10 Keys to 42 Years of Loving Marriage

My parents celebrated 42 years of marriage yesterday. I’m incredibly proud of them – especially knowing first-hand all they’ve endured to get there. The best part is that they’re thriving, still deeply committed and in love. I wanted to honor and celebrate them; but I also wanted to learn from them.

So I asked them to write out their secrets: “What are 5 things that have made your marriage last all these years?” They each responded in their own words below. (My dad is an old soul and very email averse; so he hand wrote his response and my mom typed it into an email. lol… ) As you’ll see in their responses, there is no doubt that this blog and our marriage is a direct reflection of them.


My parents: Denny & Glenna Frederick

I’m including a short section about each of my parents as well. It should provide a little more insight and depth to their writing.

My Dad, My Hero

My dad is a christian Psychologist specializing in depression, anxiety, sexual issues, and abuse. He even wrote a book called “Conquering Pornography: Overcoming the Addiction“.

My childhood was unique: imagine trying to get away with something when your dad already knows what you’re thinking and why you’re thinking it. He even taught my 5th grade sex-ed class…… THAT was fun.

Most of my life I’ve watched him fight daily in the trenches with people in very dark places. He would often come home weary and with battle wounds, but he always had enough left over to love his family well. For decades he’s shown people who Jesus is through word and deed. My dad is a healer of hearts and minds, all by the grace God and the power of the Holy Spirit. It has rarely been an easy task, but he’s served faithfully and gladly.

My dad is my hero.

His Perspective: 5 Keys to 42 Years of Loving Marriage

(Written by Dr. Denny Frederick)

1. Jesus.

Our Lord’s love and the Holy Spirit that continues to guide us and root us in what is eternal.

2. Common Goals.

To have common goals has always been important–such as raising godly children, accomplishing mutual educational goals, using our resources to help others, and traveling on new adventures, whether locally or abroad. Even in retirement we are working together for a common goal that we both have a passion about — such as writing, speaking, and recreation.

A lasting marriage always begins with an enduring friendship.3. Friendship.

We’ve known each other since junior high at church. Our love has always been rooted in growing together. I truly married my best friend and soul mate.

4. Believe in each other.

You have to believe in each other — not just for what they can do, but for who they are, through the rough times especially. The road has not been easy — there were many chances to get off track but when you believe in each other and are committed to marriage, you endure and resolve problems. This requires that you relinquish your own will and desires at times.

5. Quality time and communication.

Quality time and communication must be a priority. It takes effort and time and you have to work at it. It’s not obvious nor should it be taken for granted.

It is our goal to be an example to young people that marriage does work and as we are in the beginning of our golden years, we are truly excited and want to show genuine glory to our God.

When in doubt and none of this works, always go back to sex. LOL. (I’m kidding… kind of)

(Yes, those are my dad’s words. Gross. I get it, but gross. :) )

Just for fun, a pic with all of us. My brother Eric is on the right, I'm the youngest.

Just for fun, a pic with all of us (my brother Eric is on the right, I’m the youngest)

My Mom, My Friend

My mom is an educator through and through. She’s spent decades teaching high school kids english and a variety of other subjects. She’s currently a Junior High principal at Cascade Christian School in Puyallup WA. She continues to pour her life into younger generations for Jesus, asking for very little in return.

I grew up commuting (30+ minutes each way) to school with my mom–her going to work, me going to class. Only recently have I begun to recognize the enormous blessing that was. Every morning in our commute, we’d talk.

Nothing was off limits, everything was safe.

Our talks gave me the strength to face down peer pressure when I had no other incentive. Our friendship gave me confidence to tell the truth, even when it meant I’d serve hard time in detention. She showed me Jesus.

My mother is intelligent, wise, sweet, and loving. She is the rock in our family.

My mother is one of my closest friends.

Her Perspective: 5 More Keys to 42 Years of Loving Marriage

(Written by Glenna Frederick, Ed.D)

1. Keep Jesus first.

When a wife honors her husband she honors GodOur marriage began with Jesus and He has been the center through rough times and happy times. We have committed to serve Him and determined that He is the center of our marriage and family.

2. Understand priorities: God, husband, kids, work.

It is easy to get sucked in by the demands of a job – especially being an educator and always having more to do than time to do it. I learned early on that the nature of an institution such as a school is to ask and ask and ask and ask and after you do all the things asked for, not miss you when you are gone.

It’s so sad if the job becomes the main thing in a marriage, because when one leaves the job, one may find the husband or wife and/or children gone. Work would never honor the person like loved ones. It was okay to say no to work and be “all there” on the weekends. We still do that.

3. Allow each other to be and become the person that God designed them to be.

We got married after our junior year in college and we went to separate colleges. Denny committed to my mom that he would make sure I finished my Bachelor degree. He kept true on that promise and I was able to get my teaching degree.

