Anniversary advice: How to be and stay happily married | Life And Living

On the eve of our 12th anniversary, my husband and I attended a wedding for a couple, who like us, were people of a certain age getting a second chance at “happily ever after.”

Their ceremony included a reading of I Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter,” a Bible passage my husband and I also chose for our wedding 12 years ago:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Those words speak clearly of an impossible kind of love made possible by the grace of God.

I was married for 30 years before losing my first husband to cancer. When I remarried 12 years ago, I thought I knew a lot about marriage. But every marriage is like those who enter it: Unique. One of a kind.

On the whole, a marriage is what we make of it, the sum of the love we give to it, day by day, year by year, over time.

But how do we do that? What does that kind of love look like?

Years ago, I asked readers to send me marriage tips. And boy, did they. I put all of their tips I could fit, with some of my own, in a column. Readers often request copies of it to give to newlyweds. Advice is fun to give and it’s cheaper than a toaster.

To celebrate our anniversary, I asked my husband to help me pick the best of those tips (plus some of our own) for:

“How to Be and Stay Happily Married”:

1. Put each other first. You’re the best thing that’s happened to each other. Act like it.

2. Keep no secrets. Let nothing and no one come between you.

3. Pick your fights with care. Harsh words can be forgiven, but…

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