12 Best Secrets To A Long-Lasting Marriage
Do you Even Know What it Takes to Make Your Relationship Last Long?
Every long term happy marriage has secrets to their success and what has kept them together.
While some couples enter their marriage relationship with starry eyes and rosy glasses, others enter with a bleakly realistic fear:
“What if our marriage falls apart? What if we don’t have what it takes to stick it out?”
With marriage relationships falling apart left and right and warm and devoted marriages disintegrating before our very eyes, we need words of advice, guidance, and strength.
We need to gain skills for endurance and going the distance.
What makes the difference? What helps some people weather the storms of life and stay strong long term?
Ever wondered – what are the secrets to a long-lasting relationship?
In this post, we will examine some important life lessons for building long-lasting marriage relationships.
Let’s have a look at twelve of the best things people (including myself – 34 years of marriage) who have stayed together for the longest share as perhaps, some of the secrets to their long-lasting relationships.
Let’s explore some great advice for a strong, happy, and enduring relationship.
#1. Personal Conversation Is Very Vital
Have Clear Boundaries With Technology
In her excellent book, Reclaiming Conversation: the Power of Talk in a Digital Age,
Sherry Turkle explains that smartphones, computers, and technology have taken the place of much-needed personal conversation that is so vital to healthy relationships.
we can be sucked into the trend to outsource our thinking, our information storage, and recall, our memories, our information processing, and our philosophy to digital devices.
In fact, instead of taking time to fully digest our multi-sensory experiences with our spouse, we often short-change the experience by focusing only on taking a picture to later post on social media.
Instead of using our own minds to store, process, and retrieve our memories about our spouses,
we rely on the crutch of social media to remind us of memories and anniversaries.
Similarly, instead of spending time conversing about our day, developing new hobbies together,
or responding to one another’s bid for attention, we spend time scrolling endlessly through social media feeds or online news and shopping.
The writer of Ecclesiastes, despite his tone of darkness and despair, had a lot to say about the importance of treasuring each and every moment that God gives us here on earth.
He often reminded readers that life is uncertain; tragedy and calamities come, and death is sure.
In light of this, he advised, alternatively to,
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun–all your meaningless days.
For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes advised his audience to treasure the simple pleasures of daily life.
Don’t allow the marvels of a smiling face, a fading sunset, or a nuanced expression of tenderness be lost under a pile of addictive, stressful, and never-ending tweets, likes, comments, and headlines.
Sherry Turkle suggests creating “sacred spaces—the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the car—that are device-free.”
However, you choose to apply this principle, remember that boundaries on technology are a very important part of a relationship that can go the distance.
#2. Be Prepared For Difficulty
It is important to understand that marriage may not be easy.
Jesus says that “in this world, you will have tribulation.”
One or both of you may get sick.
You may encounter great challenges, financial setbacks, children who choose another path, tragedy, or loss.
Maybe, you may have to care for your spouse long term in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.
These could create states of anxiety and fear.
Buckle your seatbelt for a challenge and prayerfully stay committed to sticking it out, no matter what.
#3. Hope For The Best
Hebrews 10:36 says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward.”
Although you prepare for the worst, you must enter your marriage relationship with hope, confidence, optimism, and the power of imagination.
Paul Tripp says that the spiritual “power of imagination” is the confidence that allows us to envision leaves, flowers, and fruit on a dry, dead, winter tree.
The power of imagination allows us to dream of business goals that we later make a reality.
Similarly, the power of imagination helps us see that no matter the current or pending difficulty, God is always at work in our spouse’s life.
Even in times of difficulty, we can work on “believing that anything is possible with the work of God.” (Pastor H, Kansas)
Tim Keller in his renowned book “The meaning of Marriage” encourages spouses to use their spiritual imagination to get excited about what God is doing in their partner’s life.
He says, “Look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say,
‘I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to His throne.’
And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, “I always knew you could be like this.
I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’” (The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller)
Always approach your marriage with hope in the fact that God is; “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” -Ephesians 3:20
#4. Practice Steadfast (Hesed) Love
Make Jesus Christ, the first and last and best in everything.
Throughout the Bible, God refers to His love for His people as “hesed.”
Hesed love means love, loyalty, or steadfast mercy.
It refers to a covenant love that never, ever gives up on the beloved.
Paul Miller says that “Hesed is one-way love.
It encompasses love commitment without an exit strategy.
When you love with hesed love, you bind yourself to the object of your love no matter what the response is…” (The Loving Life by Paul Miller)
Hesed love is the type of love that will keep your relationship going for the long term.
#5. Find And Stay With A Congregation That Will Support You
Long-lasting relationships can’t happen in isolation.
You need a strong body of genuine believers that will come alongside and help you through those tough patches.
They will help you see blind spots, guide you in times of difficulty, and encourage you when times are tough.
The body of Christ provides accountability and helps keep you on track with your relationship with your spouse and with God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Spiritual fellowship helps you avoid placing all your emotional weight on your spouse, which creates an impossible burden to bear.
Find solace in friends, mentors, accountability partners, pastors, and teachers.
The Body of Christ is an important key to developing courage and perseverance for the long haul.
#6. Develop Relationships With Older Mentors
Proverbs 27:10 says, “Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s.”
This verse implies that we gain strength and wisdom from learning to know people our own age and our parents’ age.
Seek out an older couple who has an exemplary, happy, and long marriage and explore what has kept them together.
Ask them to share with you the secrets of how to stay strong long term.
Learn from their marriage advice and wisdom and follow their example.
They may even be able to give you practical advice for the specialized situations you experience with your spouse.
#7. Don’t Ignore Your Spouse’s “Bids” For Attention
In his book, Reconnect, Steve Call, Ph.D. says that couples are constantly sending out “bids” for attention.
