How to avoid the 7 biggest deathbed regrets.

How to avoid the 7 biggest deathbed regrets. February 3, 2014

Today I had the privilege of sitting at the bedside of man who is nearing the end of his journey while holding the hand of the wife who has stood by his side for almost seven decades. After a lifetime of love and laughter, of trials and turmoils, of memories and milestones, it’s time for them to say “goodbye”.

Being in that moment with these two extraordinary individuals was surreal. It reminded me that this moment will one day come for us all. It’s important to think about the end, so that we will make the most of the present. That’s not just my opinion; that’s what the timeless wisdom of the Bible has to tell us:

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:12

Even if you’re blessed with seven decades together, it’s going to fly by! Don’t waste a minute of it. Here are some ways to make the most of every moment with your spouse so that when that moment comes, you can face it with no regrets. I believe these are seven things we’ll all wish we would have done more when we’re on our deathbed.

old couple hands

Photo courtesy of

In the end, these are the things we’ll wish we’d done more often with our spouse:

1. Be quick to forgive and to seek forgiveness.

Life’s too short to hold grudges and keep score of each other’s faults. Let grace flow freely in your marriage. It will lift a huge weight off your shoulders and theirs.

2. Don’t take each other for granted.

Recognize that every minute together is a gift, so treasure it. Don’t prioritize your hobby, your career or your possessions over your marriage and family. In the end, your relationships will be all that matters, so don’t wait until the end to make them your priority.

3. Laugh more.

Don’t take yourselves too seriously, but don’t take your commitments too lightly. Live life with conviction and purpose, but make plenty of room for fun. Laughter should be the soundtrack of your marriage.

4. Don’t hit the snooze button on your dreams.

If the two of you have dreams, don’t keep putting them off until “someday” gets here, because someday may never come unless you make it happen.

5. Realize that most the stuff you fight about isn’t worth fighting over.

Fight for each other, but never fight against each other. In every disagreement, remember that your relationship with your spouse is much more important than whatever you’re arguing about.

6. Remember that romance has no expiration date! 

So many marriages start out strong and then slowly fade until there’s nothing left, but it isn’t supposed to be that way! Through all the seasons of your life, continue to purse each other, love each other, encourage each other and treasure every moment together. If you’ve already fallen out of those habits, start today and begin again!

7. Realize that “Goodbye” doesn’t have to be the end.

As I prayed with this couple today, I was moved by their unshakable hope in Jesus and the peace their faith brought to them in that moment. That same hope can be yours, and I can tell you from experience, it changes everything.

For more tools to build a rock-solid relationship, please watch my video on How to have a Stronger Marriage and check out our bestselling book, iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage which is now also available for download on iPhones and iPads.

For daily encouragement, please connect with me on twitter.

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