On very rare and special occasions we will see a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary. So many things have to fall into place for a couple to make it that long together; it can nearly be considered a miracle only God could have bestowed. Not only does the couple have to fight off all the sharp, poison-tipped arrows of life but just the simple fragile nature of the human body makes it very hard for both to make it that far. It is pretty safe to say that, on their wedding day, most couples visualize being that pair that grows old so gracefully together.
Statistics say that the odds are stacked against them, but it is a victory that can be won. It requires great passion from both in the marriage, and it demands a steadfast resolve to be the exception and not the rule. Here are 8 key ingredients for a strong marriage.
1. Love and Respect
Dr. Emerson Eggerich asked seven thousand people the question, “When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other do you feel unloved or disrespected?” Eighty three percent of the men said they felt disrespected compared to seventy percent of the women who said they felt unloved. Generally, more than anything men desire to be respected, while women desire to be loved. Eggerich says when a woman feels unloved she generally will not respond respectfully to her husband. When a man feels disrespected he won’t move with love towards his wife. It can start an unhealthy circle of treatment. Treat one another with a circle of love and respect.
In a scene in the show Parenthood, the matriarch of the family is speaking to her grown daughter who has a struggling marriage. She says, “Do you know what marriage is all about? Forgiveness.” The only thing that stops a cycle of hurt and bitterness is forgiveness.
[ctt template=”12″ link=”558UH” via=”no” ]The only thing that stops a cycle of hurt and bitterness is forgiveness.[/ctt]
4. Take Ownership and Responsibility
A fully-grown man carries the burden of responsibility for his family no matter the financial circumstances or personality traits. Taking ownership means engaging and having initiative in all family matters. It means caring for the overall well being of his family with a generous and kind spirit, while also having the heart of a warrior to protect it.
5. Compassion and Sympathy
“The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” – Arthur H. Stainback. Your bride needs your deepest compassion and sympathy along your journey together. She will follow you to the ends of the earth if you give her this.
The wedding day is not the end of the relationship, but the beginning. Romancing your spouse is something to be done for a lifetime, not just during the courting period.
Laying your life down for those you love is not easy, but it’s what love is all about. Loving someone fully means we put aside our own wants and needs for the sake of the other person. When both people act sacrificially the relationship works beautifully. However, it is the strong who sacrifice regardless of what they get in return.
8. Healthy Lifestyle
Obviously if you are going to make it to a 50th anniversary, it’s going to require using these strategies. But it will also mean that you both share good health into your later years. Put away your bad habits. Confront your anger and manage your stress level. Eat well and exercise. Peer deep into the future and think about what you want to see in it. Anything you come up with will need you to be healthy.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think makes a friendship last a long time?”