In the last Marriage Insight, we asked the question, “Do you want to be married for life?” And then we gave a few marriage tips from those who have been married for more than 50 years. (These come from the book, “Married for Life” which is no longer being printed.) But there are even more great tips to share! We hope they will speak to your marriage as they have ours. It can be quite enlightening to learn from those who have “voices of experience.” Why not learn from those who learned marital lessons the hard way? Perhaps it will prevent you from having to go down those difficult roads. Sounds wise to us!
So, to help you in your marital journey, here are more:
Tips from “Married for Life” Couples:
This first one seems obvious, but is it really?
“Focus on the things that matter, and let the little things slide.” (Tex & Donetta Taylor – married in 1938)
“God wants us to trust Him for everything, and from His perspective even life’s essentials are little things. Jesus said, ‘Do not worry, saying what shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear? . . . Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.’ (Matthew 6:31, 33)
“At the end of the day, be thankful that the Lord has provided you and your family a roof over your head, clothes to wear and food to eat. And be grateful that He has freed you from the need to worry. That way you can focus on what’s truly important.”
We too often forget to focus on the good, rather than the negative. And we can too often forget our many blessings, instead of the few negatives that can dominate our thinking. Work on the important things and let the minor irritations go. Be proactive and point your focus on that, which truly matters! Don’t let little, important things negatively trip up your marital journey. Look for the blessings; they’re there!
This goes along with marriage advice given by Grant and Ruth Burch Jr (also married in 1938):
“Do things together today—you may not have tomorrow.”
It’s a matter of working together to enjoy whatever time God gives you. Too often we let all kinds of things slide us apart. We confess that we’ve had that problem all too many times. But after being married for more than 50 years we see all the more how important it is to keep your priorities straight. You DON’T know how much time you have together.
We’ve had a lot of friends die recently. Some of them have been older and some of them have been younger. We will miss each one of them. And their spouse and family will especially miss them. Every one of them would cherish spending even one additional day with their loved one. Steve and I try to keep this in mind when we start to allow little things to come between us. It’s important to build good memories while we can so we can cherish them in our hearts when they will bring us comfort.
Grand and Ruth go on to say:
“It’s sad to think that you and your spouse must say goodbye someday. Not knowing when that will be gives you a powerful incentive to live each day as if it were your last you will share. It motivates you to appreciate each other, cherish one another deeply, and treat each other lovingly.”
So, make it a point to:
“Spend quality time together every day—even if it’s just a few minutes. …Sometimes emotional connection takes just a moment, yet it seems so much. Even on the busiest days be sure to grab that moment.” (Ron and Sally Metsbeth – married in 1940)
We call this “pockets of time.” Sometimes that’s all you can do is give each other small snippets or “pockets” of time. But it’s better than nothing. Just make sure that this isn’t all you give each other continually. That type of starvation diet can lead to other problems down the road. That’s not what you promised each other when you married. Remember? You promised more of a feast of love, rather than a continual drip of love.
What if you’ve hit a “bump in the road” in your marriage? Here’s some good advice from Ollie and Hattie Sisk (married in 1924):
“When faced with a mistake, forgive and go on.”
Sounds like easy advice, doesn’t it? But we all know it’s anything but easy to apply it. And yet it’s important. We’re told repeatedly in the Bible to “forgive as you’ve been forgiven.” So, work on getting to the place where you are able to “forgive and go on.” You may have to do some repair work (maybe even major repair work). But don’t let that stop you. Persevere!
Don’t nurse your hurts, rehearse them and cling to them—giving them added energy to separate the two of you. Do what you can to release them in healthy ways. To this, the Sisk’s give this supportive advice:
“Take a look at your heart and be willing to burn past records and forgive. After the smoke clears, the air of your marriage will be clear.” Remember: “Love is not irritable and keeps no record of when it has been wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Other Married for Life Tips
And when you’re having a hard time figuring out what to do when you and your spouse are conflicting:
“Ask yourself, what would God have you do? … The Bible must be the place we run to find ourselves. It’s where God has expressly stated His will. We cannot bend His laws to conform to our needs and desires; we must conform ourselves to His will and relay on Him to meet our needs. When we do, we’ll be amazed to discover the incredible value of our true identity, and what amazing, eternally significant purposes God has in mind for us.” (This is advice given by Art and Angie Grumbine – married in 1944.)
So, are you working through your problems in ways that reflect God’s priorities? Delbert and Wanda Wilkins (married in 1943) give this advice:
“Talk and pray your way through problems. …You and your spouse are sure to encounter many problems in your marriage, both small and big. Communication is a powerful tool to help. Your Heavenly Father says, ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?‘ (Jeremiah 32:27) He can take your hand as you struggle to use the tool of communication. Lending His wisdom and strength, He will be able to enable you to achieve amazing results.” (Delbert and Wanda Wilkins – married in 1943)
May you put your hand(s) into God’s and allow Him to lead and empower you to grow your marriage to the best it can be!
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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