Keys to making marriage last a while

The public’s commitment to marriage has changed a lot over my time here on earth. Some 50 percent of couples today choose to live together for a period of time before taking the step to legal marriage. Those who make the choice to do this have valid reasons, that this arrangement is the best for the both of them.

The fact remains that just half of first-time cohabiting couples ever get married. Statistics for divorce with first-time marriages are conflicting; however, it is at least 40 percent. With second-time marriages, that rises to more than 60 percent, and for those hoping the third time’s the charm, 70 percent statistically call it quits.

I look at my marriage to my wife Joan, that will soon be 50 years strong, and I wonder what we have done right. In this column, I’ll share a few of our traits I believe have made a great union of marriage for the both of us. My proofreader, Joan, has reviewed this, so that will create some accountability to my comments about our blessed marriage.

Respect

We honor each other every day of our life, trying to build each other up rather than finding fault with each other. If one makes a mistake about something, we apologize and move on with a clean slate. We understand each of our strengths and weaknesses, permitting us to support each other over those times.

Trust

We are committed to each other every day and believe each of us is doing our best. There are many decisions to be made in the life of a marriage, and trust in each other to help make the correct decision is vital to both of us.

Listening

We take time to listen to each other and ask questions if we need further clarification. We try and review any concerns and decisions we arrived at to avoid any further confusion or conflict with our joint decision.

Affection

We still hold hands when out in public and look lovingly at each other. On occasion we even kiss, in public, when we are inspired. We find that paying compliments to each other on attitude, looks, response to others and decisions is also good for the both of us.

Patience

We both continue to work on this to give time for each other to make decisions for the good of us both. Joint and honest communication is critical today.

Support

Many things can challenge this, such as family relationships, helping others, schedules, outside commitments, and the list goes on. We work continually at being committed to each other during the ups and downs of life.

Trust in God

We have had our share of challenges in life, however, we have listened to God to help us move through those situations. We both have a strong faith that God will be with us each day of our life, helping us make the tough decisions we all face at one time or another.

I still like the traditional wedding vow we renewed at our 20th wedding anniversary, which again, totally commits us both, “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part in accordance to Gods holy ordinance.”

Just as the vow reflects, marriage is a journey through life that requires total commitment and a willingness to change to be rewarding.

Dean McFarland is a member of the Hancock County Council on Aging. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield reporter.com.