Sustainable Marriage

My grandparents, Kathryn and William.  I remember celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  This is their wedding picture!

My parents...just celebrated their 50th anniversary in October.

My husband, Ernie, and I, in our wedding attire!  We recently celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.
In our family, sustainable marriage is a tradition.  Ernie and I are blessed to be part of a line of strong and faithful marriages which is generations long.  Ern's maternal grandparents and my maternal grandparents lived to see their 50th wedding anniversaries.  My parents just celebrated theirs, and Ern's parents have been married 54 years.  We have been married 33 years.  One of our daughters celebrates 12 years this month.  But we never take this for granted, for we understand how rare this is.  We have seen the toll divorce takes on a family, literally every day.  Our own grandchildren feel this pain, and we ache for them.  

So what makes a marriage last?  It takes TWO people, working together.  If both have the same goal, it makes all the difference in the world.  Shared goals...such as raising children, pleasing each other, pleasing God, and working on projects as a couple go a long way toward giving marriage purpose and vitality; particularly when two people have very different personalities!  What else helps?  Read on...

Several years ago, Ernie and I attended a “Sweetheart Dinner” around Valentine’s Day at our church.  It was for couples from all walks of life, all stages of relationship.  At each Sweetheart Dinner there was a speaker.  This particular year, the speaker asked us to break into groups and write aspects of marriage on poster paper.

Our group was assigned a topic that had to do with “Enduring” or lasting relationships.  Our task was to write a list of important ways in which couples keep a relationship precious and enduring over the long haul.  Ernie and I looked around us…we had been married for 27 years, and were by FAR the youngest marriage in the group…what a great opportunity for learning! 

The advice was amazingly simple:
  • Say I love you to each other every day.
  • Kiss
  • Pray together
  • Hug a lot
  • Never go to bed angry
  • Always kiss each other good night
  • Kiss each other good morning, too!

There were several others, but those six pieces of advice were the most repeated and prioritized items on the list.  Pay attention to them, and if you are married, live by them.  The couples in our group (other than us) had been married between 35 and 55 years!  And they were all in love, deeply in love.  It was inspiring.

It has been over six years since that dinner.  One of the couples in our group is in heaven now, Everett and Gloria.  They were the couple who offered the advice to “kiss each other in the morning, too!” 

Over our bed now hangs a sign, “Kiss me in the morning too.”  We never forgot that advice.

“Love never fails.” This Scripture from 1 Corinthians in the Bible is read at many weddings.  True love is from God, and this is the love that verse is speaking about.  Human love often fails—UNLESS it is nurtured, encouraged, and given time and effort.  These are the things which make a sustainable marriage. 

May your most precious earthly relationship endure.  That is my prayer, and encouragement for you today.  Are you following the “enduring” advice listed above?