Top ten secrets to staying married 30 years
My wife and I will be celebrating our thirtieth anniversary tomorrow. Let's see that's 28 years longer than Britney's and J Lo's weddings combined. So, what's the secret? I have in my right hand my suggestions for Top Ten Ways to Stay Married 30 Years.
10. Be sure you have a pre-nuptial arrangement concerning Letterman or Leno, flannel or percale, and over the front top or under the back bottom for the way toilet paper comes off the holder.
9. Lower your standards. Better to go with a real imperfect spouse than a Hollywood illusion. Anyone can appear funny and flawless with a team of script writers and plastic surgeons. And, according to a UCLA study recently reported right here, David Frederick, the study's co-author, told Health Day News, "While women seek out muscular men for fun flings and view them as more attractive . . . they definitely don't want to marry them. Why? They're seen as being less faithful, less likely to treat them well, and less emotionally sensitive." Whew! I weighed 115 on our wedding day.
8. Be aware that "romantic love" has a half life of about three months. If, like me, you didn't do that well in chemistry, that means if a romance has an intensity of "10" it will degenerate to a "5" in just ninety days. In six months, that "I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't live without him/her" emotion will have eroded to a 2.5 on the romance Richter scale. No wonder many relationships don't last longer than a season of "The Bachelor." The good news is that real committed love can last a lifetime.
7. Cut loose the lifeboats. If your marriage is sinking, and you've agreed that divorce and first-degree murder aren't viable options, you'll spend your time bailing water and patching holes rather than simply abandoning ship. Which brings us to . . .
6. Remember, a marriage counselor is a lot cheaper than a divorce lawyer. (And, according to the American Journal of Public Health, getting a divorce has all the health risks of two packs of smokes a day.)
5. Learn to play the saxophone together. Since this is a family newspaper, let me euphemistically write that all the research confirms that married couples who never played the sax before marriage, make far sweeter music after marriage than those who did. And thirty years of practice with the same partner does produce some really sweet music.
On a related note (pun intended), Dr. Nancy Moore Clatworthy, a sociologist from Ohio State, has been researching couples that have lived together before marriage. She found that live-ins argued more about finances, household matters, recreation, demonstration of affection, and friends, than married couples. Clatworthy also wrote, "The finding that surprised me most concerned [playing the saxophone]. Couples who have lived together before marriage disagreed about it most often."
4. Treat each other as equals: mentally, socially, and spiritually. (My wife is a whole lot smarter than me, but at least she treats me like I have her 3.999 GPA. I graduated "magna cum grace.")
3. Give each other space to pursue their dreams. I'm so grateful that Lois has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming an underpaid, unrecognized, unsuccessful writer (I have more than fulfilled that dream). Most women would have said, "Quit dreaming and get a real job!" Plus I am so proud of my wife's accomplishments as an ordained minister and board member of local and national organizations.
2. Reject stereotypical roles. Lois and I are definitely not Ozzie and Harriett, but neither are we Ozzie and Sharon. I played the role of "Mr. Mom" while Lois was in graduate school, but most of our married life we have worked out of our home so Faith and Paul had two stay-at-home parents. We have tried to equally share in decision-making, child-raising and household chores. However, I still haven't convinced Lois that mowing the lawn is an exciting recreational activity that I'm sure she'd enjoy. And she hasn't convinced me cleaning the toilet bowl is as emotionally satisfying as those TV ads seem to portray.
1. Share a strong common faith. Numerous studies have revealed that married couples that share a love for God have a stronger love for each other. Part of it may be the commandments "thou shalt not commit adultery" and "thou shalt not murder." But several studies show, according to Dr. G. Rekers, this "isn't because of religion-based prohibitions. . . . Church attenders were simply found to be happier with their marriages. Furthermore, it was found that the elevated sense of marital satisfaction among church attenders extended to their [playing the saxophone] relationship, a finding that flies in the face of the prevailing wisdom, which portrays religion as being negative toward [playing the saxophone]."
So, those are my theories. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a saxophone lesson.
Copyright © 2004 James N. Watkins
Loved your Top Ten, Jim, and wish you and your saxophone teacher all the very best for your thirty-oneth. I've booked a double session with mine. Wink, wink . . . firstname.lastname@example.org (August 2004)
Congratulations to you and Lois for 30 years! Ours is 28 this year. Ahhh.... seems like yesterday we were under the blankets, the picture of Jesus over the headboard, him blindfolded, not watching.... Your sibling in Christ, www.alspeegle.com (August 2004)
Congratulations on 30 years and I also wanted to tell you what a wonderful article you have written in "Top 10 Secrets to Staying Married"! I have cut it out so my husband can add it to his file! Wonderful information for pre-marital counseling! My husband is also an ordained minister, we will celebrate our 29th Annv. in January and your top 10 was right on target! Loved the part about the SAX! Great stuff! God Bless for speaking the truth! email@example.com (August 2004)
So you celebrate thirty years tomorrow . . . we celebrate 30 years next month. Congrats to all of us and to the wonderful God who created this amazing institution called marriage! firstname.lastname@example.org (August 2004)
I was interested in your staying married reasons. Especially playing the sax. It seems to me that Christians from a variety of places are rising up and claiming our own territory again. The only thing the deceiver/liar can do to one of God's good inventions, like se-- uh, sax, is cobble together some cheap substitute that ruins it. The ol' "kill, steal, destroy" gambit that, amazingly enough, he can sell to people!!
It's about time we who have experienced the reality of God, and the reality of His inventions, let people know about it. I have read and studied (and practiced with my first/best/only girlfriend for almost 35 years) this topic. We followed the instructions, in order, and have been blessed far beyond anything we could have imagined in our home and family life. Now we have three grown kids walking facing the Lord; we have four grandsons that are wonderful. We have a secure, sacred, powerful, love between us that is amazing.
This past summer I taught a class on the sax at our youth camp. Had the time of my life!! Both calling out the liar for who he is, and for proclaiming the Lord of Life for who He is and what He does. I think our teens (and younger) have been given a rotten-to-the-core deal by our society and it makes me mad!! So I'm doing what I can to say there is a better, higher, funner, richer, way. And I am cheered by others who are doing so likewise-- keep it up! Shalom, SteSue@aol.com (August 2004)
Hi! I like your website. I was curious if you've ever felt
yourself falling out of love with your wife though? I've
with my hubby. Those were good tips. Love, Lisa (August 2004)
Oh yah! Several years ago we went through a bad patch (marriage counseling, the whole bit). That's why agape' love is so important. It's the glue that holds a relationship together: But now there are some really good feelings happening. If you're in a rough patch, hang in there, get help if necessary, and realize it's only temporary! And, you may find Top ten reasons I'm not divorcing my wife help.
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