The Secret Behind 60 Years of a Loving Marriage

The Secret Behind 60 Years of a Loving Marriage

She was only seventeen.

Young, strong and determined.

He was 19 and enlisted in the Navy.

But they were both in love and so they married. They soon started their family and were blessed with four children: two daughters and two sons. As he was quite the adventurer – bush pilot, missionary, and pioneer – their lives were never dull. And she was always right there by his side.

She looked after him. She stood by him. And she loved him through it all.

Eventually I met and married their youngest son and so I got to call them Dad and Mom too.

Now those two have been married for 60 years. SIXTY years. (Hard to believe, isn’t it?)

But it’s even better than that. They’ve not only stayed married….they still love each other after all this time.

Still snuggle. Still hold hands. And still kiss each other good night.

It’s like nothing ever changed.

Except that much has changed.

Because a few years ago Mom started showing the signs of Alzheimer’s. She grew increasingly forgetful, confused, and troubled. She got mixed-up and wandered. She no longer recognized many of us, including her beloved husband.

I asked Dad if it ever bothered him that she sometimes forgets him. Calls him, “That Man”. He just smiled lovingly, “No, because I will always remember her.”

We cared for Mom as long as possible, but that heartbreaking day came a few months ago when we realized we could no longer take care of her and found a Memory Care Home nearby.

And Dad cried.

We all cried.

Now every day he goes to visit her. He’s 80 years old and he drives over to see her – morning and night. He makes sure her clothes are washed, her room is clean and that she’s eating properly. The two of them sit in the evenings holding hands and listen to old hymns together because it calms her wandering mind.

Dad looks after her. He stands by her. And he loves her through it all.

The Secret Behind 60 Years of a Loving Marriage

So I recently asked Dad what was their secret of enjoying marriage all these years. Here’s his answer in his own words . . . .

1.    Follow Life’s Manual. We were saved a few years after we were married and then we had Life’s Manual, the Bible. We knew that we were to love one another as God loves us.

2.    Become a Great Forgiver. My wife is a great forgiver. Many times over the 60 years of marriage, the words would come from the heart, “Would you forgive me one more time?” and she would give me grace and forgiveness.

3.   Don’t Keep Score. Neither of us kept score of wrongs committed. We would take care of the problems and let the past be the past. We did not dig them up again, we left them buried.

4.    Cultivate Togetherness. We were best friends. We teased, joked, played, loved, and helped each other. Vacationed together, hunted, camped, and fished.

5.   Stay by His Side. We dreamed together, planned together. My wife would always yield if I wanted to move North, become a missionary, a pastor, home-builder. She was always with me by my side in everything we did – encouraging me to go for it.

Did we have some rocky times? You bet we did, but always we came back to Life’s Manual, the Bible, where we would read: Love one another as Christ loved you. Forgive as Christ forgave you. Keep looking forward and let the past be the past. Pray for one another and be kind.

Yes, it was God who kept this marriage together. We give Him the glory. ~ Donald L. Jacobson

A few days ago Dad and I went together to visit Mom. When it came time to leave, I stepped back as he bent over to kiss her goodbye—slowly and sweetly on the lips. A kiss I don’t think even she could forget.

A kiss I’m sure I won’t ever forget.

In His grace,

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyCheck out our NEW eBooks, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

*Matthew’s parents came to live with us over 15 years ago. Their lives and love for each other have been a testimony and a blessing to our entire family. We thank God for this dear, faithful couple. 

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Written by Lisa Jacobson

Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matthew L. Jacobson, literary agent and writer, and together they enjoy raising 8 children. She's also rather fond of dark chocolate, French press coffee, and deep friendships (though not necessarily in that order). She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. You can find her sharing her passion for husband, home, and family over at Club31Women and on facebook. Check out her NEW eBook: 100 Ways to Love Your Husband.

13 Comments

  1.  avatar

    Oh that is so beautiful. Marriage is a for better and for worse commitment. My parents were married 60 years this past August. Like yours they met and married very young, Dad was in the Navy, mom was still in high school but they have shown me what unconditional love is all about. They still snuggle when they go to sleep and banter back and forth with each other. I love it.
    You touched my heart today. Thank you.
    Kim

  2.  avatar
    Elizabeth says:

    What a beautiful love story our Lord writes!
    Thanks for sharing the ‘truths’ of a God-centered abundant marriage.

  3.  avatar

    This is absolutely beautiful! My dad passed away just one year before my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It has been so hard to see how it broke my mother’s heart, but I know it broke her heart because of the deep love she had (and still has) for my dad.

    Our love for our husbands preaches the gospel to our children and others who know us. My daughter often tells me how her friends’ parents don’t even seem to like each other, but how she thinks it’s so cute (or gross, depending on the day :) ) that her dad and I are so deeply in love with one another.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I won’t forget it!

  4. Jen Thorn says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. It has always been my hearts desire to grow old with my husband and still be in love. This was such an encouraging post because it is possible if Christ is kept at the center and selfishness fought against.

  5.  avatar
    Lisa East says:

    This is such a beautiful story! My own grandparents are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this week. I am so proud and so blessed to be witness to their wonderful, sometimes crazy, but always beautiful legacy of love, faithfulness, and service to one another. I thank God that He has given me the opportunity to be able to care for them and to be a part of their “story”.

  6.  avatar
    Kelly McFall says:

    I would say some of the secrets to staying married that long are to marry the RIGHT person for the RIGHT reasons-not because you are lonely, not because you’re broke and they aren’t, not because you’re ‘in love’, but because you LIKE them, you TRUST them, you enjoy being with them aside from physical intimacy. And you stay married because you made that commitment to, and you work at being married!

  7.  avatar
    Mary says:

    To hear you describe your in-laws is like hearing the description of my parents. Mom & Dad have been happily married 64 years and Mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. It’s been an extremely rough two months, but how God continues to sustain my precious parents is overwhelming. I am often brought to tears when I see my dad’s tenderness toward my mom. They would echo your father-in-law’s words, when speaking of the success of their marriage, “We give Him all the glory.”

  8.  avatar
    Karen says:

    I am catching up on old posts that came into my email when I was away in Scotland visiting my Mother-in-law in April.

    I read this one and it brought tears to my eyes, as in your words I re-lived the experience we had with my own Mother. Even down to not recognizing Dad any more, or my children. She confused me with my sister in photos, but knew me when she saw me. My Mom married Dad when she was 30, and Dad was 28, and they didn’t make it quite to 50 years before the Lord took her home. But that was after three years of devastating illness in which Dad stayed faithfully by her side through a year of struggles at home, followed by a year in hospital, and another year in two different nursing homes–the last one being in a building connected to their apartment.

    Their four children had the privilege of being with her for the last ten or so days of her life, and we took shifts so she was never alone for more than a couple of minutes. She passed away with my Dad and my brother sitting beside her. It was so little to give back to a Mother who had loved and worked and sacrificed for us for so many years. But I’m glad we could do it. We miss her now, but rejoice that she is with the Lord and no longer suffering here.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Know that you are not alone. May God give you the grace, (and her husband) to carry on.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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