How Have You Managed To Stay Together For Fifty Years
On July 25th, the Lord willing, Jean and I will celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. I know a good many couples who have reached the half century mark in their marriage, but I know far more who didn't. Some because of death and others because of divorce. We feel fortunate and honored to heave reached this mark. There have been many congratulations both from fellow Christians and those outside the body of Christ. I have been surprised at the questions I have received, especially from young people and young couples. The most prominent question is: "how did you manage to stay married that long?" They seem astounded that a husband and his wife should stay together for such a long period. Regarding our own case, we do not consider it unusual at all, but from their view it seems almost impossible. This question springs from the modern view that marriages are "not supposed to be lasting." This idea is incorrect! Jesus said of marriage, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:6). But, the leading question needs an answer so, from our viewpoint let me try to answer it with a "few simple points." In all likelihood they will work for you too.
We Never Thought About Quitting
We were blessed from the beginning because we had both been taught that you marry for "keeps. " We never entertained the idea of quitting, only the idea of permanence. If most couples worked as hard to improve their marriage as they do to get out of their marriage, there would not be many failures. Divorce has been glorified and depicted as the solution for any trouble in a marriage. Therefore, many couples never look for an alternative.
Don't Mess With Our Marriage
We started out with a understanding that God gave us "marriage" to enjoy while on this earth. At the same time we recognized that it was "our home" and we didn't want anything or anybody to "mess it up." We had something that was dear to us and we refused to allow family, friends or the world to interfere. We never discussed our private or secret things with others, only with each other.
Very early in our marriage we became "good friends." We have remained good friends to this present time. I have had many other friends along the way and so has she, but none like each other. Our interest in things, other than "spiritual" are not always the same, but with an understanding that we are not identical we extend a reasonable amount of freedom and understanding in such things and we remain best friends. It makes me sad to see couples who are living as husband and wife and fulfilling most of their duties, but they have never been good friends.
Through the years we have been blessed with a mutual spiritual interest. When the rails on a railroad track run parallel with each other there will be no train wreck. When the rails move too far apart there will be a disaster. When a husband and wife are both true Christians, then you may be sure, at least seventy-five percent of a successful marriage is already established.
"I guess," someone says, "you have never had a cross word in this wonderful marriage of fifty years." Guess again! When you have two people who have minds of their own there will be differences. But, a difference in view does not have to damage a marriage. Good communication and a love for the Lord and each other will allow any difference to be solved in peace without a long delay. From the beginning we have both hated "fussing." I don't like it in the church and I don't like it in the home. Talking can be valuable, but "fussing" is a total waste of time and energy. We have been spared this nonsense in our relationship. I could write pages on this matter, but this is enough for now. (Reprinted from the bulletin of the Liberty, Texas church.)
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 20, pp. 611-612