Love to Last

Making a marriage work is hard, but making it last is even more difficult! So I asked happily married couples for their advice on how to make love last!

“Recall the days when you dated, often. There were lots of reasons you fell in love; revisit them. See your spouse with the same eyes with which you fell in love with him/her, even decades later. Have lots of passionate sex. Create your own personal family traditions. Marriage is full of work and sacrifice. It’s hard! The joys of the mountaintop experience are only sincerely appreciated when you’ve walked through the valley. It is important to recognize, especially in the valley, that your spouse is walking through it with you, through good times and bad. The reward of a strong marriage is the product of a lot of hard work. But the greatest aspect of marriage is that even the work can be fun because it is being done with your best friend who loves you dearly.”
-Jeremy and Heather, married 3 years

“Marriage is a commitment. It is a commitment to be honest, loyal, kind, gentle, patient, faithful, sacrificial, peaceful, joyful, and loving to each other. Allow your spouse to be your forever best friend.”
-Joe and Tiffany, married 13 years

“Making love last is possible when you keep God as the center of your marriage. Attend church and pray together. REALLY listen to one another. Make eye contact when each one of you is talking. Do special things for each other. Help each other with the chores. Continue to touch one another – hold hands, put your arms around each other, sneak up and give a kiss to one another. Laugh together and say you’re sorry! It is OK to make a mistake. Marriage is a work in process – all the time. Marriage will ALWAYS be give and take…but it’s worth every minute! After 37 years of marriage, I still “light up” when he walks in the room. He is my best friend!”
-Linda & Dennis, married 37 years

“One of the greatest challenges every couple faces is dealing with the differences of personality, experience, family traditions, expectations, and values. We need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our spouse and view them as such, rather than wrongs and rights. Be careful with your words. Never devalue each other. Discuss your feelings and deal with the situation, but don’t tear each other down, face to face or to other people. You can’t give up on each other! You have to be determined to work through the challenges. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. When we marry, we commit to a journey together and with God’s help, we grow and mature together along the way.”
-Rodney & Liz, married 39 years

“The key to making love last is forgiving as Christ has forgiven you. Consider your spouse before yourself and never go to bed without a kiss. If you can’t kiss, talk ‘til you do!”
-John & LaDonna, married 41 years

“Making love last means listening to each other and sharing your heart. Forgive and grant forgiveness from the heart, then act as though it never happened. You have to communicate, communicate, communicate! As Revered John Hegge says, “Communication is to the marriage what blood is to the body. “
-Christoulla and Ray, married 43 years

“I winked at her in church one day, and that was it! To make love last, you have to spend a lot of time together, which may mean more time with your wife and less time with your buddies. We used to ski together, take the family to the river, go fishing on Saturday and to church on Sunday. You have to always be willing to say ‘thank you,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ and ‘I love you.’ Say that last one every day. Ultimately, staying close and giving God first place in your lives will make for a happy marriage.”
-Ben and Peggy, married 71 years

Though each couple I talked with had their own take on what makes love last, definite themes emerged of forgiveness, respect, affection, friendship, and commitment. While there’s certainly no magic formula, these components seem to be necessary to make love and marriage last, not just for a while, but a lifetime.