If you’re over sixty, chances are you grew up in an era where you didn’t know too many divorced couples and the subject was taboo. Now your children are growing up in a world where marriages fail every day. If you don’t want yours to be one of them:
(1) Learn to show your love. Psychologist William James said, ‘The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.’ And if we don’t feel appreciated at home, there’s a good chance we won’t feel appreciated at all, because generally speaking, the world doesn’t fulfil that desire. The best thing you can do for your spouse and your children is appreciate them and love them—not based on their performance, but simply because they’re yours.
(2) Pay attention. Theodore Hesburgh said, ‘The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.’ And that works the other way around as well. A successful marriage is one that can go from crisis to crisis and keep getting stronger. Commitment, not emotion, is what carries you through. If you only intend to stay married as long as you feel like you’re in love, then you’re not truly committed to the relationship. Like anything worthwhile, a good marriage requires constant attention.
(3) Protect your time together. If you feel like you ought to be at work when you’re with your family and vice versa, something’s wrong. Call a family conference and agree on how much time you should spend together. If you prioritise and protect those times, your marriage will thrive.