I am convinced that we, as Christ-followers, need to celebrate Biblical marriage, especially those unions that have survived for many years. It really is a big deal for a man and woman to reach the celebratory milestones of one anniversary after another. Lasting marriages are rare today. God’s institution of matrimony is being attacked by our society’s attempts to redefine and devalue marriage. Staying married is not an easy task for anyone; so, I believe that when a couple on the brink or in the prime of their golden years observes a landmark wedding anniversary, we need to party!
On August 27, 1966, my parents – Bill and Linda Moody – tied the knot at West Paris Baptist Church, Paris, Tennessee. One of the Lord’s sweetest blessings upon my life has been Him allowing me to sit in a front-row seat and watch my parents’ tender, 50-year love story. Mom and Dad did it! Through the ups and downs, the highs and lows, they remained committed to the vows they pledged at the altar in 1966, and by God’s grace – and, in just a few days – we will be celebrating their Golden Anniversary!
As I reflect back upon my parents’ relationship, I clearly see three factors that have fortified, enriched, and lengthened their years together as husband and wife.
How to Stay Married (to the same person) for Fifty Years:
- Focus on your mate’s good qualities.
I’ll never forget the “come-apart” experience I had when I was newly wed. After a few weeks of trying to adjust to married life, I was a bit “put out” at my better-half, Rusty. I remember trying to talk to Mom about my list of marital, unfulfilled expectations. Immediately, before I verbalized any complaint, she interrupted my ranting, and made this comment, “Candise, you’ve just got to change your focus. Rusty and your dad, they are not perfect; but their good will always outweigh their bad.” I’ve thought of her counsel so many times. Mom and Dad have done just what she advised; they have focused on each other’s good qualities, not their less-than-perfect qualities. And here is what I have noticed over the years, even in my own marriage, … when we divert our attention to our spouse’s positive attributes, then our list of our spouse’s flaws grows shorter and shorter … and then after fifty years of looking at our spouses through aged lens of love, we can only see how perfect they are, in every way.
- Say “I love you” in as many ways as possible.
Neither of my parents are multi-lingual, but they have learned to tell each other I love you in countless ways. My dad sets the bar high in this area. For over five decades, he’s been affirming his love for Mom. I don’t think there has ever been a Valentine’s Day that he didn’t bring home a heart-shaped box of chocolates and extravagant card for my mom. (After all, their first date was on Valentine’s Day, and he had a heart-shaped box of chocolates for Mom that day, too. So she tells me.) Whether it was raising and selling turnips to buy Mom’s Christmas gift – the fancy red blouse from the boutique downtown; bringing Mom a Diet Cherry Coke (with nugget ice) from the convenience store; embracing her with a spontaneous hug and kiss; tending to the list of honey-do’s, or leaving her a mini-loveletter inscribed on a Post-It, my dad has mastered many languages that articulate to my mom his love for her. I see the power of this loving communication between the two of them, and it would behoove all of us married folks to implement the “tip” of saying I love you to our spouses in a variety of ways.
- Make your Heavenly Father the supreme love of your life.
I’m convinced, my friend, that this is the foundational component of enjoying a marriage that lasts a lifetime. As much as my mom and dad love each other, there is a sure, never-failing display of their supreme love for their Heavenly Father. For fifty years, their marriage has been much like the design of a triangle. (Yes, I know; you have likely seen this analogy; but, oh, it is so good.) My parents have been blessed with a Divinely-magical marriage for fifty years because they have both chosen to love God more than each other. As their love for God has grown, their closeness as a couple has intensified. The triangle below illustrates this. The greatest love between a husband and wife can be generated only when each partner loves God supremely and pursues a closeness with Him.
There are no words to describe my gratitude to the Lord for letting me be the child of Bill and Linda Moody. I can never thank God enough for orchestrating my life to be seated within the VIP-section for the unveiling of their beautiful, God-honoring, 50-year love story. The list of what I’ve learned from watching Mom and Dad’s commitment to love and to cherish is endless. But at the forefront are these three contributors to the longevity of their (and any) marriage. For those of us wives who have said “I do,” for the husbands who have committed to leave and cleave, let us be mindful …
Focus on our mate’s good qualities.
Say “I love you” in as many ways as possible.
Make God the supreme love of our lives.
“ … the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:13
Dear friend, my parents are not likely to see this blog until I choose to show it to them. We would love for you to help us celebrate by showering them with cards and notes of blessing. If you’d like to wish Mom and Dad a happy anniversary, please mail them your congratulations to
Attn: Moody Anniversary
6785 Elkhorn Road
Springville TN 38256
Thank you so much! God is so good – so very, very good!