I’m No Marriage Counselor (But I’m Celebrating 38 Years of Marriage)

| July 24, 2017

Our Marriage Advice (after 38 years of marriage)

Thank you for all the kind comments about our daughter’s cat adventures. I’m a little in mourning because Boston went back to his owner. He was an imperfect cat but he was more like having one of my own. Ruthie says hello to all her fans. We have just spent ten days together while mommy went to Guatemala to help missionary friends. Ruthie has been very talkative, rubby, and kind of running my life, so we are both eager for mommy to get back home.

Today, however, I’d like to write about a very different topic, as indicated by the title above…


My husband, Michael, is an over-the-road truck driver. He got asked by a woman if she could take him out to lunch to talk about her marriage, which is in trouble, she said. He apologized and said he couldn’t go out with her without me.

She later said to me (we have not met in person, but are FB friends) that she would love to meet me in person, and wished he could bring me along sometime. She said it seemed like we (he and I) had a really good marriage. So it was kind of like a cry for help, for marriage advice.

5 Reasons We Just Celebrated 38 Years of Marriage

Marriage advice? From me? Okay, deep breath, much prayer, and here goes. While there have been more bumps in the road than smooth sailing (and quite a few mixed metaphors, cuz that’s “real life”), I think I know five reasons why we just celebrated our 38th anniversary.

1.) God is Our Center

“God is in the midst of us. We shall not be moved.” God, Michael, and I are all together. All three of us are staying put. When Jesus asked, after many disciples quit following Him, “Will you also go away?” Peter responded, “Where would we go, Lord? You have the words of life.” God brought me to Himself before I met Michael, but Michael has helped me keep following Him.

2.) We are a Team

We help each other. Case in point: The automatic garage door opener slipped off the track. I had no idea how to fix it. He came home and made it work in about five seconds. Later, I said to him, “Why don’t you use the carrying case from your old tablet for your new tablet? It will still fit and protect it and your accessories/gear.” He had been trying to figure out how to transport the new stuff and this idea hadn’t occurred to him.

We both fail in making our lives work, in different ways, but we think of things the other doesn’t. We accept the other person’s advice, or just let the other person fix it.

3.) United Forgiveness

Whatever the problem in our marriage is, it’s out there. It’s not him. It’s not me. We don’t play a bickering blame game that drives us apart. Money, sex, kids, health — they are out there. We are in here, facing them together.

Sometimes you can’t differentiate between that person you’re married to and that thing he/she is doing. Yes, we wrong each other. But try to attack the wrong action, not the person. Hate the sin, but love the sinner.

As long as we can say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” we can stick together and work things out in love. The person has to repent, just like we repent to God over sin, turning our backs on it, saying it’s just as bad as God says it is, and walking away in the opposite direction. Forgive one another as Christ forgives you.

4.) Become One

Change happens all around you. But you two stick it out with each other, and that typhoon that’s bound to hit will have a solid rock in the middle of it for you to hang onto. I know some people can go through life alone, but once you agree to get into that whole marriage thing, two become one, and that one can be the best life anchor imaginable.

Years ago, we made a plan to get together and live in hubby’s truck once the kids were out of school. His aunt asked me, “This is going to be a very different life from anything you’ve experienced. Are you sure you want to do this?” We threw away or gave away most of our possessions, craft supplies, books, mementos, furniture, and in essence, the house itself, and took on eight years worth of gypsy existence. But my home is where he is. Not where friends or other family are. It’s with him. If that happens to be a tractor trailer. I’m on board. We were apart too much while the kids were growing up.

5.) Communication

Talk absolutely can help. We’ve had bad, bad problems with money, kids, sex; but we will never stay together if we don’t at least try to talk.

We are trying to make video productions. I provided a sample of audio work I had done. He listened, and he didn’t say anything. He got up and set up a different way of recording sound and tried to do it himself. I took it very personally and felt like a failure. But he finally explained that his engineering training demanded that if he discovered a problem, he was supposed to provide solutions. It was just him seeing a problem and trying to solve it.

I am a shy person, and an enabler who avoids conflict, so I don’t talk candidly enough, either. Some things have to be talked about, even if it’s only to reassure the other person that this is something to face together.

What Makes Your Marriage Work?

