3 Things Enduring Marriages Have in Common
By Lynette Kittle
“Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” - Colossians 1:11
Like me, do you love hearing of couples being married 30, 40, 50, or more years? Do their examples of long-lasting marriages bring you hope? And their stories of enduring love inspire you to keep going on in your own marriage?
Often when hearing of long-term marriages, it’s easy to assume couples didn’t face a lot of difficulties in their relationship. It’s easy in first thought to think “how nice for them” assuming their marriages have been trouble-free, without conflict, disappointment, and distresses.
However, usually in hearing details of their stories, that just isn’t the case. Many have faced difficulties, some which even seem insurmountable to overcome. So it’s good not to underestimate the challenges most seasoned marriages have gone through or overlook the trying times they have risen above.
My own sweet, loving mom and dad were married for over fifty years. Still, during those decades of marriage they experienced many heartaches, hardships, losses, disappointments, health crisis, and marital conflicts.
As with them, most enduring marriages have a few things in common. Below are three of these commonalities.
1. Spouses are willing to forgive.
Marriage is a lifetime of forgiving, giving couples much opportunity to practice active, ongoing forgiveness.
Like Scripture urges, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
On the other hand, unforgiving leads to hardened hearts in marriage, and hardened hearts lead to divorce. As explained in Scripture, “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning’” (Matthew 19:8).
Rather, couples can choose to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
2. Leaving isn’t an option.
Many couples married for decades have had moments where they didn’t feel like they wanted to stay with their spouse or keep trying to work through marital issues.
Scripture encourages us to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
As Christians, we don’t have to rely on our own strength to keep us staying in our marriages. We have an unlimited source of strength in Christ. “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
3. Couples are committed to keeping their vows to God.
Vow keeping isn’t very popular in today’s culture. Many people who make promises and commitments don’t take them very seriously or don’t seem to have a problem in not fulfilling them.
God's Word cautions us that, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).
And God does take our vows seriously. As Deuteronomy 23:21 explains, “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.”
Most couples in enduring marriages are ones who have made their vows to each other and to God, with a sincere heart and commitment to fulfill it.
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, Startmarriageright.com, growthtrac.com, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
For More Great Resources for Christian Couples, Visit Crosswalk's Marriage Channel.