by Pam Farrel
We recently celebrated our 40th anniversary. As a gift, our grown sons and daughter in laws, along with our five grandchildren, all contributed to a book they wrote on “40 Reasons We Value Your Lasting Love”.
Here are a few of our favorites, along with four vital choices we made, and we recommend so that you too can gain a lasting lifetime love!
Sit Face 2 Face
We love because He [God] first loved us 1 John 4:19 NIV
This verse was inscribed on our wedding gifts to each other. We knew going in, we would only succeed at long lasting love if God was kept front and center as the glue to hold us together. One of the less glamourous but most vital choices we made early in our marriage was to create a Marriage & Family Compass. This includes:
Marriage/Family Mission Statement– We penned ours about two years into our marriage inspired by a marriage conference for seminary students lead by Dr Norm T Wright.
Marriage/ Family Motto– We wanted a short phrase like you’d see on a coffee mug or T-shirt. Ours is “Those who honor God, God honors”, based on 1 Samuel 2:30.
Marriage/Family Moniker– This is a family crest. Ours has 3 L’s that stand for Leaner, Leader, who Loves God (what we prayed our children would grow into) Two hearts that stand for Farrels keep their promises, especially in marriage; and a cross with a star symbolizing that when you have a vibrant relationship with God, He ignites the God-given passion inside and you will “let your light shine” for God.
We also made a commitment to have a weekly “Monday Morning Marriage Meeting” where we pray, then discuss things like money, calendar items, work, family, finances, delegate tasks, make decisions together, etc.—the important business issues of a marriage. The Marriage Meet Up and the Family Compass were vital because we both came from very dysfunctional chaotic homes, we needed to be proactive and positive.
Walk Hand 2 Hand
I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2 NIV
An obvious tip on gaining a long-lasting love is you must live longer and stronger by treating your body (and your mate’s) as “a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19) Because we were both athletes when we met at age 19, and married at age 20, keeping active is a part of our love life. We have always enjoyed a daily prayer walk, hand in hand. We have supported each other’s exercise pursuits, but the real key is finding some activities you BOTH enjoy doing together. Some of our favorites are kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, biking, swimming, and dancing under the stars—or while waiting for an elevator!
Hug Heart 2 Heart
I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go… Song of Songs 3:4 NIV
We have cultivated romance. We kiss each other EVERY TIME we say grace. We put weekly date nights, a monthly day away, and twice a year over night getaways on our calendar FIRST! We even schedule “Red Hot Monogamy”!
Bow Knee 2 Knee
You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. Job 22:27 NIV
Prayer was a part of our relationship from the first moment that Bill first asked me out on our first date! We pray for one another and with one another. We pray, hug and kiss, when we greet and when we depart from each other. We pray over meals, over decisions, over family and friends, and over our failures and frailties. We wrap up in each other’s arms each night and pray and thank God for each other and one more day together.
Do you have hopes and dreams for your marriage? I remember a drive together as a newly engaged couple when one of us said, “We are years away from starting a family, but what will we want our kids to say about us on our 25th or 50th wedding anniversary?” We made a verbal list, then we prayed and asked God to fulfill those hearts desires—and He is!
What new habits or activities do you want to add into your marriage, your family to secure the future God longs to give you?
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Pam Farrel and her husband Bill are international speakers, relationship specialists, and authors of over 50 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make (which explains how couples can create their own Family Compass: Mission, Motto, Moniker), Red Hot Monogamy (with more than 200 romance ideas).
Their latest book is Marriage Meet Ups: A Planner for Couples Who Want a Productive, Passionate and Purposeful Life. Nurture your relationship and create more time for the happy-side of marriage, romance, and intimacy. Get and stay on the same page so you can move forward TOGETHER in unity. Strengthen your spiritual life together and draw closer to God and your partner.
Join the conversation: What do you do to keep your marriage strong?