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Wedding success for the long haul

Kitty and I were married in June, the fourth day, four-thirty o’clock on Saturday afternoon. It was a blissful day and the wedding was beautiful. Everything seemed to be perfect, just as Kitty had meticulously planned it. My future mother-in-law, Sara Harshbarger, made the bride’s exquisite wedding gown, the gowns for the three attendants and for the flower girl, Kitty’s sister, Stephanie, who was five at the time.

It was all so perfect in every detail. Could anything possibly go wrong? We did not think so and as far as we know, nothing did. We were two unlikely people to be marrying each other. Our backgrounds and occupations were so different.

Why do some perfect weddings finally crash, some within a few years, others 10, 20, or 40 years later? What keeps a marriage improving with the passing years?

It is not uncommon to read or hear of the perfect marriage coming apart at the seams and finally being torn to shreds. It happens to politicians, business leaders, top athletes in every sport, pastors, editors, doctors, coal miners, educators, carpenters, truck drivers, professors and among those who rise to the top and to the crowds whose marriages and lives exist in shambles at the bottom of the pile. Nobody is exempt.

If a marriage and a family are to be successfully held together, the building blocks must be painstakingly put together and laid on a solid foundation. The ideal marriage may be made in heaven, but it must be lived on earth with all its problems and filth. How can we do it?

1. Remember the attraction and love that brought you together in the first place. It can be strengthened and repaired. Losing a few pounds might help.

2. You may have looked forward to the night of the wedding when you could finally sleep together. Do so every night as long as you live.

3. Continue doing the things for each other you did during the courtship months and years that were so appealing and impressive. Such things as personal cleanliness, neatness, being a lady and a gentleman, opening doors, holding the chair as your ladylove is being seated.

4. Remembering to say, “thank you”, “please” and “I’m sorry” are still in vogue for those whom you love. I always feel good inside when I’ve done something nice and Kitty sweetly says, “thank you”, with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips.

5. More of us should choose an idyllic lifestyle. Live in a more peaceful, pastoral, rustic, simple and romantic manner. Wanting too much too quickly has spoiled many a marriage.

6. Do not live beyond your income.

7. Seek to live in the will of God. The Bible, among other things, is a romantic book that teaches more about love, sex, families and success than any book I have ever read. If you have any doubts, take the 30-day test. Read it carefully for an hour each day for 30 days. You will have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Among the hundreds of verses in the Bible that speak of successful marriages these two are in the book of Ephesians 5:28, 23: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” And “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Here is the key that unlocks the door to marital happiness and success, “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8). American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) wrote about love: “Our highest word, and the synonym of God.”

Marriage has worked for us for many years and gets more exciting all the time.

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