5 Keys to 40 Years of Marriage Together
On December 31, 2016, we celebrated forty years of marriage together. While the years have gone by so fast, we have experienced some long days.
We are both very committed to pouring into the lives of others. While reflecting on our forty years together, we thought that sharing some of our journey might encourage others.
We want to highlight five keys to our forty years of marriage together.
1st Key: COMMITMENT
Marriage is based upon a commitment to God and one another. It is not based solely upon the emotion and expression of love. For us, it has always been a commitment to God that has moved us forward through marriage.
While we have gone through the transitional storms of marriage through the years, we have never considered giving up, walking away, or having another relationship.
Our commitment to the covenant of marriage before God far exceeds any personal struggle we have faced together.
2nd Key: RELATIONSHIP
We have refused to be two people who just live in the same house and had little to no relationship with one another. There have been moments this could have easily occurred, but our commitment to the marriage covenant demanded more from us.
We both believe the most important relationship in life is not the one we have together, but the individual relationship we each have with Jesus Christ. For years, we have believed that the closer each of us personally gets to God, the closer we will be to one another.
This is a major reason each of us begins every day with God. Our personal time with God is a non-negotiable in our marriage.
3rd Key: PARTNERSHIP
Due to our maturing relationship together, we have lived life as partners. We have not gone our separate ways and then met up every now and then. We have lived life together. We do not have “his days” or “her days”, but “our days.”
We have been partners not only through marriage, but also in parenting our two children. While our schedules may have taken us apart most days, we always prioritized our marriage and family time together. In our life today parenting has changed, but we now walk through the fresh new challenges of grandparenting our seven grandchildren.
We also partner together through ministry. For the past thirty years, we have served the same church together. While at times, Ronnie may be referred to as Pastor, Pastor Ronnie, or Dr. Floyd and Jeana as Miss Jeana or just Jeana; the people of Cross Church mostly refer to us as Pastor and Jeana. They do not see us separately, but together.
4th Key: TRANSITION
Transition is inevitable in life and marriage. No one and nothing ever stays the same. We have gone through the transition that all couples go through in learning to live together. While that may have seemed larger than life when we first married, looking back, it was quite simple.
In our forty years together, we have had to navigate through the transition of many things, a few of which are:
- Parenting two children and grandparenting seven children.
- Parenting and pastoring full-time churches, driving back and forth to seminary, and Ronnie earning both his masters and doctoral degrees.
- Jeana diagnosed with cancer at 35 years of age, having surgery and ongoing treatment for a period of time.
- Experiencing the victories, defeats, disappointments, and setbacks of local church ministry and leadership through forty years of pastoring, with thirty years being in the same church.
- Jeana lost her Dad, and Ronnie has lost both his Dad and Mom to death, but all three are in heaven with the Lord.
- Jeana caring for her almost 93 year-old mother, working diligently now to see her transition from Texas to Northwest Arkansas.
- Ronnie serving in all kinds of leadership capacities well beyond his pastoral duties at our church, from matters in our nation to serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This list could go on and on, but we have highlighted only a few of these transitions. Yes, transition is an ongoing part of life. We have handled these transitions well due to our commitment to our covenant of marriage, our relationship to God and one another, and our ongoing partnership in marriage, life, family, and ministry.
We have discovered that we cannot stop transition or even deter it. The only thing we can do is respond to it as it comes our way.
5th Key: INTIMACY
We belong together. Even with our unique tendencies and definite weaknesses, it is more than obvious to each of us that God has willed us to be together. Marriage is not always intimate among couples, but our marriage is an intimate relationship we only share together.
Years together has not ensured our intimacy. But we are both convinced that our lifelong commitment to live life together has soared our intimacy with each other. This is why we can share with you that after forty years of marriage, we are more in love with each other today than ever before. Each trial, setback, disappointment, struggle, and challenge we have ever experienced in our marriage has never been greater than our love and forgiveness practiced toward each other through the years.
We love marriage and we love being married to one another. As we have celebrated our fortieth marriage anniversary together, we have done so in humility before God and others, knowing that we are what we are and we are where we are by the grace of our great God.
He has seen us through. He can also see you through.