“An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” Agatha Christie, novelist.
There’s that couple at the family reunion or special event that just celebrated their 50th anniversary or higher. They are beloved by those around them. Through all of the difficulties, they stayed together. All kinds of things happen along the way that knock many off the path and out of the race. Most marriages start off pledging to make it until the end. We say, “Til death do us part,” but nobody tells us how to go about pulling that off. Marriage is hard!
When you are twenty years or more into a marriage with aging setting in harder, more painfully, and life full of complications, it’s not the romantic charms of each person that are going to sustain the relationship. There are certain characteristics that make a marriage go the distance. Here are 5 traits of a lasting marriage.
1. Shared Vision
Share a common long-term vision. Set a course with attainable goals and follow that vision. If your wife wants one set of things and you’re thinking in an entirely different direction, it’s simply going to be a train wreck most of the time. Individual paths such as career desires have to mesh with the overall agenda.
2. Enjoy Each Season
Understand and enjoy each season you are currently in and work as a team to best maximize those days. They each come with their own unique blessings and challenges. My wife and I are currently in the teens with our two. In our shared vision, we are planning ahead for what we call the “Free 50s.”
3. Avoid Unrealistic Expectations
In life, there is the reality that we are living, and there is the portrayal of how media and entertainment says we should live. Taking the latter seriously is a bad idea. It’s either there merely to entertain, or it’s there to sell you something. In either case, it’s not reality. The couples that survive the test of time understand clearly that each day is not going to be a bed of roses. Romance is not always going to be in full bloom. Remember your commitment.
It cannot be overstated how important respect is to each of us. Life can be cruel and we can get kicked around, but we truly need the people we love to respect us enough to not do the same as the world might. Martin Luther wrote, “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.” That’s accomplished simply by showing proper respect. Practice respect and apply it daily.