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Toward Wholeness Blog

36 Tips for Marriage after 36 years.

Today’s our anniversary, so here are some thoughts on why we’re still deeply in love, deeply engaged in our world, and looking forward with joy to growing old together:

1. You both need freedom to fail.

2. You’ll process faith journeys differently.  Don’t worry about that.  In fact, celebrate it and try learning from each other.

3. There will be dark days and seasons for each one.  Give each other grace; and space.

4. A shared passion helps make the journey much more enjoyable.  Ours is the outdoors.

5. Even in our shared passion, we have different desires and abilities.  Both parties should move a little to make it enjoyable.

6. Pay your credit cards off every month if that’s at all possible.

7. I can’t tell you how valuable laughter is, because it’s priceless.

8. A willingness to follow God’s call into risky territory is priceless too.

9. Confining sexuality to the pursuit of orgasms kills playful touch.  We both agree that’s a bad thing and so enjoy touch often!

10.  Keeping physically fit as much as possible helps give you the reserves needed for hard times.

11.  When sickness and injury hits, and they will, it’s time to grow up and put your needs aside.

12. Practice generosity.  Invest in your church and the vast needs of our world.

13. Practice hospitality.  We’ve hosted people from around the world, and it’s been great for our marriage and great for our children.

14. Learn to cook.  We save money by eating at home and cooking healthy meals. Both of us have learned to enjoy cooking, and this has made our life together richer.

15. Celebrate each other’s gifts.  Mine have to do with words, vision, and teaching.  Hers have to do with compassion, details, and hands-on practical duties.  We were once annoyed by these differences.  Now we view them assets, like playing different positions on a team.

16. Learn the love languages of your spouse.  Hers is “affirming words”, mine are “time” and “touch”.

17. Don’t try to settle disputes when you’re tired.  Instead, set a time when you know you’ll both be refreshed and commit to working on it and talking about it then.

18. Don’t be surprised when your spouse rejects your ideas initially.  They’re new to him/her.  Give them space to think, and get back to you with their response.  Insistence on immediate responsiveness and/or closure is a recipe for misery.

19. Details matter.  You’ll need to talk through matters of financial priorities, things about the house, health choices, calendar matters, and broken appliances.  For some, these things seem mundane.  But they are your life together, and how you address them either strengthens or weakens your marriage.

20.  Big ideas matter too.  You should periodically ask where you’re headed in your life together, and how you’re doing in the big things like pursuing your call, and building a life of intimacy together.  For some, the details are comfortable, but these things are scary.  Don’t run from these, or you’ll drift into boredom and mediocrity.

21. Adapt to unexpected turns.  We presently have adult children living in our house, along with my mother-in-law.  Receive these unexpected events as the rich gifts that they are.

22. Be quick to confront, quick to confess, and quick to forgive.

23. Quick to forgive, comes, I believe, from seeing yourself as one who’s been forgiven, both by God and your spouse.

24. Experiences matter more than stuff.  So spend the night at the Ahwanee sometime, or a mountain hut.  Eat out at Canliss sometime, or the Caboose Bar and Grill in Cle Elum.

25. Let the little things go.  I think she has too many plastic containers.  She thinks I need more dress shirts.  Whatever.  We’ve stopped talking about these things long ago; not worth it.

26. Enter the other’s world.  I’ve gone to some musicals.  She’s become a SF Giants fan.  It’s been good for both of us.

27. Vulnerability matters.  When either of us is afraid to be vulnerable with the other, it pushes us into unhealthy space.

28.  Recognize seasons.  She worked for years in order to help our kids with college costs.  Now she stays at home and practices hospitality while supporting her mom and me in life-giving ways.

29.  Together.  We play together.  Pray together.  Sometimes even shower together  🙂

30.  Solo.  We both have identities apart from being a spouse.  This is important and life-giving for our marriage.

31.  Curiosity.  It’s served us well regarding each other, vision for the future, and discovering opportunities.

32. Gratitude.  I come home to see her staining the deck railings and smile, grateful for her health and her eagerness to contribute to the household economy.  I’m grateful and tell her.

33.  Circadian rhythms.  99% of the time I’m up before her.  This is the gift of solitude for me, and the gift of sleep for her.  Differences are fine.

34. Traveling alone.  Sometimes we jokingly tell people that the secret of being happily married is that I travel.  But there’s some truth in that.  Apart, we gain needed space for individual pursuits, and gain appreciation for the other.

35.  Traveling together.  We share a world of experiences beyond the walls of our home, and while not everyone has this as either privilege or call, experiences outside the home are valuable when shared since they shape us so profoundly.

36. Source.  We both believe, deeply, that the reality of Christ in our lives gives us the needed resources to pursue intimacy, forgive when we fail, and stay in the journey for 36 years!

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