Recently, Patsy and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. I didn’t expect to feel so giddy, because it never occurred to me it wouldn’t happen. But I do! Both of our parents “married for life.” So for us, it’s a core value.
However, so many men I speak to through our ministry simply don’t expect to be married for 40 years. Their parents divorced. Their wife’s parents divorced. They don’t believe it’s possible. Can you imagine the fear that creates? My generation—the baby boomers—have deconstructed the institution of marriage. Baby boomers, the state of our culture is on us!
I can’t yet say how to stay married for 50 years, but here are a few things that can help you get to 40!
- Never use the divorce word in arguments; it makes your partner feel like they’re standing on a banana peel. If you have used it in the past, stop and never do it again!
- Set aside a few minutes every day, make eye contact and talk about something besides running a household—your day, dreams, disappointments.
- Tell your spouse “I love you,” and affirm something they do at least once a day.
- Touch each other often—there is a transfer that takes place. (Think what happened when the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ robe.)
- Spend time together alone. You may both need to drop to your fourth, fifth or even sixth favorite thing to do to find something you both like.
- Pray with each other. We pray for the day—it only takes one or two minutes. Meals, too.
- Pray for each other. The Marriage Prayer is 68 words that capture the essence of what the Bible says about marriage. Download it for no cost at www.themarriageprayer.org.
- Be the same person you are at home that you are in public—one life, one way.
Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991 he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.