by Julie Jaunese
In today’s world I am often asked what it takes to have a marriage that has lasted 41 years. I can very easily answer that question. You NEVER say anything bad about your husband to anyone. If you are mad at your spouse, the only two people that can resolve the dispute are you and your husband. Your best friend can’t help, the person at the desk next to you can’t help, and your parents can’t help. Only the two that are married to each other can help each other. Too simple? How did I learn that, you ask? For the first 5 years of our marriage I let my husband know I didn’t need him. If there was a dispute I told him I could make my own way. I remember having a friend drop me off at my mother’s house before she got home from work when I was mad at my husband. I sat in her closet for hours because I didn’t want her to have to lie to him if he called, which he did. She said she hadn’t seen me, which was the truth. At a very critical time of our marriage, my husband finally told me that he wasn’t interested in having a second child because he was concerned I would leave and take our child with me. I did not get married ever thinking I would be divorced. I thought I was marrying for life. I took a vow before God to marry until death do us part. To be honest, looking back, I was playing a game to gain control. Sad thing is, he has always has treated me like a princess and didn’t deserve what I was dishing out to him. When I realized how my words cut him to the quick, I stopped using them for destruction and began using them for good. I can say that after 41 years of marriage I do not miss a day of telling Mike how much I love him. We still kiss like we mean it. He is my best friend.
Are things always sunshine and lollipops at our house? Is everything perfect? NO! We are not the same person and we aren’t interchangeable. We have different personalities and habits. We like different things. He likes sports but I grew up in a house of 5 girls. There is one thing we have in common. We both love the Lord. When you love the Lord, when you put Him first in your marriage, when you talk to the Lord together daily, you succeed in marriage.
Our daughter, Holly, talks about her high school years. Her friend asked who she would live with if her parents got divorced. She told her friend her parents wouldn’t get a divorce. Of course the friend countered with, “you don’t know what might happen.” Holly told her friend that there was no doubt her parents would always be together. How do you give your children that feeling of security? You never disagree in front of them. Even today, with our girls ages 34 and 37, my husband and I still take disagreements to the bedroom, even if our house is empty and we are only ones home. We sit on the bed and talk it out. Sometimes it takes more than a few minutes. Sometimes we have to leave the disagreement and agree to disagree. It isn’t always about winning or losing. You are in a marriage for life so if you want to win in the “big picture,” the little things do not matter.
When your spouse asked you marry them, you said, “I will.” Then at the wedding, the two of you made the choice to say, “I do.” Now the choice is yours daily. You can walk with the Lord as part of your marriage, you can say nice things to each other, you can DO nice things FOR each other, you can kiss like you mean it, you can understand that building each other up is more important than tearing each other down. Marriage is a bunch of choices and they all start with YOU. Begin each day saying “I CHOOSE.”
Mike and Julie Jaunese celebrated their 41st Wedding Anniversary on May 14. They have two daughters and two grandsons and are expecting their first granddaughter this summer. Julie writes her own blog at http://juliejaun.blogspot.com and leads Fabulous Fems and the Yada book club at Grace Family Church. She also works full time at Moffitt Cancer Center.