25 years ago today, I walked down a very long aisle in front of a large crowd of friends and family to pledge my life and my love to Randy.
During those years…
- There have been ups and downs.
- Highs and lows.
- The gift of 2 amazing children.
- Numerous pets.
- Six major moves.
- Many job changes.
- Lots of life changes.
- All of the regular stuff…
As we hurried out of the church those 25 years ago, we could have never imagined what life would hold for us.
And yet, after all of these years, we still are together.
We still love each other.
And, we are praying for 25 more years together.
~ How have we made it?
~ What are our secrets to staying married?
As we talked these questions over recently, we came up with some uncomplicated ways that we have made our marriage work.
Our prayer that these little tidbits of wisdom will encourage and help others who want to keep their marriages strong through the ebbs and flows of life.
Here are “25 Simple (not necessarily easy) Ways to Make Your Marriage Last:”
1] Pray together.
- Each night before bed, prays with each other.
- Over meals, pray together.
- When you are trying to make a big decision, pray together.
- When life gets hard, pray as a couple.
2] Play together.
Find at least one thing you both enjoy and do this together.
- Ride bikes.
- Shop for antiques.
- Take up ballroom dancing.
- Enjoy long walks.
- Try tennis or golf.
3] Laugh often.
My husband comes from a funny family. They are loud, friendly, and love to laugh. And, in our home and marriage, we laugh a lot. This is such a good thing. If you are not laughing in your marriage, find some TV shows, movies, books, or something that will help you to learn to laugh more together.
4] Go on dates with each other.
Head out–away from everyone–and spend some time together.
- There are many great suggestions on Pinterest for inexpensive dating ideas.
- Bookstores are filled with cheap date ideas.
- Get creative, and get out there – away from the kids – often!!
5] Go away – just the two of you.
You need time alone with each other! For some of you, this is going to be a challenge, but it can be done. You can take the kids to a friend’s house for one night, and go back home alone! You can get the grandparents to help while you steal away for 24 hours. This is such a good thing for all couples to do – no matter what their age, stage of life, or standard of living.
6] Put the children in their own rooms at night – to sleep in their own beds.
For the sake of your sanity and your relationship, put those babies in their own beds! Although the “Family Bed” is a popular concept in some places, I would highly recommend you put those little people in their own rooms. You need time alone for conversation, for intimacy, and for good sleep. Little feet kicking you in the night grows old very quickly.
7] Talk things over.
Some couples don’t talk. Or, they stop talking.
- Keep on talking to each other.
- Continue to communicate – even during challenging seasons.
- No matter how hard things are, try to keep the channels open between you!
8] Brush stuff off. Don’t let the little things drive you crazy.
To keep your marriage sweet, keep short accounts with each other. Click To Tweet Let as much go as possible. In other words, don’t take up the offense all the time. I knew a woman who stayed upset with her man. Everything that poor guy did bothered, bugged, and nagged at her. She stayed upset, and so did he.
- We either accept them as they are or we will stay so frustrated.
- Most things that will bother you – don’t really matter.
- Let the little things go!
9] Forgive often and freely.
Along the same lines, much forgiveness is needed in marriage. We are constantly faced with a choice – to be mad or to forgive.
- They will offend you.
- They will hurt you.
- They will let you down.
- They will need forgiveness.
And, so will you!
10] Pray for each other.
- Pray for your partner – in all areas of their lives – spiritually, physically, emotionally, vocationally, mentally, and relationally.
- Ask God to protect your spouse, to bless and encourage your spouse.
11] Spend time alone with the Lord every day.
By spending time with the Creator of the universe, we are changed. As we open the Bible and pray, we become better husbands and wives.
- We are easier to live with and relate to if we spend time alone with the Lord.
- We will enjoy a better, richer marriage if we spend time alone with the Lord.
12] Try to see the other person’s point of view.
Try to look at things through the other person’s lenses. This can be a challenge sometimes, but it can give us such perspective. To try to walk in our spouse’s shoes — gives us empathy and compassion in relating to each other.
13] Show affection to each other.
Keep being affectionate – long after the first year!
- Keep on showing physical affection with each other.
- Keep on hugging, kissing, holding hands, and flirting with each other.
14] Be kind to each other.
Treat each other with kindness. Every morning, Randy fixes me the most wonderful cup of coffee and serves it to me in my chair. This is a kindness that I have enjoyed for 25 years. How are you being kind to your spouse?
15] Skip the sarcasm.
I don’t know anyone who really enjoys sarcasm and cutting remarks. No one likes to be on the receiving end of caustic humor and mean words. Just skip the sarcasm altogether in your marriage. Click To Tweet
16] Worship together.
Find a great church and enjoy going together!
17] Give each other much grace and room to fail.
Try to give each other room to make mistakes. I remember reading a James Dobson quote when we were engaged that said, “Keep both eyes wide open before marriage and half closed after you are married.” In other words, enter marriage carefully. And after you are married. be gentle with each other. Give each other grace and the freedom to fail.
18] Protect your marriage and each other.
Beware of anything or anyone that tries to come between you & your spouse! Click To Tweet Your relationships, hobbies, amusement, habits, and all things should grow your relationship with each other. Nothing should be more important than your marriage. Do all that you can to prevent anything from harming your marriage.
19] Do nice things for each other – just because you can.
Treat the other person with gifts, surprises, and nice things. Be good to them because you can. Give to them because you love them and want to enhance the relationship. For example, Randy loves to go to the shooting range and shoot guns. It’s not always my favorite thing to do, but I know how much he enjoys it. Sometimes, I’ll suggest we go shooting just because I know that he will love it!
20] Be on the lookout for successful married couples around you – learn from them.
Here’s a great post about this very thing; it’s called “Holding Hands.”
21] Don’t try to fix each other’s flaws.
Let your spouse be themselves. Give them the freedom to be who God created them to be, not who you’d like for them to be. You will never morph into exactly the same person — although some people really do start to look like each other as they grow older! One of my good friends used to say, “Tell your spouse the good things that they do; tell God the bad things they do. Then, let God change them.”
22] Give the other person room to grow, transition, learn, and try new things.
We’ve been in the geekiest “learning mode” in our marriage. I just spent the last 3 years working on my masters. Randy would quiz me, coach me, and patiently wait while I wrote papers and studied. He gave me room to grow and learn. Now, he is pursuing his Ph.D. Many weekends, I have to give him time and room to study, work, and prepare for class. When your spouse wants to try something new, try to give them the freedom to learn, &… Click To Tweet It might be hard on you at times, but it could also lead to some wonderful new things in your relationship.
23] Say positive things to each other.
Use your words to:
- Encourage each other
- Thank each other
- Bless each other
- Promote each other
24] Love the other person’s friends and family members.
This may be a challenge, but it’s a gift to your spouse. Love the people that they love – no matter how hard this is. If you pull them away from their friends and their family, you will only hurt your relationship. Give them room to have friends and to enjoy time with their families. Go with them, and try to make the best of each situation.
25] Never give up on the other person or the marriage.
- Keep working at it.
- Refuse to quit.
- Take the word “divorce” out of your vocabulary.
- Determine to make this marriage work!
That’s it for our “25 Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Last.”
They are not all easy things, but each of these suggestions is do-able!
Today, we celebrate 25 years together.
And, as we do, we pray that God will bless your marriages and your relationships. May He cement your hearts together and keep your love growing. May He bless you and your spouse.
So, what suggestions do you have for making your marriage last?
~ What have you and your spouse tried that has helped?
I always enjoy hearing from you.
If you and your spouse are struggling today, here are a couple of posts just for you:
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