Jump directly to the content
Aug 15, 2013

10 Things I've Learned after 26 Years of Marriage

10 Things I've Learned after 26 Years of Marriage
Courtesy of Donna Stetzer

Today, Donna and I have been married 26 years.

We've been together for 30 years-- and two days-- since our first date was August 13th, 1983. That's a long time together by today's standards.

Here are ten things I've learned about marriage and relationships along the way.

  1. Marriage is worth the investment. Yes, it is and investment. I know that it is not always easy, but it is always worth it. I'm thankful for a strong marriage.
  2. You have to invest in a marriage for it to be worth the investment. It sounds strange, but it's true-- it takes continual investment on the investment. I've seen "perfect" couples—like some we knew in high school and college—get married, drift apart, and end up divorced. We did not. It's not because we are perfect, it's because we work hard.
  3. Choosing your marriage partner is the most important human decision you will ever make. I've seen many, many miserable marriages. And a big part of that relates to bad marriage choices. My wife was/is beautiful, but that's a really bad foundation upon which to build a marriage.
  4. Most fights are over stupid things that don't matter. When I was younger, I always wanted to prove my point. It's more important to prove your love. You do that by not arguing over stupid things. Note: most arguments are from stupid things.
  5. Most arguments are resolved when both people are more concerned with being in a relationship than with being right. I'm amazed at how many times I thought I was right. I had to be right. I had to show her I was right. And, let me say, that's just wrong. It's dumb. And it does not work.
  6. Sex is essential to a marriage relationship. It's not everything, but when you value and prioritize it, your intimacy impacts your relationship. Yet sex does not just happen. It, too, is something you work at. It's fun to do the work, though!
  7. Practices (like date nights, long conversations, and trips together) make your marriage stronger. Some of these are essential—you need a regular date night if you are married. If you can't afford dinner, you can walk in a park. You won't have a strong marriage if you don't act like you are married.
  8. Kids are awesome, but stress your marriage. I'm a pretty obsessive parent. I love my kids. I spend time with them. They are a treasure. But they also make marriage more complicated and stressful. Kids should know that your marriage is your first priority. The most important thing you can pass on to your children might be not be what you give them, but the marriage you show them.
  9. Never go to bed angry. Yes, that's true for everyone according to Ephesians 4:26, but stretching an argument into two days usually leads to stretching it longer. Then bitterness sets in. However, you can't really settle most arguments if you are not willing to just say, "Well, we can't agree, but we can forgive and move on." (See number 5.)
  10. You need Jesus. I started dating Donna because of her faith. She had shared her faith with the girls in her neighborhood, came to the Bible study I was leading in high school, and loved the Lord deeply. She still does. When we put Jesus at the center, everything else revolved around Him well.

I really love being married. Without a strong marriage, everything else in my life suffers. And I am well aware that such a marriage is not always so easy for many couples.

However, I learned that—in our marriage—I was the cause of many of the challenges and conflicts. Donna was the cure.

Either way, we have learned a lot. We are still learning. But, maybe you can be encouraged by our experience.

Related Topics:None
Posted:August 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.
or
Subscribe
or

More From This Blog

3 Things to Do to Guarantee You Won't Get Published: A guest post by Selma Wilson

3 Things to Do to Guarantee You Won't Get Published: A guest post by Selma Wilson

What does it take to get published? First of all, don't do these things.
Morning Roundup 7/31/14

Morning Roundup 7/31/14

Not Another Charity Case; Family Tree; Mental Illness
Introducing EvangelVision: A New Resource from Wheaton College

Introducing EvangelVision: A New Resource from Wheaton College

EvangelVision is a helpful resource for the both the veteran and the anxious evangelist.
Morning Roundup 7/30/14

Morning Roundup 7/30/14

Wikipedia Wars; Not Willing That Any Should Perish; God is NOT Good

Follow Ed Stetzer

Exchange Logo

Kelly Rosati, the Vice President of Community Outreach at Focus on the Family, joins Ed Stetzer on this episode of The Exchange to discuss civil and successful cultural engagement and Irreplaceable the movie.

Cast: Ed Stetzer

Tags: Kelly Rosati, Focus on the Family, Adoption, Marriage, Cultural Issues, Civility, Parenting and Culture Wars

Read ED Stetzer's Books

See All

Follow Christianity Today

Christianity Today
10 Things I've Learned after 26 Years of Marriage