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A Lasting Marriage

Updated on January 22, 2013

We Stayed Together Making a Lasting Marriage

I love this picture.

If you notice the hearts are linked.

But also note, there is always a way out by opening one or the other heart and moving away from the link. This is and always has been an option in our society. Through the years the stigma around marriage, divorce, living together, and various interpretations of the same have changed like the seasons or more often, even in my lifetime.

When we married we hoped to stay married "20 years or more," as written in my high school yearbook by my then steady boyfriend. We couldn't imagine farther out than the length our parents had been married!

Now, knowing each other 48 years, married over 45 years, we may have landed on a method to making a lasting marriage!

Do you know anyone who has been married more that 45 years?

If yes, ask them, if they have they ever had a crisis in their marriage.

Ask them, "Have you ever had an incident in your marriage that you had to work together to overcome, one that could have caused you to split up without working it out and settling the issue?"

If the couple is unwilling to admit they've had disagreements, interview their children. They just don't want to be honest about their relationship.

Every person has stuff to overcome, every family has trials, and every marriage has challenges.

Our story:

I was 15, he was 17, and the new kid at our high school who moved from out of town the previous summer.

A good friend introduced us. My future hubby was the most intelligent man I ever met. He knew so much about just about every topic. He loved to read.

I was not interested in boys until I saw him.

The first time I saw him he was actually in my house. He stood 6' 3" tall and he brought a girl who seemed almost as tall. My younger sister and I weren't allowed to attend our older sister's 16th birthday party, held in the basement of our house, but we did deliver the pizzas to the basement, and take down ice and colas for the teenagers. My little sister and I were giggly over the tall skinny couple. I decided that night, that I had to know who he was.

At school, my friend pointed knew some about him. By May (right before I turned 16) we had our first date. That's another topic, but we went to Riverside Amusement Park in Indianapolis, which has since closed down and been demolished, sad.

There can be conflict at every level.

When we were first married, I remember the arguments over the use of the bathroom in the mornings. And the alarm would go off, which would spur a disagreement every weekday on who would shower first, the other wanting to sleep in a few minutes more. The toothpaste tube was the most ridiculous disagreements.

Sitting in a recruiters office 8 months after we were married listening to the recruiter smooth talk my husband into joining the Army for 4 years when he was about to be drafted for 2 definitely sparked a huge disagreement that took years to resolve. I had waited nearly 4 years to marry him and now he was leaving me for 4 years, virtually, or that's the way I saw it that day. I wasn't too far off, we were away from each other more that together the entire Army tour. I hated every minute of it and was miserable.

We observed conflict with our children too: Our sons had to share a bedroom when they were little in several of the homes we lived in, this was a blessing and a curse. I'm sure they would prefer to have their own rooms, and eventually they did. But we knew they would survive sharing space. One was a slob and one wanted to be totally orderly, but we could never figure out which was which because the orderly one gave up easily, when the slob overpowered the room. They were adorable sons, my buddies. Don't they look innocent here? They are 4 and 6. See the dog?

Learning to share space, is one of the keys to a long lasting relationship.

When my husband enrolled in Bible College, at a later age (he was 32), we heard a very common complaint from the single students living in the dorms. Back then girls had girl dorms and boys had boy dorms, by the way. Hopefully Bible Colleges have not gone coed in their dorms. We heard the complaint over and over, "I can't stand my room-mate."

Thankfully the college leadership was wise to this, and totally supported counseling and working with the students to learn to get along with the assigned room-mate. How can a person enter a life-time commitment to ministry and never run into a person they cannot "get along" with on a day to day basis.

Living a lifetime with a person is a huge commitment and I'm not sure young people realize the impact of the decision until they've been together a few months, and the "want-to" selfish side raises up to cause conflict.

Heart Photo Credit

Will This Marriage Last?

No one was more idealistic than I was when we got married.

I had a vision of a house, a car, a back yard and 5 boys. Happily ever after was foremost on my mind.

When my husband joined the Army during the Vietnam War 8 months after we were married, I felt like a complete failure as a wife.

A full-time student waiver would have kept him away from the draft, but I wanted him home more so he went to part-time.

A pregnancy would have kept him from having to go at that time, but I wasn't able to get pregnant in those 8 months. I was devastated. After 4 years of dating, being engaged for 18 months 600 miles from each other, we finally were married and had 8 months together before he was gone for 3 months. Of course I got pregnant when he came home from Basic training, but there was more separation by US Army in our future.

One thing I remember clearly: Standing in a white dress at an altar, telling him, "till death do us part," and meaning it. I didn't know the US Army and a war would be in the mix. I didn't know I would go into labor with our first son while he was on his way overseas. I didn't know that of the first 4 years we were married he would be gone more than half that time. We weren't together on our 2nd Anniversary, My 21st Birthday, Baby's First Christmas, he arrived just in time for the delivery of our second son. So many heartaches.

After about 5 years of marriage we had moved so many times, had 2 babies, and had nothing but a few towels and an electric mixer left from wedding gifts. Everything else had been sold or given away because of all the re-locations.

