Have you ever seen a couple that’s been married for 30, 40, or even 50 years and wondered how they kept their love alive through the years? Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley share practical ways you can begin to cultivate life-long love in your marriage today.
Erin says that one of the ways you can cultivate life-long love is through humor.
“A sense of humor is so key. This is something that I believe has made the sweet time sweeter and the hard times more tolerable. Couples who have been married for 50, 60, or even 70 years are saying that you’ve got to have a great sense of humor because it influences you as an individual and it also influences the overall tone of your marriage. Even when things are hard, we’ll definitely get a good kick out of something.”
It’s important to understand that you don’t have to be a comedian to inject some humor in your marriage. Greg explains,
“Laughter creates a safe environment within a relationship. Not being laughed at, I’m saying genuine laughter. You don’t have to be a comedian. If you’re willing to be playful, it’s the same kind of thing.”
Another way you can cultivate life-long love is by nurturing your friendship with your spouse. Erin explains the importance of friendship with your spouse.
“Whether or not you think your spouse should be your best friend, the basis of your relationship was built on friendship. That’s how you got to know each other at some point, you were friends. That’s what will carry you through, especially in the difficult times. It’s important to realize that there has to be some sense of friendship in a marriage relationship.””
No matter how strong your marriage is, it doesn’t mean you’re immune from disagreements from time to time. That’s why Erin says another way you can cultivate lasting love is by learning to work problems out as a team.
“When you’re not approaching your marriage or your spouse as your teammate, you can unknowingly approach him or her as your enemy. That is never going to get you where you want to be relationally. It’s key to recognize that you’re in this together. You’re making decisions together and you both matter. You’re letting your spouse know that you matter to me as much as I matter to me.”
Which of these practical tools can you use today to inject some more love in your marriage?
Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family. In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. He also serves as a media spokesperson on these matters.
Erin Smalley earned a bachelor degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. She worked as a labor and delivery nurse for 8 years prior to going back to school for a masters degree in clinical psychology at Evangel University in Springfield, MO.
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