Thoughts from My 50 Years of Marriage

I've been married 50 years. Let me share 5 important elements of a healthy marriage. All but one apply to all relationships.

Published September 4, 2020:

Tomorrow is my 50th wedding anniversary. Due to Covid, my husband and I will be spending our special day quietly at home, but I didn’t want it to pass without sharing some thoughts on relationships. So today's post is a bit longer than normal.

I was 19 and my husband was 20 when we married. Neither of us were Christians. It wasn’t likely that our marriage would last. And it wouldn’t have lasted except for one thing: five years into our marriage, I met and fell in love with another Man. That Man was Jesus. Shortly after I gave my life to Him, my husband did the same.

Tomorrow, when we celebrate 50 years of marriage, we’ll be celebrating because of Jesus. So let me share some things the Lord has taught me in the last 50 years. 

Even if you're not married, keep reading. The final point applies specifically to marriage, but my other points apply to all relationships.


Did you know that “emotionally divorcing” our spouse is a violation of our marriage vows even if we don’t literally divorce?

I've been married 50 years. Let me share 5 important elements of a healthy marriage. All but one apply to all relationships.

And bitterness is a sure way to cause one or the other. 

Because every marriage and every relationship is made of two imperfect people, forgiveness is essential. We either forgive or drink the poison of bitterness (Ephesians 4:32).

Is there any area where you have failed to forgive your friend or your spouse?  

See 8 Steps for Overcoming Bitterness.

Giving and Receiving Correction

If we are regularly seeking the Lord, He will show us areas where we need to repent.

But sometimes God uses a friend or spouse to bring such things to our attention, and we need to take their concerns seriously.

When correction is given and received biblically, it's what God calls iron sharpening iron,” making us stronger (Proverbs 27:17).

Matthew 7:1-5 is a key passage: If we can’t see our own sins accurately, then we cannot see our friend’s or spouse’s sins accurately. Jesus says it’s like having a plank in our eye and trying to see a tiny speck in our brother’s eye. Impossible! 

In giving correction, we should be gracious and fair. In receiving correction, we must avoid self-defense mode and humbly examine ourselves without downplaying or excusing our faults.

Refusing to honestly repent damages our conscience and hurts our relationship with the Lord and with others (1 John 1:8-10). It also forms a large plank in our spiritual eyes.

Have you failed to give correction graciously in your relationships? Have you failed to repent when confronted with your faults?

See How to Say I'm Sorry and Accepting Correction - 10 Scriptures. 


If we want a healthy relationship we should apply the principles in Philippians 2:3-6:

I've been married 50 years. Let me share 5 important elements of a healthy marriage. All but one apply to all relationships.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”

Healthy relationships are mutually helpful and affirming, including both give and take. This means we consider the other person's schedule, needs, and desires before we make plans.

Are you seriously considering the needs of others in your relationships?

See Selfish or Selfless.


Most marriages hit some rough patches. My husband and I have experienced challenges to our relationship during “transitions” like job changes, moves, empty nest, and retirement. We've also had to deal with difficult family members, financial problems, and things like Covid.

It can take time and hard work to adapt to changes and work through problems. But it is so worthwhile. During one of our rough spots, we doubted that our marriage would ever be as good as it was before—but it ended up being even better!

Even though Scripture allows divorce for adultery, I’ve known couples who’ve dealt with infidelity with sincere repentance and forgiveness and reestablished a good marriage. God can help us overcome this and other serious problems if we are committed to reconciliation.

Are you willing to do the hard things to improve your relationships?

See You Can't Serve God if You Refuse.


Satan has worked overtime to discredit the concept of submission, causing people to claim it’s demeaning and chauvinistic. But submission doesn't devalue women. Quite the opposite. 

A family, like any productive group, needs leadership and authority. Submission provides that structure. If people more fully understood submission, men might be rallying against it because it gives women such a special position in the family. 😊

Why did God design men to bless their families through masculine leadership and women to bless their families through feminine influence? I don't know, but we can trust His wisdom. And we can have confidence that the contribution of a wife and mother is every bit as powerful and important as the contribution of the husband and father.

My husband and I have had 50 years of experience learning the beauty of God’s design. Even though I'm a strong-willed woman, I’ve learned to appreciate the love, protection, and strength I gain through submission. When I fail to submit or my husband fails to lead, things don’t go as well.

I’m not denying that submission has been misused. But that happens with every godly principle. If you want to give up submission because it's been misused, then you better be consistent and give up sexual intimacy as well. I'm not giving up either.

Are you willing to trust God's design?

See An Army Wife's View of Submission

💗💗 In conclusion, I want to thank God for my husband. After fifty years of marriage, I can say without hesitation that he is my best friend. I not only love him, I admire him. Next to following Jesus, my decision to marry him was the best one of my life! 

🙏 As I write this, I'm praying that everyone who reads it will be challenged to improve their relationships through forgiveness, giving and receiving correction, consideration, and commitment. And I pray that my married readers will learn to appreciate God's design in submission.

You might also want to check out my collection of Marriage Devotions.


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I've been married 50 years. Let me share 5 important elements of a healthy marriage. All but one apply to all relationships.

Bible Love Notes



  1. Happy Anniversary to you both. Great post.

  2. What an awesome post!
    Happy 50th Anniversary💞

  3. Happy 50th Anniversary! Quite an accomplishment. God's blessings to you both today and in the days and years to come! Your obedience and commitment to our Lord in these past 50 years is a true testament to your faith, trust, and dedication to yourselves and the Mighty God you serve! <><

  4. Wonderful post, thanks for your perpetual flow of relevant stories and insights that are true blessings. I seriously wish you would consider authoring a book, or books. I would love to easily have available material you have prolifically published. Your concise format is perfect for my short attention span! Little booklets by theme would be great gifts to those going through specific issues, as the brief devotions are perfectly sized and don't overwhelm. Thanks again for your devotion and have a sweet anniversary, congrats!

    1. Dear Heidi,
      Please pray, that if it is God's will I will do just what you say. It has been a thought of mine as well. And thank you for your kind encouragement.

  5. What a wonderful message for everyone - whether unmarried or married 70 years!! Thank you for sharing!! May the Lord richly bless your 50th Anniversary with His great love!!♥

  6. Happy 50th Anniversary to you & your husband! May the Lord continue to bless your marriage as you live for Him. Thank you for the thoughtful and encouraging post, Gail.

  7. Happy 51st Anniversary! Your Bible Love Notes have started my day everyday for several years now and I consider them a true blessing. It has been so long ago that I do not recall how I found your site. Let's just say that God sent it to me and leave it at that. Blessings, Bruce

    1. That blesses my day to hear! Thank you for being a faithful reader and for your encouragement.