The Lord willing, Donna and I will celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary in about a month. By the way, the big day is March 21st. You’ve got plenty of time to get those gifts to us!!
Increasingly, it seems, when people find out how long we’ve been married, there is a common thread to some of the reactions. After people say something of a congratulatory nature (and some of them express sympathy to Donna), a comment is made along the lines of “You don’t hear much about that any more.”
Sadly, that is true. All too often, by the time a person reaches the age of forty, he or she is in a second or third marriage.
Why are their seemingly fewer marriages that last four or more decades?
Sometimes, death is the reason a marriage is “cut short.” My heart aches for those who have lost the love of their life due to death.
My heart also aches for those whose spouse has broken his or her marriage vows and has left a faithful spouse and tearful children “in the wake.”
It seems to me, though, that neither of these adequately cover the reasons for a lack of lengthy marriages. I suppose no list would totally cover all of the reasons, but here’s one that I think needs to be considered —
It seems that we live in an age of disposable everything — including marriage.
In the interest of trying to decrease the number of “throw-away marriage,” I’d like to suggest some things to consider. Please know that I am not, in any sense of the word, trying to come across as some sort of expert in this field.
Every marriage, including ours, is a work in progress. Maybe that’s one key. I need to continue to see our relationship in that light. I hope I never get to the point where I think I have arrived.
I need to read and heed the following things I think could help all of us have longer and more fulfilling marriages. I guess you could call them keys. Maybe a more accurate label would be suggestions.
Communication — Remember, you’re communicating when you are not talking, too!
Cooperation — Marriage must involve cooperation. One person “trying to make a marriage work” is about as effective as trying to applaud with one hand.
(Proper) Conflict Resolution —There will be conflict. It is important to learn how to properly resolve it.
Companionship — Why do people marry in order to be together and then spend the bulk of their time with somebody other than their spouse? If somebody other than my spouse is my best friend, my marriage may be headed for serious trouble.
Commitment — This is the “ingredient” that is missing in so many areas of our lives. Athletes commit to a particular college; then they “uncommit.” A politician will tell us he/she is committed to a particular thing and then forget all about that as soon as they take office. Examples proliferate, but you get the idea. It is increasingly rare today for people live up to their commitments. (Do I really need to throw in the idea here that some who wear the name “Christian” aren’t even committed enough to assemble to worship?)
Marriage is a commitment to one another and to the marriage vows. It works best when both partners are also committed to God and His will for every facet of our lives.
It is my prayer that every couple would be blessed with one of those marriages you don’t hear about much any more. It takes more than just being blessed with that, though. It also takes resolve.
If that resolve is there, it might be interesting to observe how many milestones two people can pass together.