How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage {22 Years Later}

How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage

We somehow found ourselves at the top of the mountain.

A romantic impulse, I suppose. But it was a week-end and we were heading back home when he suddenly steered the car up the road to Timberline Lodge at the top of Mt. Hood, Oregon.

A small detour up into the snowy peak.

Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood

When we arrived at the grand historic Lodge, however, we found ourselves in a long line of cars and the parking lot appeared to be closed. We inched our way up to the grumpy parking attendant who looked as though he had been standing in the cold for far too many hours.

His explanation was brief: “Sorry, no chance. Nothing open with a ski race and two weddings going on.”

Honestly? You won’t let us up there?

“Nope. Can’t do it.” And he motioned for us to move along.

My husband – never one to give up easily – pressed him: But what if we recently celebrated our anniversary up here?

I leaned over to the window, “Yes, and we had one of our first dates here.”

He remained unmoved.

Then for some reason, I impulsively added, “And we’ve been married for 22 years now.”

Surprisingly, the man’s hard lines softened right before our eyes. “Really? You two have been together for over 22 years?”

Yes, sir, we have. Happily.

And we watched him mull it over.

Then finally, “Well, I never do this, but you can park directly in front of the lodge. It’s reserved for special guests . . .and this sounds pretty special to me.”

Special.

Never thought our years together would qualify us as special.

But, yes, by God’s grace, we’re staying true to our vows. We’re committed to this marriage for the long haul. Not always an easy climb, but oh, so worth the effort.

How to Build A Loving, Lasting Marriage

How to Build a Loving, Lasting Marriage

Give each other grace during the difficult seasons. At some point, one or both of you will likely face illness, financial pressure, job loss, or grief. Decide now to ride out these hard times together. Support one another as much as possible. You can’t let these trials determine the rest of your relationship.

Don’t let the cares of this life choke out your love. People get busy, distracted and worn-down, letting their love life slowly fade away. But don’t let that happen. We regularly call a “time-out” where we put the pressures of our lives aside and focus on our relationship together. Reminding ourselves that we love each other and enjoy being together.

Be willing to seek help when you need it. Maybe you need prayer or another godly perspective. Ask for it! Don’t let things get too far down before reaching out for help. That’s the beauty of the body of Christ – you should never be left to solve everything on your own.

Focus on how you want this to end. Whenever I see Matthew’s parents holding hands in church and sharing a songbook together? I say to myself, “Yes! That’s what I want. What they’re enjoying after 60 years is what I want for us too.” My desire is for our children – and our grandchildren – to be drawn to our story when we’re old. I want our love to be contagious.

After parking out front, my husband and I went in and walked around the lovely, old Lodge, holding hands and reminiscing. Oblivious of the swarming skiers and wedding guests. We quietly curled up in front of the massive fireplace where we first sat together and remembered what we realized that evening so long ago.

God meant for us to climb this mountain together.

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~ Matthew 19:6

In His grace,
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The Flirtation Experiment

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