Years ago, when my parents were celebrating their golden anniversary, I asked them for their marriage advice. What was their secret to a lifelong marriage?
Dad said a couple needs to be considerate of one another. And being a typical woman, Mom shared a few more words: “Papaw and I have always been loyal to each other since we married 50 years ago. All successful marriages need trust. We have always trusted each other.”
Consideration. Trust. Two little words. They mean so much.
I’m reminded of friends, an aging couple, who trust one another. When I once saw them walking side by side, hand in hand, I said something like, “You look so in love.”
She smiled, “We’re just holding hands so we won’t fall down.”
There was actually a lot of truth in her words. My friends gave each other a sense of stability as they walked slowly together. And now after many decades of life, they relied on one another to lift them up if they started to fall. Like God designed it to be in marriage.
When you really trust your spouse, you have a confident assurance you can depend on them to be at your side. That they will be faithful … hear your joys and frustrations. Love you whether you succeed or fail.
But how can you and I be that kind of spouse, especially for a lifetime? How can consideration and trustworthiness mark our lives?
In and of ourselves, we can’t.
But Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
10 Habits to Practice
If Jesus is at the center of our lives, we can learn to rely on His patience instead of our irritation. And trust His help to deliver us from the temptations of life. We can grow in allowing His selflessness to flow through our mouths and hands instead of our selfish desires.
Here are some habits to practice for a lifelong, Christ-filled marriage:
- Never threaten divorce.
- Talk transparently with your spouse about your struggles.
- Regularly pray for one another.
- Search God’s Word together when you don’t know what to do.
- Realize you are capable of any sin, regardless of your age.
- Ask God to protect you and your marriage.
- Be actively involved in a local church.
- Make a habit of reading the Bible with your spouse.
- Seek godly counsel when you need it (and you will).
- Keep a list of ways God has answered your prayers, and refer to this in difficult times.
Having a lifelong marriage doesn’t happen overnight. It happens year by year… decade by decade…one day at a time.
It happens through failures and forgiveness. Joys and sorrows. Hopes and dreams. … Consideration and trust.
It happens when an imperfect husband and a flawed wife are not just holding onto to one another. They are clinging to Christ.
Mary is the author of One of a Kind Grandparent Connection: Building a Legacy with Your Grandchild and the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart. She is a former writer for FamilyLife, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications.