6 Keys to Making a Marriage Last

by Alli

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that my husband and I have been married for almost 32 years!  I still remember my wedding day as if it was yesterday.  No, I don’t recall every word spoken by the minister during the ceremony, but I do remember how humid it was on that 9th day of October and how my veil was sticking to my face as I entered the vestibule of the church and how nervous and excited I was!

Tips for a Lasting Marriage

The above picture is from daughter #1’s wedding, but I remember that my photographer, the most sought after in the area,  forgot to load the film for my reception.  What the heck???  I have zero, nada, no professional pictures of my wedding cake.  None.  Let’s move on before I get upset all over again.  And for those of you not old enough to remember film, sigh.  Just Google it.

My husband and I have an anniversary coming up soon, but I’m not one to wax poetic on my husband’s Facebook page.  I mean, hello, he’s sitting here beside me on the sofa.  Why can’t I just tell him what I think – face to face?

So, after much contemplation, here’s some of the things I think are important to make any marriage last.

6 Keys to Making a Marriage Last

1.  Communication

Here’s a bit of revelation:  In order to communicate, you have to talk to each other!  My sister and my cousin are my best girl friends.  They know it.  I know it.  We can talk about anything, any time, any place.  We’re always there for each other.  But, my husband is my BFF!  True friendship is a vital part of making a marriage last.

2.  Don’t be so Quick to Throw in the Towel

Some people jump in and out of marriages so  much that it makes me dizzy!  When I married, it was for life.  Period.  We made a rule from the get go:  Divorce is not an option for us nor is that word mentioned when we argue or are angry.  I wrote about divorce here!

3. Trust

A good marriage that lasts is built on trust!  When you trust someone, you don’t have to snoop through their phone or email.  He who has nothing to hide, hides nothing.

Once trust is gone, can it be regained?  Of course, all things are possible, but not necessarily easy.  It takes time, but you can learn to trust again.

4.  Never Stop Dating

It’s so easy to get busy with life – church, work, children, hobbies – that sometimes it’s easy to forget to spend time together as a couple.  You were a couple before kids and you’ll (hopefully) be a couple after the kids are grown and gone.

Did you know that divorce rates are skyrocketing among older couples?  More Americans 50 and older are divorced as opposed to widowed!   Why?  I believe it’s mainly because they got so caught up with other activities and forgot to maintain their marriage.

Dating doesn’t have to be expensive, but you and your spouse need time together alone, without the kids and without the best friends.  I can’t wrap my head around a couple that can’t vacation together or go out to dinner without taking another couple with them.  I love my children and my grands, but I also love date night!

I double dog dare you to plan a date with your spouse and spend some time talking about your marriage, your plans, your wants and desires.  Don’t talk about the kids or work.  And never stop dreaming about your future together!

Your marriage is important.  Treat it with respect!

5.  Laughter

Laughter is good medicine and is good for a marriage!  When is the last time you laughed together?  Stop taking life so seriously and learn to laugh at yourself.

[Tweet “Proverbs 17:22, “A happy heart is good medicine . . . , but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”]

6.  Forgiveness

Forgiveness is such an important key to any relationship!  Never go to bed angry!  Anger and strife will make you bitter and resentful and not very fun to be around.

Even when you know that you are right (I’m always right, aren’t you?) and you want to stay mad all day, forgiveness not only makes you feel better, it’s just the right thing to do!

Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.

No marriage is perfect, what fun would that be?  But always remember, love is a decision.  When you are not feeling too lovable, look back on your wedding day and remember how much you love your spouse!

[Tweet “What you feed will grow and what you starve will die.”]  If you feed your marriage with love, communication, trust, laughter, fun times, longevity and forgiveness, your marriage will grow, thrive and last a lifetime!

Side Note:  After speaking at our church one Sunday morning, a single lady came up to me afterwards and told me that the message was just for her!  She went on to explain that she was dating someone halfheartedly, but my message had convinced her to put more effort into the relationship.  The one thing that was holding her back was the fact that they were opposites in many areas and something I said made her look at the relationship in a new light.

What did I say?  Right in the middle of speaking, I said (not knowing why) “Some of you are so picky when it comes to dating because you want someone just like yourself.  Why in the world would you want to marry yourself?  That would be really boring.”  Then I went on with whatever I had been saying.

I didn’t know it, but she had been praying for an answer to her dilemma!  Isn’t God good?  Oh, and by the way, she is now happily married to that wonderful man that she didn’t have that much in common with.

Do you have any additional tips to add?  Please share!

 

 

36 comments

Carmody August 25, 2014 - 7:54 am

The photographer forgot to the load the film at your reception…..what? Great article. I love the “dating” part.

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 7:56 am

Yeah! And he was the most sough after photographer in the area. I was heartbroken.

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Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods August 25, 2014 - 8:01 am

Wonderful tips! Especially making sure the word divorce is not in your vocabulary.

Hope you have a fabulous anniversary!
~ Ashley

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Shirley Wood August 25, 2014 - 8:21 am

I’m glad you have Communication as #1 because I completely agree!
One thing I like to share with newlyweds and engaged couples is to never discuss your problems with your friends or family. When you forgive your spouse, your friends and family will not. They will begin to harbor resentment towards him. When we forgive our spouse, others may not be willing to forgive.
The photographer capturing our wedding on video, put the camera down and went to the restroom in the middle of our wedding. He had apparently eaten Mexican shortly before our wedding! I was so nervous, I was shaking like a leaf and my Sweetie winked at me during the ceremony to try to help me calm down. We don’t have the wink because the videographer was gone! I know it though 🙂 (Remembering that made me smile)

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 9:40 am

I talked about discussing problems with friends and family when I wrote the Mother-In-Law post. Thanks for reminding me of that important factor. There are so many tips on keeping a marriage healthy, like not taking each other for granted. It’s so easy to fall into a routine and forget to pamper the marriage. I always enjoy your input and I’m looking forward to your big announcement tomorrow. 🙂

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Pamela Robbins August 25, 2014 - 8:50 am

My husband and I have been married for 32 years! We have been going through some rough times, due to his unemployment, but we are hanging in there TOGETHER! Thanks for the reminders on some of the things we have been neglecting to do for US!! Great post!

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 9:38 am

Marriage is hard work! Yes, it is very rewarding, but we can’t allow it to coast along, can we? So glad that these tips helped you!

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Ricci August 25, 2014 - 9:08 am

I love this!! Such great advice!! And you don’t have a single wedding picture?? Heartbreaking!!

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 9:37 am

I have wedding pics, just not the reception! At least he had “film” in the camera for the wedding.

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Tiffany August 25, 2014 - 9:11 am

God is so good!! I believe in dating my Hubby as much as possible…even with a Team of Kiddies…we are truly BFFs and to keep that connection we definitely need that time to ourselves to stay in touch and know each other fully. Great post with 6 amazing keys! Thanks for sharing.

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Paris (My Big Fat Happy Life) August 25, 2014 - 9:36 am

I can’t believe he forgot to load the film!

Thank you for sharing these tips! It’s a great reminder!

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Kristen from The Road to Domestication August 25, 2014 - 11:15 am

This is a great post, Alli! (32 years certainly ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at!) And it’s refreshing to see marriages that have lasted through thick and thin – especially for us younger ones to see that it CAN indeed be done! Thank you for your example 🙂 And, BTW, our photographer never even showed up for our wedding LOL

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 2:18 pm

What did you do when the photographer didn’t show up? OMG – makes me feel a little better about not having pics of my wedding cake. 🙂

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Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai August 25, 2014 - 11:16 am

Sometimes, unfortunately, divorce happens. I know. Your tips are dead-on solid, but the one thing you left out mention is that BOTH parties have to follow these guidelines. Marriage is not a one-way street traveled alone. Marriage is a partnership.