I also had no idea how much he would change while he was overseas, or how much I would change while I awaited his return.

We "got over it," and made it work.

One solution that wasn't in our vocabulary was, "quitting."

Although, there did come a time that I considered divorce, I knew in my heart that he was the father of my children and I would always prefer being with him and making our marriage work.

making a lasting marriage work
making a lasting marriage work

Making Our Marriage Last was a Goal Before We Married.

Separation by moves and the military were never considered.

So we only knew each other for about 3 weeks before I packed my clothes and my parents drove me to my Grandmother's 200 miles away.

I had planned this for months and was so excited about my summer, until I met him. Then I was really torn about being gone all summer from the boyfriend I had just started dating. We couldn't call each other very often, because, long-distance was so expensive, but he wrote me letters and sent me cards, and visited my Mom and Dad at my house asking how many days till I came home.

That summer I traveled from county fair to county fair with my grandmother, while she personally donated Pomeranian puppies to fair contributors who had won the grand prize. She raised these dogs and had so many puppies she began donating them. It was a great summer for me, I stayed busy, and even dated a few guys from my grandmother's church, but my future hubby was always on my mind.

That was the first of many long distance episodes. We moved 600 miles away my Senior year of High School. We got engaged long distance. After we married, he joined the Army and had several moves that separated our living situations. Some might even hint that the separation made the heart grow fonder, but, in my case it just kept making me lonelier and sadder, I could only think of the years we dated, and the plans we made to be together all the time.

We are so blessed to have worked together 24/7 for the last 14 years. Many years of going off to work in separate directions, then we were able to rearrange it all.

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Making Marriage Work - Books that help.

You may want to look into some of these books to help with your marriage or to help someone who is struggling.

My philosophy

To be loved is to love first, unconditionally.

We have disagreements.

I think we have different opinions about something nearly every day.

We have found that most items we disagree on boil down to a few categories.

First, I'm a girl, he isn't, so I react to most things emotionally, with my feelings. So if I say I feel sad over a situation, and he says that's silly, how can he know how I feel?

Second, he thinks logically, dissects issues and comes up with a solution. That takes too long for me. He processes it all without talking - I have to think it out loud ... poor him.

Third, I'm totally OK with going with his plan, solution or remedy, as I know that (unless it is life-threatening) nothing is that important to cause so much grief. If he's wrong in the end, we work that out too, because I'm not in the game of, "Ha, ha, I was right all along." Probably was when I was younger, though.

The other day we both realized that after this anniversary we'll be looking at 46 years. - We celebrate 45 this week.

Our wedding Day 6/24/67
Our wedding Day 6/24/67

What a journey. Now we can't imagine being without each other, although we realize this is inevitable we also remember times when we each needed our own interests and space.

The times when we walked separately with interests in career and all the stages and ages of our children that taxed us and challenged each of us as individuals definitely put a strain on our friendship. There were times when I wasn't very likable and he was intolerable, but we made a very concentrated effort to stick to the vows we made the day we walked that aisle.

The big picture shows the 180-200 people who witnessed this event, family, friends, neighbors, employers, etc. We think of them, the people who knew us well, believed in us, supported our decision and launched us into the family we've become. What advice would they give if they knew we were struggling.

We went to marriage counseling once when we weren't seeing eye to eye on a few topics. The man and woman who were assigned to us for couple counseling were not married to each other and neither had been married, we went away mad at the two of them and laughing together.

God has a sense of humor too. We actually solidified our relationship after committing it to God's plan for marriage, studied the Bible and began our faith walk with Christ. The marriage friendship grew exponentially when I realized my role as wife was to support his decisions in leading our family, career, homestead, discipline, etc. He made a conscious decision to love me unconditionally, which made it very difficult to disagree with him.

One teaching I had as a new Christian believer was that I don't have to point out his faults to him, I can pray for him, pray for wisdom for a Godly response when I think he's wrong, then wait for circumstances to turn around. I'm not saying I couldn't have an opinion. I could voice my point of view without demoralizing him, but once I stated it I chose to keep quiet and let God deal with him, because I knew he was praying and studying the Bible and making the effort to please God also. Sure enough there would end up being a conversation about my side of the discussion and his, and he would let me know I had good insight, and he agreed with me. Some things took months others took hours. What a blast we had seeing this Biblical truth work over and over again.

CELEBRITY VOWS - Many witnesses!

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore

Las Vegas, Nevada; November 21, 1987

I, Bruce, take thee, Demi, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. With this ring I thee wed, in here with, I pledge to you my love and devotion, so long as we both shall live.

I, Demi, take thee, Bruce, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. With this ring I thee wed, in here with, I pledge to you my love and devotion, so long as we both shall live.

Inasmuch as Bruce and Demi have consented in holy wedlock and have witness the same before God, according to the powers vested in me by this state and being an ordained minister of the Gospel, I pronounce that you are husband and wife. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

(Divorced 2000)

More Vows:

Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett

Marion, Indiana; June 27, 1993

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort given one another during prosperity and adversity, and when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purpose for which it was instituted by God.

I, Lyle, in the presence of God and these witnesses, take you, Julia, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death parts us, and I pledge you my faithfulness.