We focused on his education first – him being the bread winner and all, and then, after our youngest son was ready for kindergarten, I was able to continue my education. He believed in me and saw the diamond in the rough. He supported me, pushed me, and picked me up when I felt defeated. He did not let me quit, but always sought my best. I credit who I am today to Jesus and to Denny.

Love is quick to apologize and fast to forgive.4. The best way to end an argument is to say, “I’m sorry.”

Own one’s wrong in a situation and commit to work it out. And then forgive. God forgives and has given us the capacity to do so as well.

5. Save the best for me, baby.

Who wants leftovers? In this world of commercial performances it is easy to get caught up in doing our best for appearances or other distractions. The reality is those whom we love deserve the best – whether it be the best china, the new dress, energy, a home-cooked meal – the man in my life needs me to be my best for him because he is God’s best for me. And the nature of this world is to take, and take, and take, and keep on taking, only to finally dispose of and leave empty. When it’s all said and done, “it’s you and me babe!”

I hope this has encouraged you and provided insight into what makes marriages last. I know I’ve learned from their seasoned wisdom – now and in the past.

Their biggest key: keep Jesus first, the rest will fall into place.

Questions for Denny or Glenna?

Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll make sure my parents see it (and they’ll likely respond).

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  • shauna

    I do have a question but first congratulations on a beautiful God honoring marriage. I have been married for 13 years and we have 6 children. What was said in Glenna’s #2 resonated with me. How does a Christian wife address a workaholic husband in light of 1 Peter 3:1. My husband is a Christian but is newer and weaker in faith and it’s application. Any suggestions or is the verse my answer? Thank you!!

    • Anna

      I have a similar question. The man I am soon going to be marrying is a bit of a workaholic. He is knows it and truly works to fight it but it is still there. How does a wife (or soon-to-be one) address that in her husband while still respecting him and help him grow out of it?

      • Glenna

        I recommend doing the same thing as I shared with Shauna….but don’t be afraid to have honest talks and share how you feel. I think too it is good in the context of what Denny said in point #2. Consider the questions, “what are your common goals? And how are those goals impacted by work?”

    • Glenna

      Glenna here — Thanks Shauna…I’d definitely follow 1 Peter 3:1…they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives… and pray continually. I have many friends who have prayer their husbands into vibrant, loving relationships with Jesus….and that has changed their whole family structure from the inside out.

  • Blessedxs8

    Great encouraging article! Love that your parents are still going strong! My husband and I have been together for 17 years married for 16 and have had lots of issues along the way. We have been together since I was 17 and he was 18 so pretty young. We got pregnant with our first child 3 months after we were dating (we did not get saved until about a year and a half into our relationship. So things happened pretty fast. We both came from divorced homes and wanted to make our marriage work because of that. This past year has been out roughest yet. :( I don’t know if it would be possible to ask a couple questions in private?…thanks for the article btw! Its a blessing and an encouragement to keep working at it. :)

  • Contented

    Love this! I especially appreciate Jesus at number 1. And I heartedly agree with your Mom on her number 5.

  • Kirsti Bogensberger

    I recently just got married and im finding it hard to explain why the order of loving is God, spouse, children. He already had a 3 yr old when we got married. I’m worried that I’ll become the housekeeper and babysitter… I think that since he already had a daughter when we got married he will find it difficult to understand loving a spouse before children.

  • I don’t know what to say except that this made me tear up and touched me deeply. Thanks so much for sharing – you all are making a huge impact… There are some amazing lessons here that I will draw on TODAY in my marriage! Thank you!

  • Troubled

    Lucky them! My wife and I work and live in different towns. After a spat sometime ago, she told me that she doesnt love me and doesnt trust me. Was shattered, still am, and honestly feel like giving up. What can I do to salvage my marriage?

    • Elma

      Dear Troubled, I do pray that your situation improved since then. My advice is to focus totally on Jesus, be in His Word and have your faith increased and your wounds looked after by Him. Hide under His wings. This will give you new perspective on your troubled relationship with your wife. God is your own Councillor and Advice-giver. You do not need to walk this road alone as long as you have Him. Choose good over evil time and time again (extremely difficult when confronted). You will get through this.

  • My first visit to your site from Tyler Ward’s email. How very cool site, hosted by very cool people. Pure delight. Thank you! Thank you for writing and putting yourself out there. Very nice site, with a nice touch of romance.

  • Pingback: Love Never Fails, or Does It? - Fierce Marriage()

  • Sylvia Melgar

    Thank you for this encourage article i learned a lot! Im not married yet but i pray for the day i will be a godly wife to the husband God has in store for me.
    i know honoring my husband i will honor God that s important for me.
    each day i want to learn more and more and be ready for my husband.

  • I definitely agree with a lot of your parents philosophies on marriage. Thank you for sharing them with us! Another important thing to remember is to always dream towards the future!


    Gina Reedy

  • Darice Ratzlaff

    Great points! GF#5 is my favorite.