A walk to remember
A recent study showed a significant increase in divorces in those marriages of people who fall in the 40-60 age range. The survey didn't say WHY these people have a greater increase in divorce, but I have my ideas on why...
Career building, stress with kids, financial issues, mid-life crisis, and much more. Despite all that, divorce DOES NOT have to be imminent in your relationship! You really can make it. I just turned 40 this year, and I have been married 20 years. I am headed into the next 20 (just for starters) with all the vim and vigor I can muster. It's going to be a great couple decades ahead of me and I can't wait.
There are things that are a given in life...stress for one! Nobody gets a pass when it comes to stresses in life. We all have situations, circumstances, and challenges. With that, we can choose to put ourselves in position to see our marriage succeed. One of the ways Larry and I do that is by spending time together. We have three kids who drive us crazy sometimes. We have had financial issues in our marriage like anyone else. For over 3/4 of our marriage and ministry we basically lived on the poverty level. For the past 20 years we have not only been building a marriage, but a ministry from day one together. Some days I just knew one of us wouldn't be alive by days end. There were days we were convinced, "we made a mistake!" But we wouldn't turn back. Even with all that, WE KEPT SPENDING TIME TOGETHER. We have to stop and remind ourselves why we took that walk to remember down the aisle in the first place! Have we become parents? Yes. Have we become pastors? Yes. But first, we're still...husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs.
Second, we try to incorporate humor into our lives. Some days we were so down over something we had to purposely go out and rent a comedy from Blockbuster to get our minds off of stuff. But more often than not, we just kept a playful quality to our relationship. Marriage therapist Pauline Wallin, PhD says the following about humor as a tool in marriage: Humor does not mean the same thing as telling jokes. In a relationship, humor involves the willingness to suspend judgment, to appreciate irony and to recapture a child-like playfulness, which helps prevent stress and tension. It is the ability to both be funny and to appreciate your partner's amusement.
My husband often talks about "intentionalizing the process" in the church when he talks to our leaders. We've realized that in our marriage we have to intentionalize the process too. We have to intentionally spend time together, and intentionally laugh. It's worked so far for 20 years. Let's go for another.