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Marriage - Unbroken

Last Friday my aunt and uncle celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary. My own parents are on their 47th year, and this month, Alex and I will also celebrate an anniversary - our 17th year together. On occasion, it feels much longer but for the most part, it is as though time shot by us and here we are seventeen years later.

So in an age of quick divorces and short lived relationships, I guess you could call us odd couples.

In fact, I’m sometimes asked, “Between raising a child, holding down a demanding job, volunteer work, and taking on the minutia of everyday living, where do you fit in time to grow closer to your spouse?”

My secret is this - there is no time to be “perfect” in your relationship. Living is messy! And while I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of rosy, “peaches and cream” moments, a relationship - a marriage - requires work.

One thing I’ve learned is that a relationship is never static. It is always a work in progress. It seems that many couples I’ve met that are in rocky relationships feel that their lives are too busy and complicated for a healthy, happy marriage. I’m here to say that is just not true - there is always time to stay in love with your spouse.

I’ve learned that the simple act of saying "thank you" can go a long way in making your spouse feel special. Even when you don't think it matters, expressing your appreciation for everyday chores like making dinner, putting the children to bed, taking out the trash or even a single, warm hug at the end of a long day can make a world of difference to your spouse – and to you.

So my key to staying in love and building a long-time relationship can be summed up in one word – “appreciation.”

Did you think the word would be “love?”

Well, love is a given…, but appreciation for the person you’ve chosen to share your life with is most important. It requires that you “demonstrate” your love. It requires that you practice loving acts that encourage and strengthen your spouse, and quell the fears and insecurities he or she faces daily. In doing so, you strengthen yourself thus making even a few minutes spent together filled with the kind of quality caring that builds a lifetime of memories and unbreakable ties.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, even you... So, why would a spouse be any different?

Until next time – Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal

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  1. Great column, John Aaron!

    Thanks for sharing this great story and wonderful philosophy.

    God's Peace,


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