My ears perked up when I heard her say, “We just celebrated our 55th anniversary and you know how we got here?”
I was compelled to listen intently. Charlotte loves Jesus. Her husband, Rocko, loves him too. They both serve our church in countless ways, and she encourages my walk with The Lord every Sunday morning–this past Sunday was no exception.
I sat down and said, “So, tell me how did you manage to make it to 55 years together?”
“You know Debi, when we got married Rocko was a different man. I loved him, but he changed and I learned to love who he had become. And he did the same for me.
“There were times when I didn’t think we would last; there were times when I knew we would last; there were times when I hoped we wouldn’t last! But God helped us make the necessary changes during all those seasons, and here we are.” She said with a huge smile that revealed there was more to the story than she had time to share.
I knew in that moment that her words were needed nuggets of wisdom for all marriages to hear.
How often do we go through similar seasons in our own marriage–times where it’s so good you have no doubt that your relationship will stand the test of time? Times where the future seems uncertain and you’re tempted to fear? Times where the conflict or hurt is so deep and so painful you hope it won’t last? The third one is probably the one that is most surprising. But it’s true.
Marriage that is good isn’t always on the mountain-top of marital bliss.
In fact, a good marriage faces some of the fiercest storms and comes out on the other side stronger and more in love than it ever was before. But those who quit in the storm miss this very important secret. Perseverance through the rough times is worth it–it’s a transition–like giving birth to something new.
Finally, I asked Charlotte what she thought was the secret to a lasting marriage. She said without hesitating, “Rock is the most unselfish man I have ever known.”
Such wisdom on display, and so simple. If we want our marriage to grow stronger as the years pass, we must stay the course no matter what our feelings scream at us, and we must love our spouse unselfishly–putting their wants, needs and desires above our own.
And there’s no better time to start than today. What is one thing you can do for your spouse right now that is an unselfish way to love and care for them?
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