Secrets to a Lasting, Happy Marriage

I saw an article recently about the longest-married couple in America. John Betar and his neighbor, Annie, eloped 83 years ago. Their advice for a lasting marriage is “Live day to day within your means. Be content with what you have. Don’t spend more than you have. Respect each other.”

People often ask how many years we’ve been married and I’m always surprised by the surprise my answer brings. Forty-six years. Wow! That’s really something in this day and age! It depends on how you view marriage and define love. I don’t know anyone who’s been married that long! Fortunately, Rick and I had good examples to follow. Our parents.

Here are our “secrets” for a lasting marriage:

Start your day with God and with one another. Careers, children, household chores can consume time and relationships suffer. We decided to carve out time early each morning before the work day; to talk, read the Bible and pray together. It saved and strengthened our marriage. The children are grown and have flown, but Rick and I still cherish that morning time to start our day.

Be best friends. Best friends can talk about anything and everything, have mutual respect and enjoy spending time together. We share common interests. We encourage one another. Rick wanted to have his own business. I wanted to be a writer. We both helped one another live out the dream.

Leave divorce off the table. If you enter marriage with an attitude of “if this doesn’t work out, we’ll just get a divorce”, good luck. You’ll need it. Go into marriage with a mindset of “til death do us part” and you’ll work through each problem together.

Have a good sense of humor. I won’t go into all the things we laugh about, which are many and varied, but lately, we lie in bed in the middle of night laughing because I just awakened both of us with my snoring. Maybe I should try what his dad did on a fishing trip: putting a golf ball inside pantyhose and tying it around his waist so he couldn’t sleep on his back.

Look forward to the future. Greet each year with anticipation and good planning. There are always new challenges. With Jesus at the center of your relationship, you can weather every storm, enjoy life together and know the best is yet to come.