I had to share this REAL LIFE example long lasting marriage and then give you my tips to get there. Because so many people are stuck in the superficial nature of relationships and have unrealistic expeactions of what marriage is supposed to be. When really, a real long lasting marriage requires work, compromise, and is no where near perfect.
And this is a lesson that I learned from my grandparents and they have been married for 55 plus years. As I lived with my grandparents for parts of my life due to my mother being in the military I have learned, it was not all easy, it was not all perfect, and everything did not just fall in to place. I think it is important for me to say that because in an age where people based their relationship goals off an Instagram picture or a Facebook meme, often times we lose sight of what real love is and how it should go.
As I know I have counseled so many couples on the verge of divorce who got caught up in the glitz and the glam of the wedding but they never thought about what comes after that. Once the wedding is over, the pictures have worn off, and you come back from your honeymoon; what is really going to matter is if you can stay married to this person through thick and thin. What really matters is if you can raise your family together and what really matters is if you reach the end of this life and you can look over and there is still that person sitting right next to you and loving you just like they did the first day. Not because it was always butterflies in your stomach when you saw that person, but because you CHOOSE to, because you did not give up, and because you chose to stay in love and to fight for love. And that is real relationship goals.
This is why I am going to give you tips for long-lasting marriage from people who come from a long-lasting marriage. My grandparents that have been married for over 55 years (it was a St. Patrick’s Day Themed party, that is why the green is overkill). The following are pictures 55th wedding anniversary, as my grandparents did not get caught up in the glimpse and glam and actually got married at the court house. So you see, what you do focus more on the wedding or the union to come and how you can enrich both of your lives.
Also, check out my video below that was inspired by my grandparent’s relationship below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel by clicking here.
Tips For Long Lasting Marriage ~ Tip #1 What Comes After The Wedding
Believe it or not, when my grandparents got married they went down to the courthouse to take their vows. They really did not have the money for a huge wedding. They were both from the backwoods of Alabama, grew up picking gotton, and wanting a better life for themselves and their future kids. They knew they could not have a wedding but they also knew they loved each other. And most importantly they knew they would do what was required to make their lives better for themselves, children, and grandchildren.
My grandfather joined the military during a time in which they were having a war voluntarily because he had wife to provide for. He served over 20 years and retired from the military and service in Viatman and Korea. There were times where my grandmother had to be without him and raise children without him BUT what she understood and he understood was that he was joining this career for his family. To have money, to have travel (as both my grandparents lived over seas), to buy a house that is now paid off and renovated. That is what comes after the wedding. How many people complain about not spending enough time, or conflicting work schedules. Can you say that to a couple when my grandfather was in a war and gone to Vietnam for a year or more at a time. They did not fall out of love because they both understood the purpose.
I am not encouraging people out there who do NOT have a wedding, but to let you know that a wedding does not make or break a relationship. It is so much deeper than that. When my grandparents had their 55th anniversary, they wanted to make up for the fact that they did not have a wedding. So I know that having a party to celebrate is ideal. BUT in the same token, to look back on how far they have come was the point of the celebration.
I have heard about couples to split because they do not have enough time together or some other superficial reason, without understanding that marriage is about compromise and seeing the bigger picture instead of picking every little reason to breakup for. I am sure worrying about my grandfather at war was not easy (on top of the PTSD that was untreated at the time) that came along with it. But that is the point. You fight! When you want something to work. Not just give up.
When my grandfather came back from war he had a alcohol problem for a long time. As a mental health professional I know that self medicating AKA drinking can be apart of the PTSD aspect. And even he had to work through that as he doesn’t drink now and my grandmother had to stand by his side. Because that is what long lasting marriages are made of. Not giving up on people for their imperfections.
A wedding is just a day and it is just a celebration. But a real long term relationship goal is to be sitting next to your spouse 55th years later AND many years after that. That is a feeling that would give you more joy than your wedding. Knowing that this person knows you better than anyone and chose to stand by you though the good, the bad, the ugly and the worry and still chose to love you anyway and to work with you through all of the problems. No one said the road is easy, but you understand that it is worth it if you are willing to make it worth it.
Tip #2 See What You Have Built
The most emotional part of my grandparent’s 55th-anniversary party was to see their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren there. There have been people who gave speeches stating that they got married because my grandparents were married and they aspire to have a marriage just like them. And I was one of those people. Apart from my speech, I said that I want to marry a man just like my grandfather and that their relationship was something that I aspire to have. He has truly shown me what a real man is.
