to receive great tips on How to BE Married from several other wise people.
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