What’s the secret to a long marriage? Answer: There isn’t one.
Marriage is an adventure. It has ups and downs. Good times and dark times. Ruth Graham, the wife of most holy Billy Graham, said she never considered divorce – murder on many occasions – but never divorce.
Jeff and I have made it through 41 years. Secrets? I don’t believe there are any. Lessons? There are many. Here are my top four:
1. A marriage license has little staying power. The contract that I attribute to making through those crazy years of school schedules, careers, and not know exactly how you made it through each day, was this: Whoever breaks up the marriage GETS the house, kids, debts, and possible the dogs. No legal assistance needed. If a newer model was in one of our futures, they better be ready for 2 kids, house mortgage, credit card debt, and pets – it apparently worked.
2. Protect your differences. Jeff and I are opposite. We are so opposite that he would disagree with that statement. It took me a long time to realize how important it was to protect our oppositeness. Opposites attract – but once the oppositeness goes away, so does the attraction -opposites may even find they really don’t really like each other.
When opposites stay opposite, the attraction remains and their hearts still skip a beat when the other walks into a room – even after 41 years.
3. You will spend more years with your children as adults than as children – so raise great adults – enough said.
4. Never lose yourself. No matter the title; spouse, parent, child, career, that is what you do NOT who you are. The titles will change – and some may even go away – you have to live with YOU for the rest of your life.
There they are – my top four life lessons on marriage and children. Be willing to let go, protect, nurture, and always work toward being the best version of you possible…it also helps to choose a great partner!