I have always seen my grandfather as a father figure. He has three girls and my older cousin and I both lived with my granparents at times. My grandmother was VERY adament about my grandfather building a relationship with us. Not just being a man in the house that provided but had nothing to do with his children or grandchildren. He was an active part of our lives. Still is, he read to us before bed, took us fishing almost every weekend, and made time to spend one on one time with all of us and to build that relationship.
When you sit and see all of the children who are productive. None of them are on drugs, unemployed, or homeless; that is something to get excited about. To know that they came from being poor with no working inside bathrooms, that is something to smile about. And when you see a great-grandchild that is given every opportunity in the world, (to get on a plane or drive for hours to do so) that is something to smile about. That is building a legacy. When you can look back and see what you have built together as a couple.
You know that your relationship is goals when you have 3 generations behind you that look up to you and want to have relationships just like yours. My grandparents came from Alabama and were raised picking cotton in the field, but they did not want to sit in that slave mentality (see my blog here). They wanted something more and they wanted their descendants to have something more. They worked hard for what they have and they achieved their goal of building something great and doing it together.
So what am I saying. I am saying that getting married is beyond just coming together so that you can say I have a husband and he can say I have a wife. When I looked at all the people that both my grandparents have touched. People who literally said my life is changed because I met you and your wife. That is when you realize that your marriage is about something bigger and greater than yourself. And that you have made an impact on people that will last after you are gone.
Tips For Long Lasting Marriage– #3 Stay In Love
Even though my grandparents are in their 70’s they are still in love and they show each other love all the time. For their wedding anniversary, my grandfather upgraded my grandmother’s Mercedes. And during the first dance, my grandfather still bowed to my grandmother and spun her around (even though he walks with a cane), so that he could give her that special moment. That is love. Showing someone else loves to make them happy EVEN when it makes you uncomfortable.
For some people, it can get routine after 5 years. But that is only if you make it routine. My grandfather could have said, I don’t want to dance I am on a cane. But no, he thought about his wife and what would make her happy and decided to do something to make her happy. And that is something that each person has to choose over making excuses.
What my grandparents did is a reminder that you have to work at staying in love and to always remind each other why you got married. It is human nature to get tired of people and when you get tired of being married many people jump right to divorce. But there are times where you have to work through those problems and do the little things to show that person that you are still one unit. Those little things are what add up and when you want to give up you always have those reminders that the other person loves you. There were times when I saw both of my grandparents when I was younger that looked like they were tired of each other and like they did not want to love each other anymore. But staying in love can take work. It can take remembering why on Earth you fell in love in the first place. It should take you remembering your vows to death do us part and fighting to be a better husband or a better wife to your spouse.
Tips For Long Lasting Marriage – #4 Work through the Tough Times
My grandfather did about 26 years in the military. There were times where he was deployed in Vietnam, overseas, and my grandmother had to hold down the fort. My grandparents also lost a child (a boy) to SIDS. That was the only boy child they had, as they had three girls after. There were times that they argued and things were hard. But they worked through it.
Whenever you get married, there is no promise that says you will never argue or go through bad times. As humans, we have free choice. We can choose to work through whatever life throws our way or we can choose to give up.
To know that he had a mild heart attack and to know that there were times where my grandparents fought. To see them NOW it gives me the knowledge that whoever I am married to always fight for what I have. At the moment it may seem hard, but in the end, if you get through it; it is worth it. BUT the couple has to get through it and not comform to the easy options of a divorce of just breaking up because something is not working out exactly how they want. Nothing in life is like that and all wonderful things in life are aquired through hard working.
To whom much is given much is required. Luke 12:48
Nothing worth having just falls out of the sky with little to no effort, that is not an indication of a long lasting marriage and because people refuse to recognize that, they give up. My point of mentioning all of this is that if you want a long lasting marriage, not just these superficial relationship goals that we see pass on our timeline on social media only to be shocked that the perfect social media relationship you conveted broke up after a few months or years. That is because perception is not reality and what goes on behind closed doors is what makes a relationship last. Not hashtags or pictures that does not reflect a real relationship.
If you are in a marriage or a relationship, I hope that this post gives tips for long-lasting marriage and even more so that the REAL relationship is what you should strive for. One that stands the test of time.