I celebrate eighteen years as a bride next week. Eighteen years of being Mrs. Smith. Walking down the aisle while completely in love was easy. Staying completely in love while walking in the middle of the muck—now that’s a different story.
I asked the wise women in my life their secret to staying in love. Over 130 years of marriage are represented in this advice. Let’s grab a cup of coffee and listen as they whisper the secret to love that lasts.
Christ at the Center
The best way I’ve found to stay in love is to stay in Love—stay in Christ. Without Him in the center, we will drown in the waters of trying. Psalm 121:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” We’ve done marriage with Christ in the center and we’ve done it on our own. I highly discourage the latter. (Andrea Stunz)
It doesn’t matter the house you live in or car you drive. It doesn’t matter the vacations you take or your 401K totals, if you have no character you will not have a marriage that endures. When it comes to marriage, joy is preserved through investing in our humanity. Character and the character of Christ are indispensable ingredients to a marriage (and a love) that lasts. (Robin Lee)
One way that helps me stay in love when I don’t feel it is to continue to date my husband. In our almost twenty-eight years of marriage, we hold getting away for an evening, a day, a weekend, or a couple of weeks as a high priority. Yes, even when we aren’t feeling it. Getting away allows us to step out of our norm, out of our routine, out of our muck, and gain a refreshed perspective. You can’t see the beauty in the stained glass window when you’re too close. You have to step away to see the intended beauty. I think without our getaways and dates, our marriage would not have survived. That may not be the case but I hope we don’t find out. (Andrea Stunz)
Find something to do together. It may be hiking, dancing, going to hear live music, a breakfast date once a week, watching a meteor shower. Explore something new together. (Terri Fullerton)
Make a date night, and walk holding his hand. Follow him around the men’s clothing store. Share dessert. You might have to initiate it. (Robin Allen)
Deal with Conflict
You will handle conflict, trials, grief and tragedy differently. One of you wants to pray when the other wants to be numb for a while. One of you longs for conversations and the other may long to go running. A time may come for counseling or finding a couple of mentors to talk with together so that you both feel heard and understood. The sooner you do this, the better it will be for your family in the long run. If your spouse doesn’t want to go, go for yourself. (Terri Fullerton)
The most important things about staying in love with my spouse? Always keeping it real, honest and tangible. We must stay together and stay as one, so when our children and grandchildren look at us, they see us as a couple who love one another unconditionally, without regret or harm. Our marriage commitment will be our legacy. (Angie Dailey)
Don’t Follow Your Feelings
After thirty years of marriage, it wouldn’t be truthful to say I always feel in love. Some days the selfish me raises her ugly head, and I just want to be left alone. I get frustrated and can start focusing on the negatives in my mate which quickly takes the “in love” feelings and replaces them with the “out of love” feelings. The secret- it’s a simple truth. Decide. Love is a decision and so is staying in love. (Robin Allen)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “Be like Nike.” “Just do it!” has been the mantra in many areas of my life. During seasons when love is definitely not a feeling in my marriage (and yes, this is a real thing), “Just do it!” comes in quite handy. (Andrea Stunz)
Pour your heart out to God. It helps me to pray out loud with no one else around. I talk, vent, and ask God to help me see my spouse as He does. I say almost every day, “Empty me of me and fill me with you.” (Terri Fullerton)
I pray for my husband. This one shift helped move me out of the “fix him” prayer habit and into the “work in us” prayer habit. I see the good faster. I say the grateful more often. I believe, even though we are miles away from the life of my dreams, we are on the right road together. I default to believing in us. (Robin Lee)
When I’m not feeling it, I pray and ask God to give me a new, fresh love—stronger than before—for my man. (Robin Allen)
Next week, I will share more wisdom from these sage brides. The secret to a love that lasts can’t be contained in five easy steps; not even two posts can give us a perfect formula. I see a common thread in their advice—intentionality and a focus on Christ. Let’s start working on those two things in our marriages in order to build a love that lasts.
The secret to a love that lasts--intentionality and a focus on Christ. #stayinginloveClick To Tweet
#FridayFive Link Up
What is your secret to staying in love? I would love to hear it! Share in the comments or link up your loving post using the button below.
Come back next week to link up your posts. All shapes and sizes welcome!
Andrea Stunz has been married to Tommy for almost twenty-eight years. She shares her wit and wisdom at Empty Plate Full Heart.
Angie and John Dailey said “I do” twenty-four years ago. She shares her journey at AngieDailey.com.
Robin Allen married Rex thirty years ago. Read more from Robin here.
Terri Fullerton has been married to Doug for twenty-eight years. You can find her thoughtful insights here.