I, Julia, in the presence of God and these witnesses, take you, Lyle, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death parts us, and I pledge you my faithfulness.

Receive this ring as a pledge and token of wedded love and faithfulness.

(Separated and divorced 1995)

Author Unknown

You are my husband (wife)

My feet shall run because of you

My feet shall dance because of you

My heart shall beat because of you

My eyes see because of you

My mind thinks because of you

And I shall love because of you.

All references taken from this web site.

Lasting marriage started with promises ...

and some rings.

After about 6 months I was wearing his class ring. "Going Steady."

Funny thing about his class ring when he asked me to "go steady."

It seemed like everyone going steady had to wrap the ring in angora yarn to keep it on their finger, but his ring fit me, I have extra large hands and his were very skinny, I wrapped it a little anyway - it was the thing.

Several years after we were married I took my engagement ring to a jewelers to have the stone mounted into a cross pendant, because I had been wearing a wedding band instead. The jeweler didn't laugh but he would have if it wasn't such a sensitive moment when he had to tell me the ring only had a diamond chip ...there wasn't enough stone to remove and mount, We laughed all the way home. He had borrowed money from several college friends to get that ring. I'm so glad I still have it.

Lasting marriages remember the vows made in marriage ceremony.

I recently landed on a personal method of counseling - I'm not a counselor, only an experienced wife - that sets people back, when they are seeking help, and/or planning to leave a marriage.

I ask this very poignant question:

"Have you gone to each one who witnessed your wedding vows to discuss this decision to separate or divorce?"

You say, "That's not a fair question."

I say, "Oh, really."

Yes, all of us know weddings are fun, emotional, exciting, but they are also a sacred vow. And the minister asks, if anyone objects, and challenges the couple in front of "these witnesses." Why do you attend weddings, and why do we have them?

People we have gotten away from the purpose of marriage, vows, family and commitment in America.

Living together to see if we're compatible has taken the place of making a commitment to unselfishness and becoming better people as a result of compromising on our differences.

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review

Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries
Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries

How important are the prayers and words used in a wedding ceremony? It depends on why you are marrying and whether or not you want God in the marriage and to make it a lasting marriage.


My parents met right after my Dad returned from World War II. They married 4 months later, and just celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.

What are some of your first impressions of your spouse?

How did you meet your spouse? - How long have you been married?

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    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 5 years ago

      I met my husband 30 years ago during our first week of college. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary!

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 6 years ago

      Lovely story! Love at such a tender age that turned into marriage. Congratulations!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Such a wonderful story, I can relate to this kind of lens. I love lens talking about love, the vibration is very positive :) About me and my spouse, after a number of years dating, we decided we were good partners. Then we decided to get married.

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 6 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Her boyfriend introduced us.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      @lollyj lm: That's a great way to meet. My sister broke up with her boyfriend, so I tried to move in, hinted I'd like a date, he fixed me up with a new guy in school. Love at first sight. (I'd seen him a few times around school, and he attended my sister's 16th birthday party with a girl, but we'd never officially met - so blind date.)

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

      I was sitting in my college roommate's car in the city park, while she looked for friends at the carnival set up there. A summer storm was moving in and was quite windy. I looked up and saw a tall guy standing by the park water fountain. His hair was blowing wildly in the wind and he had a big grin on his face, looking at me. The next day my roommate's car had a flat tire and guess who stopped to change it? We exchanged names, wrote letters, dated, and finally got married.

      Love this lens. And thanks for stopping by my Jan Kerouac lens and leaving a comment!!

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      @jseven lm: Thank you for stopping by. I agree Marriage is blessed. You learn so much about yourself, and learn to give up self for someone else. My husband is my best friend, has been since we were teens.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      @blessedmomto7: Congratulations on 21 years. My husband says, "the marriages that last have gone through many trials, with emphasis on 'gone through.'"


    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      I have been married 21 years and we have 7 children. I met my husband through a friend. I'm so blessed. Great lens.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 6 years ago

      Marriage is a blessed institution, it's the people that mess it up. I love the marriage plan and being married. Nice lens. ;)

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      @anonymous: This is a great post Peggy, thanks for reading my article and commenting. Russ was 20 and I was 19 when we married. I lived in Virginia (Falls Church) and he lived in Bloomington, IN at IU. We met when we were 15 and 17 though. He joined the US Army in 1968 and went to Korea in '69 for a year, left the day before our 1st son was born. Pretty dramatic stuff. We've been to Alamagordo - in fact Russ had that location as an option, but got Two Rock Ranch, Petaluma, CA instead.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I lived in Va. and my pastor at our church was the older brother to my (now husband) he lived in Ga. and graduated from school and decided to move to va. to live with his brother's family and he of course started going to our church, and the first time he saw me , he said he was going to marry "that girl" and that was june of 1968 and dec. 1969 we had our wedding.he had went in the USAF in jan of 1969, so after we were married we lived in Alamagordo NM for 3 years as he was stationed at Holloman AFB., and come dec 2011 we will be married 42 years. he was 18 and I was16 when we were married.


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