My husband’s favorite verse is Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” I like the very next verse, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” These two verses sum up our marriage nicely.

He has desires, and I need help.

My husband and I are celebrating our 30th Anniversary today. Celebrating might be a little strong. He is at work, and I am at home…doing things.  If I am being honest, it’s not that hard to believe it’s been thirty years. We have been together longer than we haven’t, and sometimes that is painfully obvious. I love being married, and I think I can say we have both learned the meaning of the word endure.

The dictionary says endurance is withstanding hardship, the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort, and the power of enduring a difficult process without giving way. Let’s be honest, unless you are a Disney princess those definitions sound like marriage some days. We made vows on our wedding day to withstand hardship and not give way. We made a promise to endure for better or worse, and I can’t help it if that meant someone might get a suitcase of clothes thrown at them on vacation.

Marriage is sometimes described as being just like a marathon. You know, ups and downs, hard work, and then exhilaration when you cross the finish line. I’ve never really understood that comparison. I don’t remember putting in months of training before entering the race (although I probably should have), and what does the finish line represent? Am I dead?  Is marriage just endless, painful running until I die? Please point me to the rescue van.

Enduring marriage is not the same thing as having a marriage that endures.

I think marriage is more like the training you should do before a marathon. Take care of yourself and your spouse and put in the hard work so that when you have to run life’s nasty races, you are prepared. We have all been witnesses to couples who have had to run some awful marathons. But somehow, they come out together at the end. They have a marriage that can endure.

I’m pretty stubborn. I think I could endure marriage until the end. But since I hate marathons, literal and metaphorical, I would rather put in the work so that my marriage endures. Alistair Begg has a list of principles to help prevent marital failure.  It’s better than any Pinterest list you will find.

  1. Don’t be foolish and think it can’t happen to you.
  2. Don’t assume that a great marriage doesn’t involve a lot of hard work.
  3. Don’t allow the busyness of life to disguise neglect.
  4. Don’t take each other for granted.
  5. Don’t dig up old failures or past disappointments.
  6. Don’t compare your spouse to someone else.
  7. Don’t take the opposite sex into precincts that should be exclusively for your spouse.
  8. Do not allow the freedom that breeds neglect.
  9. The health of your marriage depends on daily prayer.
  10. Make sacrificial expressions of love. (Emphasis on sacrificial).
  11. Be imaginative, daring, and extravagant. Righteousness does not mean boring.
  12. Don’t use children as the glue that holds you together.
  13. Be ruthless in resisting anyone or anything that comes in between you and your spouse.
  14. Listen to and be willing to speak about what is going on in your mind.
  15. A great marriage is possible with divine intervention.
  16. Time is passing quickly. Seize the day!


I saw a little old man and woman being interviewed on television once. They had been married for 70 years and were asked what their secret to staying married was. He answered, “Stay alive, and don’t divorce.”

All joking aside, that is the commitment I made when I got married, so I am determined to have a marriage that can endure another thirty years. And I wouldn’t want to endure it with anyone else.