Like a slight nose-scratch or cough from a bidder at an auction, some of these bids are subtle and hard to notice.
Nonetheless, spouses are constantly asking one another for connection in small ways.
For example, if they hint at going out to eat, taking a walk, chatting about the day, or playing a board game,
make sure you don’t brush off this small invitation.
Notice their “bid” for attention and respond with kindness.
By any chance, if you’re not available right then, make sure you schedule another time when the two of you could connect.
If you make a habit of dismissing or ignoring your spouse’s bids, she or he may stop asking, and your relationship will suffer.
#8. Focus On “Crock Pot Relationships” Instead Of “Instant Microwave Relationships.”
In our culture of instant availability, it’s easy to assume that following a few steps, pressing a few buttons, and learning a few “hacks” can help you develop a successful marriage.
However, relationships are one thing that never develops instantly.
No matter how quickly you may have fallen in love, “love at first sight” doesn’t ensure that your relationship will progress easily and automatically.
Mike Bechtle says, “There are no shortcuts to maturity.
There are no shortcuts to healthy relationships. Maturity takes time.”
#9. Face Shame And Contempt Head On
According to Dan Allender, “a loyal commitment to a zero-contempt relationship” is one of the most critical elements in any marriage.
Especially when there has been vulnerability or hurt in the life of one spouse, a no-contempt rule is critical.
Dan Allender goes on, “No matter the issue, no matter its importance, contempt must be viewed as dangerous as lighting a match to look into a gas tank.”
In order to understand contempt, we need to also examine the shame in our lives.
Shame is the fear of disconnection and abandonment that stems from our belief about who we are as a person.
When we feel shame, we often turn to contempt to distract us from those feelings of abandonment and disconnection.
Instead of learning to feel secure in our identity, we blame someone near us or show contempt for ourselves.
#10. Don’t Allow Conflicts To Gridlock
The Gottman Institute provides excellent food for thought when it says that in some conflicts,
resolution is not necessarily possible in the way we traditionally think of it.
Solvable conflicts are simple logistical challenges or differences of opinion that can be fixed by discussing them.
Unsolvable problems, however, are clashes between personalities or values that will come up over and over ago and will never truly go away.
Some couples work endlessly to try to solve these problems, running themselves into corners, becoming defensive, being angry, or shutting down.
John Gottman, Ph.D suggests approaching these issues with continuing dialogue.
He recommends “humor, affection, and even amusement, to actively cope with the unresolvable problems,
rather than allowing it to fall into the condition of gridlock.” https://www.gottman.com/blog/managing-conflict-solvable-vs-perpetual-problems/
You must understand each other’s weaknesses and recognize your differences and practice forgiveness and letting go.
Being honest about unsolvable problems can help you not to waste time and energy worrying about things that cannot be changed.
Don’t allow these issues to go into a stressful, discouraging gridlock.
If your conflicts have fallen into a state of gridlock, make sure to reach out for help to a counselor, therapist, pastor, or friend.
#11. Re-Enact Jesus’ Life
You may think that all of life is going to be an upward of success and victory.
However, Jesus calls us to the life of death, self-sacrifice, and love that he demonstrated while he was on earth.
Ephesians 5 specifically says that husbands are called love with self-sacrificial, dying love.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
In his book, J-Curve, Paul Miller emphasizes that dying with Christ is a big part of life.
We admire Jesus’ sacrificial love so much that we actually re-enact it daily.
Practice sacrificial love that is enveloped in the mutual respect that promotes your shared values.
This is a great virtue that can serve as a bedrock of any relationship.
Respect is the bedrock of any solid relationship. It’s impossible for any relationship to thrive without RESPECT.
Like the residents of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, who re-enact a historic peace treaty in a monumental pageant every three years, we are called to re-enact Jesus’ life of sacrificial love—not every three years, but every day.
“When you realize that death is at the center of love, it is quietly liberating.
Instead of fighting the death that comes with love, you embrace what your Father has given you. A tiny resurrection begins in your heart.”—Paul Miller
Don’t forget or underestimate the importance of intimacy in your relationship.
Intimacy should be emotional, mental, and physical closeness and not just sexual.
You must always make time to connect intimately.
This type of intimacy is a feeling that is much more deeper and solid than a romantic feeling. This is one marriage advice all couples in long term relationships agree to be one of their secrets.
Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong, The Love Dare is a journey you need to take. You will learn the keys to finding true intimacy and developing a dynamic marriage.
#12. Regain Perspective As A Couple
When you start your marriage, it is important to create habits and rituals of connection.
Take time to regain perspective as a couple!
It’s important to think through your schedules, priorities, weekly events, and check-ins.
However, it is equally important to reevaluate those goals, rituals, and habits often as the years pass.
Don’t just get into a habit and continue with it for 20 years without taking a step back to see if those routines are still necessary.
Periodically review your goals, values, habits, and customs.
See if these rituals are working for you and evaluate whether you should change them or add new ones.
Although routines are important, ruts are not always helpful.
Make sure to check in from time to time to make sure you are still on the same page.
Life isn’t easy, and marriage is not for the faint of heart.
With these proven secrets to a long-lasting marriage relationship under your belt, you will gain the perspective, courage, and endurance that you need.
They will help you learn how to stay strong and intentional and long-term in your “Kingdom Marriage“.
Secrets To A Long Marriage Relationship: Words To Live By Everyday:
You can post these words where you can see them often.
Remembering them will help you and your partner to maintain a happy marriage that can withstand the most associated challenges.
As Always, Just hang on tight. Do Your best and leave the rest to a Faithful God. STAY BLESSED……