Like most couples, Joan Fortin didn’t foresee any problems when she and Bill married more than five decades ago. After all, she says, “I really loved him. For me, marriage was going to be a white picket fence, roses, and raising a bunch of kids.”
“I loved her, too,” Bill says, “and thought we could raise a nice family together and just have a wonderful marriage.”
When they married on November 20, 1954, they were like most newlyweds—anticipating “the better,” but not “the worse.” If the Fortins had looked into their future on their wedding day, they would have seen an unfaithful groom and a bride who had a choice to make.
The following ten ideas, shared by couples married for 50 years or more, will help your marriage last a lifetime.
1. You need a Savior. “We didn’t realize that it was two sinners who married each other. Two very sinful people who needed a Savior.” (Mona Sproull)
2. Stay committed to one another. “Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment … no matter what, I will stand by your mom.” (Charles Powell)
3. Pray with your mate. “Rather than each of us having ourselves at the center of our thinking, there enters a willingness to let God be at the center.” (Jerry Bell)
4. Forgive one another. “All I could think of was if God could forgive me of all of my sins, who am I not to forgive my husband.” (Joan Fortin)
5. Realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect husband or perfect wife. “Christ has given me understanding and lets me know that everyone does something wrong sometimes.” (Mattie Foy)
6. Have faith that God knows what He is doing. “A lot of people would ask me, ‘No children yet?’ And I’d say, ‘No, but I am sure having a good time telling you how to raise yours.’” (Jodie May)
7. Trust that God gives grace and direction as we trust Him. “How can a parent trust the Lord when they lose a child? It takes a lot of faith.” (Richard Long)
8. You’ll need to make compromises. “You can’t always have your way. I just thought that marriage would be a give and take situation.” (Nelda Davenport)
9. Be objective and take the emotion out of problem solving. “If I say something to you that’s disrespectful to you and I don’t really know it, you need to trust my heart.” (Mona Sproull)
10. Love your spouse. “The love comes from God.” (Mattie Foy)
What is the result of a marriage that lasts a lifetime? After 53 years of marriage, five children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, Joan Fortin says, “I just see the blessings that God has given us through this marriage and the love that the family has for one another, and I could have missed all of that.”
In an age of widespread divorce, it is becoming less and less common for marriages to last a half of a century. Read the rest of the story on these couples who have been married 50 years or more.
© 2006 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.