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.
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 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)
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.
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. :) )
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.
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.
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).
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?