163 Years Of Love: Four Women Married More Than 30 Years Share Advice On Making Love Last
“Will you, ___, take this man/woman, to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife? To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death you part?”
These are words that many couples have said to each other, and many others are yearning to say in front of friends and family in a blissful ceremony of commitment. Marriage. It’s why so many people date endlessly, and the reason there are so many television shows dedicated to helping people find their soul mates. While the idea of being married is one that only some can imagine, others have been down that road or are presently on it.
A few days ago, I had the distinct honor of speaking with four amazing women who have been married for a total of 163 years: 30 years, 35 years, 40 years, and a whopping 58 years. Each woman has been married to the same man for decades and has been through hell and high water with them. Hearing how long each of the women have been married was not only astounding, but encouraging to an unmarried woman like myself. So naturally, as they were talking, and I listened intently, I couldn’t help but ask: What is their secret was to being married for so long? Many people would expect different answers, but surprisingly, the responses were very similar.
The first and most consistent answer each woman gave was that if you are a spiritual woman, it is essential that you pray with and for your mate constantly. It will take answers and guidance from a higher power to see you both through.
Another secret they gave was to acknowledge your husband’s place and never step out of your role as his partner. I found this interesting because it seems as though so many women in today’s society are not into the whole idea of submission. But what this generation of women and others must realize is that it doesn’t matter if your husband is standing at the end of the unemployment or job fair line, he is still the head of the household and we should follow his lead.
Another word of advice I was given was to listen to your husband, rather than to talk so much. We all know how much we as women like to be heard and express ourselves, and rightfully so. However, it’s also important to listen to what our mates have to say, allow it to resonate, and take heed. Be a good helpmate. When many women hear this, they may think that this term is demeaning, but it’s not. When someone needs an answer to something, what do they do? They seek help. If you are your husband’s helpmate, then you hold the answers he needs to become a better man for the both of you.
It’s also important to keep the fire going in your marriage. Keep dating each other and don’t take your husband for granted. As the women spoke on this, they stated that it’s vital to keep things interesting because you don’t want the spark you had at the beginning of the relationship to fade. Plus, you want your mate to know that you appreciate them. Treat the other person the way you want to be treated. Isn’t this the golden rule in life?
Communication, communication, communication. This is another major factor in having a healthy marriage, and key to any successful relationship. Talking to your partner in a loving and respectful manner will take you further than you know. It will encourage growth within your relationship and it will strengthen your friendship.
The last few nuggets of wisdom these women gave me were never to go to bed angry and that you should always remember to love each other. Love is a selfless action where one person gives freely of themselves for another’s well-being without expecting anything in return but the other person’s happiness. If couples practiced love this way, how many marriages would last longer than they do?
These and other gems of wisdom they shared should be passed on because these remarkable women have been down the path many of us desire to take. I’m grateful to each of them for sharing this knowledge with me on making love last. And although I may be a ways away from marriage, I’m going to keep these secrets locked away in my mind and heart. When the time comes, I can practice them and have a marriage that will last a lifetime.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? and a speaker and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.