Recently my father and mother celebrated 45 years of marriage. In a culture where marriage has a 50% failure rate and the words “til death do us part” seemingly have lost its staying power, this couple has something for all who seek to make marriage work and last a lifetime. During a phone call with my father and mother I asked them to “name a few things that you would credit to successfully being married 45 years”. Here’s what they had to say:
- We love one another in spite of – “We understood from the start that we are two imperfect individuals but we still love each other in spite of our differences and what we see within each other. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we’ve learned to look beyond our differences and not allow them to pull us apart but build a stronger unity”. – Colleen Gregory
- By clearly communicating our likes and dislikes – “Communication can either make or break a marriage. We’ve chosen to talk and give each other a cheat sheet on how we desire to be treated and loved. Over the years we’ve learned three important lessons about communication: knowing what to say; knowing when to say it; and most importantly, knowing how to say it”. – Henry Gregory
- We’ve learned to work together – “What has been a major building block and has caused tremendous success in our marriage is TEAMWORK. Teamwork in and around the home, raising kids, in our friendship, setting and achieving goals, etc. We’ve had our differences like all marriages and relationships, but we did not let our differences pull us a part but closer together in unity and team work”. – Colleen Gregory
- We’ve always been a praying couple – “For us, our relationship with God is key and at the center of our marriage. Praying for one another, whether together or separately, causes us to keep the main thing the main thing without letting petty issues disintegrate our love and unity. Every day I ask God to bless my wife and keep her in good health and fill her heart, mind, body, and spirit with His love, peace, joy, and happiness. I end my prayer with – God bless our marriage and keep us together always”. – Henry Gregory
I could not be more proud of any couple than my mother and father. Their example has been a blueprint in which I’ve tried to follow in my own marriage of almost 18 years. Their wisdom and practical advice is not only salient but vital for all marriages and relationships. Over the years I’ve learned in marriage you will not know everything for every situation, but you must be willing to seek help and advice from healthy couples and married mentors. I once read “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed”- Proverbs 15:22. Have you taken time in your marriage or relationship to seek counsel or advice from a mentoring couple? If not, take time to find and ask a couple with a successful marriage how they’ve made marriage work on their journey for life.