Ten Ways to Keep Marriage Alive
Bob and I have been married more than 57 years. Our love for one another is more alive today than it ever has been. (I read that statement to him just now and asked if he agreed. Of course, he said, “Of course,” That’s part of the secret, guys! Ya gotta readily agree on things like that!)
How do we do it? How do we keep love alive after all these years? What is a healthy marriage anyway?
Jane Smiley, in her book, At Paradise Gate, wrote the following:
“You know what getting married is? It’s agreeing to take this person who right now is at the top of his form, full of hopes and ideas, feeling good, wildly interested in you because you’re the same way, and sticking by him while he slowly disintegrates. And he does the same for you. You’re his responsibility now, and he is yours. If no one else will take care of him, you will. If everyone else rejects you, he won’t.
What do you think love is? Going to bed all the time? Poo! Don’t be weak. Have some spine! He’s yours and you’re his. He doesn’t beat you or abuse you, and you’ve made the same bargain. Now that you know what it’s like to be married, now that all the gold leaf has sort of worn off, you can make something of it; you can really learn to love each other.”
I love that take on marriage by Jane Smiley. It coincides with my opinion on what it takes to make a marriage work. Here is my list:
Ten Constant Steps toward Being Married Happily Ever After:
- Accept and Respect one another’s differences, and celebrate your areas of sameness.
- Stick by one another – even as you slowly disintegrate.
- Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Be forgiving.
- Defend one another to a hostile world.
- Be strong in your faith; pray and laugh and play together.
- Be a diligent partner, doing more than your share without bitterness or resentment or complaint.
- Praise one another for the little things.
- Never take one another for granted.
- Always be trustworthy; don’t stab one another in the back!
- Practice the art of compromise – with God as your Constant Guide.
Yes, when all the gold leaf has sort of worn off and you’re each comfortable in your own space, keep the space open and inviting. Invite one another in. Keep on learning to love one another as long as you both shall live.
You’re in this box together. You’re in it for the long haul. Enjoy the ride!
See ya later.