lasting marriage

5 Traits of a Lasting Marriage

“An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” Agatha Christie, novelist.

There’s that couple at the family reunion or special event that just celebrated their 50th anniversary or higher. They are beloved by those around them. Through all of the difficulties, they stayed together. All kinds of things happen along the way that knock many off the path and out of the race. Most marriages start off pledging to make it until the end. We say, “Til death do us part,” but nobody tells us how to go about pulling that off. Marriage is hard!

When you are twenty years or more into a marriage with aging setting in harder, more painfully, and life full of complications, it’s not the romantic charms of each person that are going to sustain the relationship. There are certain characteristics that make a marriage go the distance. Here are 5 traits of a lasting marriage.

1. Shared Vision

Share a common long-term vision. Set a course with attainable goals and follow that vision. If your wife wants one set of things and you’re thinking in an entirely different direction, it’s simply going to be a train wreck most of the time. Individual paths such as career desires have to mesh with the overall agenda.

2. Enjoy Each Season

Understand and enjoy each season you are currently in and work as a team to best maximize those days. They each come with their own unique blessings and challenges. My wife and I are currently in the teens with our two. In our shared vision, we are planning ahead for what we call the “Free 50s.”

3. Avoid Unrealistic Expectations

In life, there is the reality that we are living, and there is the portrayal of how media and entertainment says we should live. Taking the latter seriously is a bad idea. It’s either there merely to entertain, or it’s there to sell you something. In either case, it’s not reality. The couples that survive the test of time understand clearly that each day is not going to be a bed of roses. Romance is not always going to be in full bloom. Remember your commitment.

4. Respect

It cannot be overstated how important respect is to each of us. Life can be cruel and we can get kicked around, but we truly need the people we love to respect us enough to not do the same as the world might. Martin Luther wrote, “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” That’s accomplished simply by showing proper respect. Practice respect and apply it daily.

5. Faith in the Center

As a young husband and new dad, I decided to return to the church. I had wandered far away in the way I was living my life. I became friends with the pastor and he was a major guide for me into adulthood. He provided me with the best advice I had ever been given. He told me, “If you place Christ in the center of your marriage and keep him there, your marriage will never fail.” My wife and I have done that. Though our marriage has faced the usual amount of trials and tests, we’ve kept Christ right there. We’re as strong as we were the day we pledged that. Put your faith directly in the center of your marriage.

Sound Off

What is the foundation of your marriage?

  • netreality

    Agree with #4. Respect. I wish you had started with it, and ended with it. If your spouse doesn’t treat you with respect and kindness, and vice versa, then your marriage is officially in the toilet. See the Gottman research for proof. On another note, you need a more modern quote than Martin Luther. Most women work outside the home, so the quote feels rather tone deaf. (though I agree with the general sentiment) At the moment I hate going home because my husband will be there and likely critical of a dozen things when I go home. He’s the one currently working part-time from home, while I work more than full time outside, and yet he does 0 housework, little child-care, and is rude and critical when I come home. He’s got us into financial difficulty, and never expresses an apology or any appreciation for others, so Why bother? Only to see the kids at this point.

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