We've been married 47 years so far. In a world where too many people we know experience divorce, we feel very blessed to be not only together but still in love. In fact, we enjoy being together all the time and have been asked our secret many times. For us, it's always looking for the best in each other. Each day we fall in love all over again because we focus on things we are grateful for. It's easy to focus on problems, what is negative or not to our liking. When we focus on what we appreciate, it makes such a difference. We've learned what we focus on gets bigger and stronger.
We have seven children, 18 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. We have gone through building several houses together, which many say can destroy a marriage. We have had financial problems, almost going bankrupt at one point. We have been through family conflicts, stress with children as well as death and loss. These experiences sometimes tear couples apart. We consistently look for ways to use each adversity to draw even closer together and be on the same team. But perhaps our greatest secret is we both have a strong faith in God. He is a partner with us in our relationship. We feel helped and guided many times.
We each dedicate ourselves to help each other feel safe and supported in the development of our talents. We hate being apart and adore each other. Perhaps going through all the trials in life we have been through has helped us to appreciate and love each other more all the time. Sure, we have disagreements and differences of opinion and perspective. We aren't alike in many ways. We find as we talk through conflict, we learn and grow from these experiences. We never intentionally hurt each other and are both able to apologize (and do!). We have a repair function in our relationship that works. Our relationship could be compared to a plant that needs constant watering and plenty of sunshine on a constant basis. It's so great to have years of romantic happy memories.
We go on a date at least once a week and have done this since we first got married. When our children were still fairly young, we couldn't always afford to go on a regular date and had to improvise. Our rule was, if we were together and alone, it counted as a date. Sometimes, when the kids were put down for the night, Dixie would make a special picnic and put it in a romantic basket. We would close our bedroom door and have our date in there, sometimes getting to watch a video.
Our favorite, now humorous, cheap date was unexpected. There was a time when we lived in the country and didn't have trash pickup. We had to take all our trash to the dump and so the bags really piled up (and with all the diapers, they really smelled). We would load up our van (our oldest child was just barely old enough to babysit for small periods of time so we could leave for about an hour), and take the bags to the dump. We would throw the bags as far and high as we could, laughing at the absurdity of it until our sides ached.
We tell each other we love each other every day, sometimes several times a day. To us, we still see the young man and woman we were when we met. Our romance is still there just as fresh as it always was. We look forward to eternity together.