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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Advice from a Man on His 30th Wedding Anniversary

Advice from a Man on His 30th Wedding Anniversary: 30th 2

My lovely wife and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage this week. ... We are continually amazed at how each year finds us closer and more in love than the year before, and although it is hard to imagine, we both feel that the best years of our marriage are yet to come. That's how I think it should be. ...

So is less sex, more fights, poorer communication and drifting apart really the inevitable? With a nod to the movie Date Night, is it really just a matter of time before couples settle for becoming just "excellent roommates?"

I say no!

Whether you have been together six months or six decades, it is possible to see your future as one filled with excitement, passion and great potential. I would like to share with you a few key principles that my wife and I have discovered as we have endeavored to keep our relationship vibrant and fresh over the past 30 years.

1) Look at Your Past Thankfully
Stay in awe of your spouse, the love you share and the life you have built together through good times and tough times. Remain thankful for who your spouse is, and remind yourself of the reasons you were drawn to him or her in the first place. Gratitude keeps you focused on what is good in your relationship and helps keep resentment from building up. ...

2) Look at Your Future Expectantly
It is great to fondly reflect on the good times of your past, but it's not healthy to fixate on some idealized notion that things would be better if you could somehow go back to how it used to be. Instead, choose to believe that the best is always ahead of you. Whether you have been through rough patches or have sailed through blissfully, expect your future to beat anything you have had before. ...

3) Look at Your Spouse Selflessly
If you have a habit of holding your spouse responsible for your happiness, you definitely need to learn to take that responsibility upon yourself. However, remember that if you view your marriage as being mostly about your rights and what you get out of the bargain, in the long run you are going to end up bitter and disappointed.

On the other hand, if you see your marriage primarily as an opportunity to selflessly love and generously serve your wife or husband to the best of your ability, you will the reap long-lasting benefit of a strong and close relationship. ...

4) Look at Your Self Realistically
It pays to have a sober view of your self, being neither overly harsh nor blind to areas you need to work on. ...

5) Look at Your Relationship Frequently
Watchfulness keeps you from becoming excellent roommates. It requires you to keep your eyes and your heart wide awake to all that is going on in and around you. Consistently ask questions like "how are we doing?" and "is there something more you need from me?" ...

6) Look Up Continually
This is the last of the six principles, but for my wife and me it is also the most important. We are made up of body, soul and spirit, and we are careful to keep the spiritual component of our marriage front and center, which means we keep the future of our marriage in God's hands.

Whether you know him personally or not, God is for your marriage. He wants you to succeed. It is his desire that your relationship stay strong and endure long, and not just because you both made a lifelong covenant before him, but also because he wants your marriage to be a source of joy and strength, passion and love. ... Keep your eyes focused on him, trust in his plans for the future of your marriage, and believe that he has great things in store for you.

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As a body & soul seamlessly comprise one human being, so should a husband & wife comprise a marriage.

Posted by: Christian | Jul 8, 2012 4:54:24 PM

"Stay with me while we grow old, and we will live each day in Springtime."

Posted by: Christian | Jul 8, 2012 5:05:54 PM

The key to a good marriage, or perhaps any relationship, is the expectation of change. People who expect to be married to the same person they started with get divorced. People who see it as an ongoing process are much happier.

Posted by: michael livingston | Jul 8, 2012 9:50:37 PM