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Ways to Make Our Marriage Last: Doing It Right

Over our 41 years—and counting—of making our marriage last, I spent more time doing things wrong instead of right. At first, I came across as a real gentleman by doing the little things like opening doors, putting Kath on the inside of me on the sidewalk, really listening to her, and talking for hours. With all these things, I stole her heart; however, almost immediately after the wedding, the listening and the talking were over, which left her isolated as I went to other places for my relationships, even to other members of the opposite sex. It took me 27, mostly disappointing, years to grow into the man Kath thought she married. When the boy I was became a man at 47, it was time to step up my game and put a stake in the ground, not just for our marriage but also for our kids and grandkids. They needed to see godly marriage modeled, especially by me.  

A little after the 27-year mark in our marriage, a friend asked me to start reading the Bible, just one proverb a day. I didn’t know the book of Proverbs had 31 chapters, and I didn’t know either where it was located in the Bible or who wrote it, but it seemed doable, so a few weeks after his recommendation, I ran it by Kathy to see if she’d do it with me. To my surprise, her answer was “yes,” and since then she has shared multiple times, if not hundreds to thousands of times, that it was the sexiest thing I’d ever asked her up until then. (Did you hear that, Fellas? She was waiting for it and didn’t know it. Is your wife waiting for you to ask her?) Reading the Bible is something we started in 2009 before we were believers, and we still do it today. We started with Proverbs and then moved to Psalms and the Gospels. Of course, by now we have done multiple studies, read the entire Bible over 15 times, and have taken a one-year Bible class together called Porter Brook, which the pastor equated to “seminary JV.” Reading the Bible together has made us stronger as a couple because it feeds us daily. It all started with one chapter of Proverbs. Where could you start? 

After reading the Bible together, the biggest upticks in our marriage happened when we started praying together and inviting the Lord into our marriage daily. These two things have created an intimacy we never thought possible. We also model prayer for other couples, as we both realize that getting over the hump can be hard without the right encouragement. We try to make it simple; James 4:2b says that if we do not ask, then we won’t receive, so asking is kind of important. 

When we first started praying together in bed at night, it was all me, until one night, about 10 months into it, Kath said, “Hey, at the end, before you say ‘Amen,’ would you give me a few seconds to pray?” I was amazed, and we’ve prayed together, almost without missing a day, ever since. Husbands, you need to lead this, and for some of you, it may be uncomfortable. It gets easier. Wives, you need to encourage your husband to do this because the benefits to you both are simply too many to write out, but I will give you three.

First, you honestly can’t imagine anything better than inviting Christ into your marriage daily, thus having a Christ-centered marriage and modeling one at the same time. You have no idea how deep the impact can go in your family, even to family not yet born. Second, the two of you get to experience the presence of the Lord together. You are not alone when you pray. Holy Spirit is right there with you. Third, praying together lets you hear each other’s heart and concerns on a daily basis, which does wonders for communication.

Let me offer another word of advice. When you pray together, thank the Lord for each other out loud. It is so wonderful to hear that. Many husbands, long-married believers, have said that they tried it, and when I asked how their wives responded, many of them say that they cried happy tears.  

Once you start creating this closeness with the Lord and with your spouse, the other intimacies—dating, talking, activities you do just because your spouse likes them, sex—just get better. Don’t miss the last one. Did I say “sex”? Yes, I did. I did say “sex.” God created sex. It’s a good thing. After more than 30 years of marriage, we finally started talking about it, and it is now almost a daily topic of conversation for us. More importantly, it’s an amazing activity as well. And it all started with reading the Bible together to make our marriage last.