I recently read a news story about a couple in Kansas named Paul and Ada Day. They have been happily married for 78 years (and counting). You can read the original newspaper story here.
We live in a world where we all still desire that kind of lifelong love and companionship, but in our modern culture, it sadly seems like a thing of the past. The good news is that lifelong love doesn’t have to be a thing of the past! Paul and Ada share four simple keys to build a marriage that can endure though all the many seasons of life.
While they’d be the first to tell you that it takes many “keys” to building the kind of marriage they’ve built, they’re convinced that these four below are cornerstones on which every strong marriage should be built. I believe that if you will apply these (or keep doing these) in your own marriage, you can experience the kind of lifelong love and friendship that they’ve experienced.
Here are their four most important marriage lessons (in no particular order)…
1. COMMUNICATE about everything.
Ada was quick to say that communication is vital. She said that she and Paul would talk about everything. The didn’t rely on nonverbal cues or assume that the other spouse could read their minds. They talked through their feelings, their challenges, their disappointments, their hopes, their dreams and everything in between. Communication is a lifeline in any marriage. Make it a priority.
2. They replaced the words “mine” and “yours” with “OURS.”
From the beginning, they agreed that they weren’t going to have separate bank accounts, separate money or separate anything else. They rightly understood that marriage means giving up sole ownership to anything and assuming shared ownership of everything. In marriage, your time, your resources, your debts, your dreams and everything else must be shared.
3. They keep creating NEW adventures together.
Through all the seasons of their marriage, they’ve made sure they always have some new adventure to look forward to. Even now, in their late 90s, they regularly take tour-bus trips to new locations throughout the country. They stay active. They keep learning new things and creating new experiences together. They build new memories every day, and keep looking forward to what’s ahead.
4. They NEVER give up on each other.
Paul admitted that there have plenty plenty of difficulties along the way. He even went so far as to say, “There were many times she had the right to kick me out, but she didn’t.” They were both resolved to place their commitment to each other ahead of their differences and disagreements. The chose to love each other even on those days when they struggled to like each other. They removed the word “divorce” from their vocabularies, and their unshakable commitment to each other helped them grow deeper in their love, appreciation and trust for each other through every passing season.
About the Author: Dave Willis is a pastor, husband and dad of four boys. With his wife, Ashley, Dave founded StrongerMarriages.org and the “Marriage” app as a way to encourage couples to build stronger marriages. You can connect with him on Twitter and follow his blog at Patheos.