25 years ago I married Doug Thomas. It was next to the best decision I ever made. He is a wonderful blessing from God and I’m truly thankful for him. The best decision I ever made was to follow Jesus and I think Doug would agree it was the best decision he made as well. Two people staying married for 25 years is a long time and if you are married, you know marriage is not always easy. I just can’t imagine what our marriage would like without Jesus.
When we married in 1991, I instantly became a stepmom. I had never even dated someone with children but I knew I would love these little girls with all my heart. They were and still are precious to me. Of course, they are grown now with families of their own but they will always be these precious little girls to me. I couldn’t resist but to show you a photo of them on our wedding day.
Courtney was 7 years old at the time and Chelsea was 3. As you can see, Chelsea had decided to cut her bangs the day before our wedding. Her mom (who is a hairdresser) tried to fix them but she cut them so short, it was impossible. It was really funny and I couldn’t help but adore her even more as she rocked back and forth during our vows. Courtney is the quieter one who loved and still loves to read. I love them both and so grateful to God for giving me these two beautiful daughters.
Sharing is important in a marriage. Doug and I have shared our hopes and dreams. We’ve also shared grief and disappointment. Marriage is full of peaks and valleys. If we are open to each other, we can learn in the valleys in order to have more peak moments. It takes listening and being present for each other. I’m not always good at listening because I’m usually the one doing the talking (bless his heart). However, I’m hoping over the years that I’ve made some progress in this area. I love his gentle soul and how sweet Doug is to listen and care for me.
Find something you like to do together. It may not be your favorite thing, but it may be your spouse’s favorite thing. If so, do your best to enjoy it. If you still struggle, ask God for help. I believe God wants us to love being with our spouse. So ask God to help you love what your spouse loves. For us, it’s going on a motorcycle ride. Now I’m a fair weather rider so it needs to be nice and sunny for me to hop on the motorcycle with my husband. When I go with him, I just love getting away and enjoying the open air together. It’s refreshing and renewing.
When the kids are grown and you find yourself an empty nester or almost empty nester, make sure and get to know each other again.
As much as you try not to focus on the kids or work, it’s almost impossible not to when it comes to the needs of your children or the demands of work. However, make time for dates and stay connected. One day the kids will leave (well hopefully) and it will be the two of you. Make intentional time together along the way and keep those date nights, they are critical to your marriage.
We’ve changed a lot over the past 25 years. It’s so evident when you look at where we started. However, I can’t imagine changing with anyone else. I love this man of mine! I can’t control him, I can’t change him, I can only love him. By the way, I don’t want to control or change him. Well maybe early on in our marriage but we won’t go there (smiley face).
What makes a marriage last 25 years and counting? Love! Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).