I officiated a funeral recently for a man in our church and when I was asking friends and family beforehand to share stories about him, his sister said something of him that remains one of the highest and most beautiful compliments I’ve ever heard. She said, “He loved his wife more than I ever saw any man love any woman.”
What a profound legacy of love. I remember thinking, “I hope the same is said of me and how I loved Ashley at my own funeral someday.” (Ashley is really lovable, which makes loving her a very enjoyable task. I’m looking forward to the next 50 years with her!)
Ed Sheeran has a hit love song called “Thinking Out Loud,” where he’s promising that the love he has for this young woman will be just as strong at seventy as it is at twenty-three (years old). The promise of those simple lyrics is something everyone wants in their marriage, but too few couples seem to achieve it in real life.
I’m convinced that lifelong love, passion and friendship in marriage isn’t the result of luck, fate or accident. It’s the result of following the timeless path of love and marriage created and taught by God Himself in the Bible.
You may not be a person of faith (yet), but don’t stop reading, because these principles below could be a big help to you. They apply to all of us.
keys to lifelong love:
1. Invest in your friendship with each other.
At the core of every strong marriage is a strong friendship and it’s one aspect of your relationship that can and should grow richer and deeper with every passing year. Strive to not only love each other, strive to actually LIKE each other too! Couples who achieve lifelong love simultaneously achieve lifelong friendship with each other.
2. Be quick to forgive and quick to seek forgiveness.
Few things sabotage a marriage faster than “keeping score” and holding grudges and few things will bring peace to a marriage faster than humble apologies and genuine forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the offense didn’t hurt or it didn’t matter; it simply means loving your spouse enough to pursue healing instead of punishment when you’ve been hurt.
3. Keep dreaming new dreams and creating new adventures together.
Rudy and Judy are one o the happiest couples I know. Rudy is well into his eighties, but he has more energy than me! He and Judy refuse to just sit in rocking chairs taking in the Golden Years with ease. They teach dance classes, do premarital counseling for engaged couples, raise a huge garden of delicious vegetables, take cruises at least once a month, volunteer at the local VA hospital and they are always looking forward to some new adventure together. We could all learn a lot from them!
4. Choose to see the best in each other.
Nobody knows your flaws better than your spouse. They’ve seen at you at your worst, but they should also be the person who consistently celebrates the good and brings out the best in you. If you’ll both do that for each other, it will make a world of difference in your marriage though the years.
5. Create a legacy that will outlive you both.
The goal of marriage should just be to endure it like a lifelong prison sentence (I certainly hope that’s not how you’re looking at it)! Your love for each other should leave the world a richer and better place. Find places to serve and meaningful causes to start or to support together. Adding an element of “mission” to your marriage will bring you closer together and will also leave a lasting impact that will endure for generations to come.
6. Laugh as much as you possibly can.
Laughter is good for the soul, the body and the marriage! Don’t laugh at each other, but constantly look for opportunities to laugh with each other. Laugher is actually one of the most intimate acts a couple can share together. Even in hard times, find reasons to celebrate with gratitude and joy. It will make your life and your marriage a lot more fun!
7. Never give up on each other!
Remove the word “Divorce” from your vocabulary. Build your relationship on your unchanging commitment, not on your fickle feelings. The couples who make it last for the long haul aren’t the ones who never had a reason to get divorced. They’re simply the ones who decide that their commitment to each other will always be bigger than their differences or flaws. Never forget those sacred vows you made to each other, “For better or for worse, in sickness or in health, for richer or for poorer, forsaking all others, til’ death do us part!”
For more ways to build a lifelong love with your spouse, check out my bestselling book iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage and our brand new iVow Online Interactive Marriage Course (by clicking here).
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