In the past year both my parents and my in-laws have celebrated 50 years of marriage. (Today is my folks 50th.) That’s a whole century of commitment. Corey and I are blessed and our boys are blessed by the legacy that these four people are leaving us. I’m sure I could easily come up with 100 things I’ve learned from both my parents and Corey’s if I sat at this keyboard long enough. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll stop myself at 10.
My dad is the hardest worker I know. For years and years and years, he worked a job that he liked, but didn’t love, because he was committed to providing for his wife and his kids. I didn’t have all the name brand clothes and we only ran the AC when it was over 90 degrees outside, but I always had everything I needed and most of the things I wanted too.
Choose your battles wisely.
More than once I’ve witnessed both my folks and Corey’s folks at a crossroads where they could have started arguing about something but chose not to. There are times when a fight is worthwhile, but it’s often better to let things go. (Corey’s socks that never make it into the dirty clothes basket? Not worth an argument. In fact, I started just tossing my socks on the bedroom floor too 🙂 )
Save money for travel.
My parents were very frugal, but they always saved for vacations. Some of my best childhood memories are from the many trips we took. Because of that, Corey and I keep vacations high on our priority list. I’ll buy all my clothes at Goodwill and sell things on ebay if it means going on a fun trip (BTW – my ebay sales paid for a Florida vacation in 2015.)
Different people say I love you in different ways.
Though it’s so good to hear the words, some people express love much more clearly in action. Corey tells me he loves me regularly, but when you focus on making yourself aware of how your spouse does “love in action,” the words aren’t quite so crucial.
Love and serve others because Jesus first loved you. You don’t have to be a preacher to serve and show the world what true love is, and all four of our parents are exceptional at loving others by serving them. Even when it’s inconvenient. In marriage there are oh so many opportunities to love and serve our spouses when it’s inconvenient.
Be supportive of the things your spouse is passionate about, even if their ideas feel a bit crazy.
My dad is a handyman who remodeled my childhood home from top to bottom more than once because he was always thinking of better ways to use the space. Some wives would’ve gone crazy with the constant drywall dust and change. But my mom just went with it. Early on in our marriage, Corey decided we should build houses to live in for a short time and then sell them as a form of investing for our future. The reality of that meant meant moving 11 times in 18 years. I wasn’t excited about the whole thing at first, but I got behind my hubby’s grand idea and even discovered that I kind of liked it. Plus we got to live in some sweet houses.
In sickness is not just a generic phrase in your wedding vows.
I watched Corey’s dad take those vows to heart when Vickie walked through breast cancer. I never would’ve guessed that just a few years later I would have the opportunity to watch my husband serve me through the same disease. I can’t imagine a better man by my side through that, and he had an incredible example in his dad.
One of my favorite things about my mother-in-law is her laugh. She and Corey’s dad laugh often, and when you are around them you just know that they really enjoy life. I want to be like that.
Do your own things.
My mom loves to sew and read and walk. My dad loves to build things, play golf and learn investment strategies. They do plenty of things together, but they each have their own things too. There’s a lot less pressure in marriage when you don’t feel like you have to do all the same things together all the time. (Corey likes to climb mountains, and most of the time, I don’t have any desire to tag along.)
When you commit to something, stick to it.
Both sets of our parents have been married 50 years. Need I say more?