In my legacy box this morning was this question, "What is the secret to a long marriage?" Bill and I have been married seventeen years. We've already outlasted his parents' marriage (and those of over fifty percent of couples today). Yet, as I prepare a celebration for my parents' fiftieth anniversary next year, and as I look forward to the rest of our lives, Bill and I are just babies in this marriage business! But here's my best shot:
God! "A cord with three strands is not easily broken." Pray for and with each other, attend church as a family, read and share insights from spiritual books. Realize that you are your spouse's best chance to get to Heaven; take that seriously. Pray fervently for him, admonish him gently if he steps off the Path (do this out of sight and hearing of the children), praise him often, thank him more often. Be the spouse you want to have. Continue to grow throughout your marriage. You cannot change your spouse, only yourself. Pray. Communication, with God and each other, is important. But words, although small, are strong. Like bricks. Don't throw them around in anger, tearing things apart. Use them intentionally, building your relationship home. Touch is important as well, the kind that "leads somewhere" as well as that of solidarity. And pray.
I have to admit, Bill is much closer to this ideal than I. I have room and (God willing) time for improvement. The pain of marital discord and/or divorce must be incredible. And unfortunately, someone could follow my "advice" and still find himself in that situation. I'm so sorry we live in a fallen world. That we cannot choose our crosses. Although, now that I think of it, who would choose that cross anyway? Who would choose any cross? I think I've just wandered into another topic for another day. I'm off to strengthen my marriage!