~Lorelai
Life With Lorelai

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 2:17 pm

Exactly. That’s why I linked my post about divorce. It goes a little deeper into that area. You are right, marriage is a partnership and I hope it came through loud and clear that these are keys that we both live by.

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Louida August 25, 2014 - 11:22 am

Wonderful tips Alli! That is why Mr. M and I have been together for so many years, we communicate with each other, trust one another, and enjoy time spending together. Happy Anniversary you two love doves! 🙂

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 2:15 pm

I’ve never understood couples that never spend time together. We love our family and friends, but we love alone time, too.

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Anna @ Northern Homestead August 25, 2014 - 12:18 pm

Great tips! I find the most important ingredient in marriage is grace. Give grace, receive grace, live grace. Nobody is perfect, don’t expect perfection.

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 2:14 pm

So true, Anna! Grace goes hand in hand with forgiveness. Thanks for adding such an important key to a lasting marriage.

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Jane Rutherford August 25, 2014 - 12:59 pm

I printed this one out to give to your Mom and Dad. They have been such an inspiration to you, I know, and how long have they been married? I think it’s 6x and going strong. I will never forget the day your Dad told me that he loved Helen more now than when he married her, and didn’t think that was possible. It really touched me! That’s love.

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Alli August 25, 2014 - 2:13 pm

Thanks, Jane, for always printing out my posts and sharing with mom and dad. They always tell me about it. Yep, they have been married a long, long time and they inspire so many people around them.

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Reginia Cordell August 25, 2014 - 4:06 pm

Alli these are spot on. Communication is definitely needed for lasting relationships. Remember why you got married is another as it aligns with dating. With jobs, kids, and other family obligations pushing their way to the forefront, the essence of being a couple is sometimes lost.

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Renee @ Renew Your Space August 25, 2014 - 7:11 pm

These are all great points to stay happy in marriage. I think the #1 for my husband & I has been communication. After 18 years, we always talk it out before making any rash decisions & we’ve never been happier! I’m sorry about your pictures – ugh – there’s always something. We got married on the beach in Maui & didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t get a videographer. I kick myself every time I think of it because it really wasn’t that much, but we do have a few beautiful photos of our sunset kiss 🙂

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Alli August 26, 2014 - 6:26 am

Maui? How romantic! We didn’t have a videographer, either, but back in the day, I don’t guess anyone did. 🙂

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Paula@SweetPea August 25, 2014 - 8:07 pm

Congratulations on almost 32 years! You advice is good and is something that all newlyweds should take to heart.

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Alli August 26, 2014 - 6:25 am

Thanks, Paula! Time sure has flown by!

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krystalskitsch August 25, 2014 - 11:47 pm

I just love this so much. Marriage is no walk in the park but it’s sure a beautiful ride!

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Alli August 26, 2014 - 6:21 am

I totally agree!

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Tiffany Khyla August 26, 2014 - 12:09 am

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost four years now, and even though we’re not married yet, we’re already in it for life. It’s just a matter of timing. We want to do it smart. I love all of these tips, and feel like they can still apply to me. Trust is so huge! I don’t understand when people think it’s okay to date someone who doesn’t allow you to do certain things like hang out with specific people or go out to specific places. I’m so lucky that my boyfriend isn’t like that. We trust each other for sure! And laughter and forgiveness are both musts too!

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Alli August 26, 2014 - 6:24 am

You are right! Trust is huge! It’s the foundation that a relationship is built on. Sounds like you are on the right track! 🙂

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Sarah August 26, 2014 - 10:10 am

Great tips! It can be so hard to keep a good balance with marriage, especially when life happens, children arrive, and the day to day chaos gets in the way. It definitely takes some real hard work!

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Alli August 26, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Yes, it does! It’s so easy to take each other for granted. It’s definitely work, but with great rewards.

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