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12 priceless lessons from 50 years of marriage

By: dalton blankenship

Fifty is a lot of anniversaries to celebrate. And it hasn’t always been easy getting here. These are a few things we’ve (or I've) learned that may be helpful to young marriages, those not so young, and perhaps those of you contemplating marriage in the near future.

1. Your spouse has no idea what you are thinking.

Really. You actually have to talk with each other. Out loud.

2. Date night is non-negotiable.

It may be the only time you can talk!

3. Discipline the children.

Make sure you agree on how, AND DON’T EVER BACK DOWN. If they see an opening, they will crash through and take over—and they never give back territory gained. Be friends when they are 21—not before.

4. Reduce TV time!

Or do away with it altogether. We turned it off seven years ago. With the exception of sports, we don’t miss it. What we’ve gained is precious time—together. You’re not together when watching TV. You’re simply in the same room.

5. Housework can—and should—be shared.

Both of you “work.” Both of you should make your house a “home.” It is so pleasant to see my husband vacuuming—and cooking. I tell him he does both “soooo much better than I do.” Dusting? Not so much.

6. Take vacations!

This is to be differentiated from visiting the relatives. I should not have to explain this.

7. Devotions are better together.

I would have gotten up at six, or five, had I known the impact reading the Bible and studying together could have had on our marriage.

I would have gotten up at six, or five, had I known the impact reading the Bible and studying together would have on our marriage.

8. Read other books together.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge—books by Andy Stanley, Clayton King, Perry Noble and countless others. We have learned so much about each other this way.

9. Read and obey Ephesians 5.

God has shown me what it means to live under the spiritual guidance of my husband when he is following Jesus and loving and supporting me in the same way Jesus loved His Church. God is teaching me to be a godly wife and has taught me how to relinquish control to Him—and to my husband.

10. Never, ever use sex as a weapon.

But have it in a way that is mutually enjoyable—and often.

11. Remember financial stability comes from knowing who comes first.

And it isn’t you, your spouse, or children (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)!

12. Be a man or woman of your word.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep and keep the ones you make (James 5:12).

Obedience is easy. It’s submission that’s hard. God has helped us work at our marriage. Marriage isn't easy, but it’s worth it. Even if you are in the middle of a difficult season, He can help you today. Be in it for the long haul. Together is better: you, your spouse, and God.

Oh, and husbands—never start a sentence with “My mother always….”

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