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Family life, Marriage

Family Friday: How to Have a Long Marriage

English: Old marriage at Plac Kaszubski in Gdy...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m introducing a new series of posts I’m calling “Family Friday.” Every Friday I’ll post snippets of honest-to-goodness family life. Sometimes it’ll be an anecdote, sometimes a spattering of quotes, maybe a poll I conduct very informally, maybe something else. But it will always have to do with family living, the joys, the pains, the humor, the beauty.

Some of you know that my day job is in the field of home health care. Last year I was seeing an elderly woman, 91 years old to be exact, and had the opportunity to meet her husband, 92. They’d just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. I asked her what the secret to a long, happy marriage was.

Now, if you’re married, listen up. This is the wisdom of the ages.

She massaged her hands together and smiled sheepishly. Then, in her soft voice she said, “Well, every night when we go to sleep, we lay in bed next to each other and say our prayers and I hold his hand and he holds mine. Then I say, ‘I love you dear,’ and then he says, ‘I love you, too, dear.'”

I waited for more. I wanted more. I mean, c’mon, you’ve been married for 70 years and that’s all you got? Then, as if her words were a fist that finally landed it’s blow it hit me. The simplicity of her statement, but also the complexity of it. The beauty of it.

That one little act shouted so many volumes about the faithfulness they shared, the dedication, the togetherness . . . the love. Read it again and let it sink in. Really, it’s some of the best marriage advice I’ve ever received. Now if I could only put it into practice . . . for the next 55 years!

What’s some marriage advice you’ve heard from those married 50+ years?


About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


12 thoughts on “Family Friday: How to Have a Long Marriage

  1. Reblogged this on MIKE DELLOSSO and commented:

    This was some of the best marriage advice I’ve every received . . . from a woman who’d been married 70 years!

    Posted by mikedellosso | June 29, 2012, 5:41 am
  2. On the Dr Phil show today, they were talking about making lasting memories and Phil prepared a book, professionally printed, with a poem he wrote for each of their 20 years of marriage. On the last page, representing their current, year of marriage, one of the things he wrote was this (if I remember it correctly)

    “If I had to live my life over again, and life was a garden full of flowers, I would have picked the same flower that is you!”

    While this may not be marital advice, it does show that Phil and Robyn do have something that glues them together. They just did not say what they was at the time of this segment in the show.

    I have thought the same thing over the many years of our marriage (25 yrs this Sept). Despite the chronic and debilitating disease my wife suffers from (latest development is this condition has now caused her to use a walking stick around the house and a wheelchair for any outdoor activity), I would choose her all over again and be prepared for the same challenges this medical condition has given us.

    What glues us together is not just the love of Christ that encourages us to put the other first and the model of the marriage as outlined in Ephesians, but the fact that we both come from dysfunctional, co-dependent parent relationships but very different ones.

    From my parents dysfunctional relationship, I was determined to not repeat the same mistakes in my marriage. Seeing the sacrifice my mother had to make for my father and the negative effect it had on her, the emotional absence he showed her and us growing up, I was going to be different. What Jesus showed in putting others first and how this did not have a detrimental effect on both of us has made all the difference. My wife has discovered the same thing. Having a partner with a chronic condition further reinforces and strengthens this attitude and behaviour towards her. Sure I have my moments, where I wish she was not hindered by this condition and we could do alot more together and that our two daughters could have had an easier childhood, where they did not have to grow up faster than they should have. But there has been some very positive benefits for them because of this situation as well.

    So when I look back, yes, I would have chosen her all over again, medical condition and all that this has entailed. The reality of her condition is that this will most likely make me a widower. We are both prepared for this and have informed out daughters of this too. Scary, but we have to be realists as well. Some may say, we are not living in faith by saying this but I know this is not the case. If it is God’s will for this to happen then we accept; if not, we accept.

    Looking back, I know we have both broken this dysfunctional, co-dependent trend for the next generation. That type of relationship stayed with our parents. Our daughters know what it is to have two parents who love each other, would die for each other, who put each other first and who know Christ is our cornerstone. It is now up to them to continue this reality in Christ.

    Posted by Peter Younghusband | June 29, 2012, 6:59 am
    • Peter, thank you so much for sharing this. Your love and devotion is inspiring and very moving. From what you wrote and from other correspondence we’ve had I know exactly the kind of man you are and it’s the kind of man I strive to be. Thanks for setting such a good example, for trusting God above everything else, and for your faithfulness to him, to your wife, and to your daughters. Bless you!

      Posted by michaelkingbooks | June 29, 2012, 8:28 am
      • Thanks Mike. I really don’t know what to say. I have never had anyone say that to me before. Thanks for the encouragement. I firmly believe we are to encourage one another and I guess that is what is happening here. As the Word says, in Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. We can only be better off as a result, both being better men and Christian men at that!

        Posted by Peter Younghusband | June 30, 2012, 5:51 am
    • Peter, thank you so much for that. I needed it. Being married 35 years and having a degenerative disease that has taken away so much from me, I do understand somewhat. Although both my husband and I are Christians he has not accepted my health condition as well as you have. Your name is now on my daily prayer list and I will be praying for you and your wife and children. Thank you again for those beautiful words.

      Posted by Terri Conrad | June 29, 2012, 11:42 am
      • Terri,

        Your reply warmed my heart. Glad it boosted you up!

        My wife feels the same way, that her condition has taken so much away from her. She has felt guilty that this has taken away from us as a family as well. I can understand that and it has taken her many years to accept that she does not need to feel guilty and it has not been her fault. From this POV, I have never considered that she had any direct part in this unwanted but tolerated extra passenger in our marriage and have always encouraged her that we are above this disease no matter how it affects her, me or us as a family. That is definitely easy to say and very hard to live but as I mentioned, Christ is our cornerstone and as long as He is Sovereign, our journey is alot easier.

        I do feel for your husband. I can also understand where he is coming from. As I said, I have had my moments, lost the plot and it is in these circumstances that I have to relearn to trust Him again and give it over to Him. Not accepting what has happened only makes me more bitter, angry, and a barrier to my wife and God.

        Wish I could help your husband. I pray he has a good support system.


        Posted by Peter Younghusband | June 30, 2012, 6:07 am
  3. Precious! As one who is only half way to 70–and I can’t hardly imagine 35 more…Nelson and I daily look for ways to surprise the other and make the other laugh. I’m often amazed that I can still be learning things about this guy, but I am. We usually hold hands when we pray. And the sweetest place to be is nustled under his arm at his side. Unless it’s 100degrees and he just got home from the graphite factory and he’s covered in sweat and black…then a quick kiss will do. 🙂

    Posted by goldenprayerbear | June 29, 2012, 7:46 am
    • You have a great rapport with each other from reading this. I had to laugh while imagining you being nestled under his arm while you are praying with him being black from graphite and sweaty!! Adds a spice to your prayers!! I reckon God would chuckle at that too!!

      Posted by Peter Younghusband | June 30, 2012, 6:13 am
  4. Love it. There is something about praying together that binds your hearts like nothing else can. It’s usually the first thing to go by the way-side. Thanks for this reminder to keep it up, every night.

    Posted by Heather Day Gilbert | June 29, 2012, 10:37 am
  5. Love this, thanks for sharing.

    Posted by friartuckerx6 | June 29, 2012, 1:21 pm

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