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Ten Tips from Long Marriages

Staff Member
Ten Tips from Long Marriages - February 08, 2006

This Valentine's Day has me thinking. If our children pick up their ideas about love from the supermarket checkout aisle, the movie theater, the TV and the video store, there is no hope for long-term marriage in our society.

A recent very, very long line forced me to read all about Brad Pitt's latest love. I am quite naive and I really thought that maybe he and Jennifer Aniston were keepers. Reading about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's break up is another variation on the theme.

Last year's (or sometimes last month's) hot romance has fizzled. "I fell out of love," is the silly line. What does falling in or out have to do with love? You may feel more or less lust, passion or sizzle, but love is an emotion you choose, over and over again, to entrust to another person.

A man who was once my pastor, Don Augsburger, edited a book in 1984 called Marriages That Work (Herald Press; available on Amazon as a used book). He collected "tested advice" from some well known couples (at the time) who had made their marriages work. I thought a look at some key lines from these couples might make a fitting Valentine's Day tribute to true love, and what it takes to make a long-lasting marriage work. Rather than look to the kids and the hottest celebs for our ideas of marriage, let's look at couples who've shared 40 or more years together.1. Love grows as it is shared, warming our lives personally and as a couple.

Evelyn M. Duvall, founding director for the Association for Family Living and author.2. Working through our marriage (at 54 years) gives me hope for mankind. I have experienced what love can mean. If we can work through the brambles and stupidities of their neuroses, so can others. Sylvanus M. Duvall3. Every marriage experiences tensions. It is impossible to live in the same house with another person in such a close relationship without problems arising. Cecil H. Osborne, founding director of Yokefellows and author of many books.4. We pledged each other the gift of time, time together alone, time for the two of us to reach each other's souls. Charlie and Martha Shedd, authorities on marriage enrichment and authors of more than 30 books, many of them bestsellers.5. When the marriage covenant is taken seriously, however troublesome the learning-growing process, difficulties serve to deepen intimacy and mature love.

Richard C. Halverson, a pastor and chaplain of the United States Senate for a number of years.6. We have found that anything in life which is worthwhile dare not be left to chance. John M. and Betty Drescher, authors and speakers on family topics.7. We became one another's confessors and from then on we knew, as nearly as is possible in this world, each other's most intimate concerns. Paul Tournier, a doctor in Geneva, Switzerland, who wrote inspirational books published in 19 languages.8. Neither of us was ever resigned to a limping, inadequate, "that's the way it is" marriage." William and Lucy Hulme, (he) pastor and professor of counseling, (she) co-conductor of clergy/spouse workshops.9. What made a dramatic difference to us was when we came to understand the positive function of anger in a close relationship. David and Vera Mace, who founded the National Marriage Guidance Council and others.10. Good marriages don't just happen. They may be created in heaven, but must be refined on earth. A. Don and Martha Augsburger, pastor, professor and counselor; elementary school teacher.

I was talking with a group of Chinese students about U.S. families. One woman said she enjoyed seeing the many retired couples in the churches she attended: "They hold hands. They treat each other so beautifully, like they are beloved."

Which reminds me of the foundational principle for all the 40, 50 and 60 year marriages quoted above: believing that marriage is truly a covenant or promise entered into with the almighty God. Kind of puts a different spin on what it means to love someone else and walk with them throughout your whole life.

Submitted by Melodie Davis
"If our children pick up their ideas about love from the supermarket checkout aisle, the movie theater, the TV and the video store, there is no hope for long-term marriage in our society." How true!

We just had our 23 anniversary a few days ago, and one prayer I have prayed from the beginning was bind us together with you Lord with cords that cannot be broken. I admit, there were many times I would have as soon strangled my husband with a cord (fellowservant will forgive me for being honest lol) than pray to stay bound to him, but God will strengthen what we give to Him, with His strength and now our own. Praise God!

"One of the ancient customs of the middle eastern nations, including Israel, is symbolic of forming a union and is worthy to note. To finalize the wedding ceremony, the man would place a three strand, silver cord over the head of his bride. The silver, of course, speaks of redemption, and the three strands of the cord signified God, the man, and the woman. Like the cord, in order for it to be of any practical value, neither of the three could be independent but had to be united with the others by being twisted together -- FORMING ONE CORD under severe pressure. This was the signification of the cord in the ceremony.

In a measure, Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes. He begins his thought with the importance of having two of various things, but he concluded it with THREE, typifying COMPLETENESS. He wrote: "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow...Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and A THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN." (Eccl. 4:9-12).

Everytime I see a post about longevity in marriage, I think of what the late Pastor E.V. Hill of Southside Baptist Church in Los Angeles said one night on TV. He and his wife had been married 32 years at the time. He said that their philosophy about marriage was that it was to be as if they were entering a room where there were no windows and only one door and that the door had no inside handle....."Now that we're in here, there ain't no gettin' out!"

nice thread this. I've been married a "paltry" 8 years, but working on the other 30+ in the meantime ;) It is true, a lot of the older married couples the wife and I see when we walk around the malls are holding hands. Or showing some other sign of closeness, affection and intimacy. Something that the youngsters aren't getting to see in the homes, nor do they seems to be interested in learning from those older than them.

"Neither of us was resigned to a limping, 'that's the way it is' marriage" (William and Lucy Hune)

"What made a dramatic difference to us was when we came to understand the positive function of anger in a close relationship." (David and Vera Mace)

These 2 quotes especially spoke to me. Many times I have been taught that all anger is bad, and that limping through a marriage is the only way to make it through the marriage. I guess I have some re-thinking to do, and some praying, too.

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