Last Updated on April 6, 2018

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.



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  1. I love that you stated how fun life is at your stage of marriage and life. I've been married for 7 years and we have 1.5 year old boy and a 4.5 year old boy. Life is so fun now and I'm so excited that we have so much to look forward to as a couple! Congratulations to you and your husband!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! Such great wisdom! Having a mentor who will give Godly advice is so important…I hope many will especially head that advice, I think that one is something women shy away from. Blessings to you!

  3. Julie McGrath says:

    I loved this. I am so indebted to my mentor for giving me an example of godly womanhood on so many fronts, including marriage!

    I would also add after 23 years of marriage, that it’s crucial to learn to “fight nice”. We work things out now with much more love and grace. We have learned that its much more fun to be married when you are securely in each others corner.

    We are for each other so when we have something challenging come up, we both know it is about the issue not about each other. We are not out to win!! I am my husband biggest fan and he knows it!

    Learning this lesson has been so helpful. Even with changes and challenges along the way, our marriage is sweeter than ever. I truly thank God for my husband.

    And weekly date nights are crucial! Laugh, hold hands and remember why you love (and like!) each other! My husband and I affectionately call date nights “bliss in a booth”. 🙂

  4. This month makes 15 years me and my husband been married. We have 5 kids ranging from 14 to 3 years old.Its been rough for the most part I wish I had a mentor when we first got married. I know God well see us though. It was so inspiring to hear your story. Mostly these days all you hear about is divorce. For the past to two months I’ve been listening to family life today and praying over my marriage and story like yours have been such an encouragment to me thanks.