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My husband and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary! It doesn’t seem that long ago. We told a friend’s little daughter that we were celebrating our 40th anniversary, and with wide eyes, she gasped in disbelief! It was fun.

So the question some have asked, what makes marriage work?

I was raised by a single mom. “Do your own thing; you’re the boss” were words I knew. However, my husband was raised in a very traditional family — his mom mostly at home and a dad who wore his manhood well.

For me, the challenge from the very beginning has been submission. What is it, and how does it work? Marriage gave us many opportunities to flesh out our roles and responsibilities as a couple in the midst of our differences. It was hard, and I had a lot of growing pains. After 40 years, though, there are a few things that I know about submission.

  1. You must be selfless. To some degree, we all are selfish by nature, and with two selfish people it can even be an undeclared war. The lesson? Commit to denying self a little more.
  2. Learn good communication. I was not a good listener. I had a quick mouth that ramped up conflicts. A listening ear with patience is a good mix.
  3. Seek out a mentor. The deficiencies in my background were no excuse for me not acting like an adult. There were a few wise, older women who loved me like a daughter and served as mentors and coaches in my life. I gave them permission to speak truth into my life. They were there to lovingly correct and to encourage me to act like a young woman and not like a child. I made a vow on my wedding day, and I was held to it.

The point being, you make marriage work, by working on your marriage…and yourself.