We recently celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary. With each passing year, we've become a little more introspective of our shared journey and experiences. At times people have asked what we did that made our marriage reach the "golden" age. Our first response is a unanimous, "Commitment." Being committed to making our marriage work was deep inside each of us from the beginning, and we really didn't talk about it until we had been married almost 10 years.
We also share the main reason we chose to marry, which was we wanted to be with each other more than we wanted to be with anyone else on this good green earth. And after 57 years we both still feel the same.
So that this article would not be just a recap of our marriage, we queried eight other couples who had been married over fifty years with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. They were happy to look back over their marriages, because having lived a marriage with integrity allows one to review it with honesty—both the enjoyment and the challenges.
Five main things these couples married 50+ years have in common
1. Commitment to their marriage
One couple shared that they had both come from divorced parents and right from the beginning they committed to working out their challenges so they would not inflict divorce on their children. Another couple observed, "Mutual commitment from day one helped to solve problems instead of ignoring them. Failure was not an option."
2. Support each other
Many of the husbands' jobs required extensive travel (military and otherwise). There was a feeling by all of being supported by their mates. One husband said, "I decided to call my wife a few times each day to check on her and the children and to let her know how much I loved her." She said, "This constant expression of love helped me through so many down times. He makes me happy every minute."
3. Enjoy each other's interests
All of the couples are active in their respective religions and have supported each other in their church service. Sharing spiritual experiences enhanced their love for each other.
One husband developed an interest in painting and his wife enjoyed photography. So as they would travel around she would take pictures of scenes he expressed an interest in wanting to paint. Together they enjoyed each other's talents.
4. Share family responsibilities and fun times
The couples expressed that this sharing included hobbies, fun activities, raising the children, household chores, etc. One couple told of a time when they had just moved to a new location. "After the movers had left and the house was filled with boxes, we realized this was the last chance we would have for a family vacation before school started. So we left the boxes, loaded up the car and left for Yellowstone Park." Spontaneity like this can strengthen a marriage and family.
The sharing of available monies was also mentioned by the couples. One couple stated, "We have always had a shared stewardship over our finances and they have generally been limited." Another couple remarked, "From the beginning, we were united in how we used our money."
5. Build a relationship of love, respect, and trust
All of the couples interviewed expressed a deep love, respect, and trust for each other. It is these attributes that have allowed these couples to walk through their life experiences together. Many are now facing new age-related physical challenges and together they are holding on, realizing how important they are to each other.
These are but a few of the tips given by these inspiring couples. We hope they help as you develop the strengths to have your marriage thrive and survive.