I’d be glad to know what makes your relationship work. Just making a list might surprise and encourage you. How do you get past the storms outside and inside and keep together? Is it one thing or a bunch of things? Please share with us.


mary findleyMary Findley

Mary C. Findley has poured her real life into her writing. From the cover designs inspired by her lifelong art studies to the love of pets and country life that worm their way into her historicals. The never-say-die heroes in her twenty-some fiction works are inspired by her husband, a crazy smart man with whom she co-writes science and history-based nonfiction. She’s a strong believer in helping others and also has books about publishing and the need to have strong standards in reading and writing.

Click here to find out more about Mary

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18 Comments

  • Reply Jessica Schneider July 24, 2017 at 7:18 am

    This is so good! I am so glad there are others in the world that won’t go out with the opposite sex alone. So many people didn’t/don’t understand why my husband and I don’t do it.

    Along with your ways, for us we play games together. I think it helps us in problem-solving honestly….and we laugh together! A lot! And lastly encouragement. My husband is my biggest cheerleader!
    Jessica Schneider recently posted…The Wonder Of Chasing SeagullsMy Profile

  • Reply Mary Findley July 24, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Thanks, Jessica!

  • Reply Stephanie ReadsWell July 26, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Awesome tips. All of these points sound useful to maintain a long-lasting relationship.

  • Reply KellyRBaker August 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Congrats on 38 years! Thanks for sharing how you make your marriage work. These are great tips. The bottom line for my husband and me is to remember that love is a choice. It’s brought us over so many bumps in the road.
    KellyRBaker recently posted…When You Need Support to Bear 3,000 ProblemsMy Profile

  • Reply Alice Mills August 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    One of the things that helps us is to have a no criticism rule. We communicate if we have things that hurt us, but we do not make comments that are critical of each other. My daughter recently told me that she did not realize how gently we spoke to each other til she was out on her own and heard how other couples spoke to each other.
    Alice Mills recently posted…Yes, God Wants You to be Happy.My Profile

  • Reply Mary Findley August 7, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Alice, it’s very true that many couples speak so harshly to each other. I also hate to hear women run down their husbands to each other. The culture does not teach us to value our spouses. Thanks for commenting!
    Mary Findley recently posted…Isaiah Chapter Two — Post by Mary C. FindleyMy Profile

  • Reply Andrea August 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I think you gave out the secret to such a long marriage right at the beginning – God being the center of it all

  • Reply Jennifer August 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing so candidly Mary!
    Yours is a marriage firmly set on the Rock. I can see your love and respect for one another in the way you describe your relationship.
    I appreciate your perspective from a “mature” marriage; it’s lovely to have someone share from this perspective with honesty and experience.
    My beloved and I celebrated our 38th anniversary this past June – it’s sometimes hard to fathom that we’ve been together our entire adult lives yet we couldn’t imagine life without one another or the solid Rock upon which we also stand as individuals and a couple!
    Thank you again, Mary (and Heather for encouraging this lovely author to guest post)!

  • Reply Terri August 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    These are awesome tips. I am so proud that your husband would not go to lunch with the lady alone, that shows he is commited to you
    Terri recently posted…Saving MoulaMy Profile

  • Reply Susan Evans August 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    “But try to attack the wrong action, not the person.” This is so true! The person feels condemned if they are attacked, but if you treat the person with honor, believing the best in them, and talk about the sin issue as something that is not a part of who the person is, they are much less likely to take offense.
    Susan Evans recently posted…SETECA Seminary, GuatemalaMy Profile

  • Reply Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) August 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    That is great advice, Jessica. Yes, communication is so key. Forgiveness is also of paramount importance. Thanks for sharing all of this. And kudos to your husband for refusing to go out to lunch with that woman without you along.
    Amy Hagerup (@amyhagerup) recently posted…How to Massively Improve Your Health with this PrincipleMy Profile

  • Reply Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven not Harvard August 7, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Jesus. Learning to be humble, serve, submit. It’s all been Jesus. We’re almost at 11 years.
    Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven not Harvard recently posted…How to know if you’re really Called to HomeschoolMy Profile

  • Reply Kristi August 8, 2017 at 11:47 am

    These are such wise words. I spent many years of marriage trying to hold onto my independence only to realize it will destroy it, if I continued to hold onto it. God knew best when he told couples to become one!
    Kristi recently posted…My Kids, My Sword, and My StoryMy Profile

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