Two Traits of a Long-Term Marriage
by John Thurman
Perseverance and tenacity are two of the most important, least discussed, aspects of building and maintaining a long-term marriage. I should know, my wife, Angie and I recently celebrated our 45th anniversary. This year we took an anniversary trip to the Grand Canyon by train. We left Albuquerque on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and got off the train at Williams Junction. The next day we took the Grand Canyon Railroad to the Canyon. We had a wonderful, memorable time celebrating this milestone, with great conversations, fun memories and moments of relaxation.
Over the years, young people have asked Angie and me about the secret of staying married for this long. She has been known to say something like, “John can quit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I can quit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Depending on which church service we attend, we confess our sins, we let the Lord know that we messed up, and so far he has given us the grace to move forward.
In all seriousness, if you stay married long enough you will go through various seasons. There will be warm Summers of recreation, joy, fun, and great memory building. There will be Fall seasons in your relationship when you will see things are moving toward a somber transition, some things like dreams, feelings of love may appear to be dying or at least losing their zest. Then there is Winter, a time when things could be very quiet, cold and apparently dead. Unfortunately, so many mistake this season in a relationship as final. Then comes the Spring, a time of new, fresh, growth, renewed hope and change.
One of the most important things that Angie and I have learned are that a couple cannot avoid these seasons. Way too many couples quit in the Fall and Winter seasons of their marriage. They lose hope, they quit.
The resilient couple, those who are tenacious and persevere, learn that these seasons are just seasons, nothing more. And with that resilient mindset they live and learn through the falls and winters to experience personal and couple growth.
Forty-five years ago we stood before the Lord, a preacher, as well as family and friends to repeat our vows. 45 years ago the vows were beautiful, vintage, romantic, and traditional words that gradually changed our lives.
Tenacious, preserving couples believe in the vows they said, and after forty-five years of multiple seasons, Angie and I can both say that we have and will continue to live out vows as long as we draw breath.
As I begin to wrap up this article, I would like you to take just a moment to review the meaning of perseverance and tenacity.
Perseverance comes from the eating word perseverance which means steadfast. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means - continued efforts to do or achieve something despite difficulties, challenges, and opposition.
Tenacity comes from the Latin word, tenacity and means not easily stopped or pulled apart. The Merrian-Webster dictionary means mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. It also implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger.
I am not sure where you are in your personal relationships or marriage, but I want to encourage you to hang in there. Billy Ocean, and I am dating myself, performed a song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Unfortunately, our culture is becoming a relationship wasteland. If people do not get what they want in a relationship, or if they are going through a hard time, they quit and go looking elsewhere.
I want to challenge you to do a gut check on yourself and about your relationship. Are you a person/couple who demonstrate tenacity and perseverance or are you a quitter.
Make the choice today to go for the long haul.
How? If you have made a mess of your marriage, confess your mess to God and your spouse, clean your mess up, and move forward.
Here are two articles that you might also enjoy: the first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal entitled Starts and Stops ; Ways to Keep Your Relationship Moving Forward. www.abqjournal.com/510859/headline-135-2.html
The Second,How to have a Happy Wife www.johnthurman.net/johns-blog/how-to-have-a-happy-wife
Would love to hear your thoughts, so let me hear your comments.
John is a Counselor, Author, Speaker and Photographer that helps people "Get a Grip on Life."