Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of the day my wife and I pledged our love and lives to one another. And honestly, it hasn’t been hard to enjoy the journey we began so long ago.
Companionship has been easy for us, largely based on an intentional investment in compatibility neither of us has ever sought with another person. Yes, we have great friends, and wonderful children and grandchildren. But if you ask us where our truest delight lies, we’ll tell you it’s anywhere we’re together.
There are no secrets to making marriage a continual source of happiness. It is first being a person of integrity with a well-defined set of ethical convictions and standards.
Second, marry a person with whom you share the same convictions, standards, and a commitment to invest in your marriage through good times and bad.
Third, live out your married life considering your spouse’s well-being to be more important than your own. Simply put, be ready, be resolute, and be selfless.
Here are four areas we’ve found to be essential in our marriage.
Acceptance: Foundational to any relationship is a commitment to accept one another despite the changes that may come over time. If you were to ask my wife the most important mark of acceptance, she would tell you it is kindness. Being kind to another person is how you show you accept that person with all his or her foibles, with all the changes that come to the mind and body over time, and with all the challenges life throws at us.
Acceptance also means fundamental respect. It is displayed in listening to what someone has to say, to giving that individual space where needed, to encouraging the person’s dreams and ideas, and consistently making your heart a safe place for all your loved one is.
Affection: The flower of marital companionship is fertilized by affection. And while sexual intimacy may be one of the blooms, affection is much more than sex. It comes in morning hugs, unexpected compliments, words of…