Monday, December 23, 2013

The One Secret to Thirty-Five Years of Marriage

By Guest Blogger Julie Garmon 

Saturday morning, two days before our 35th anniversary, we sat in our rocking chairs, porch partying. I wanted to ask my husband a few questions, but I couldn’t just blurt them out. I had to proceed delicately. With caution.

“Remember our first Christmas?” I said. “We brought home that Griswold Family Christmas tree and had to exchange it.”

“I still think I could’ve made it fit.”

“Maybe so.” Playing it cool, I yawned before asking my next question. “Do you mind if I interview you about marriage? Thirty-five years is a lotta Christmases together.”

“You know you’re going to, so go ahead.”

Yipee! I ran inside for my glasses and girl reporter steno pad.

“First question. What’s important in marriage?”

He rocked. Drank his coffee. Rocked some more.

Maybe he’s not going to answer me.

“It’s not my stuff, your stuff,” he finally said. “Or my money, your money. It’s us. Ours.”

“That’s good. What else?”

“Deception is a big deal. We don’t have any secrets.”

“True. In the past 35 years, what was your most difficult time?”

“Eating gluten-free with you.” He laughed. (I have Celiac.)

“Be serious. What about building this house? That was tough, wasn’t it?”

“That was my hardheadedness–a mechanic, building a log house.”

That’s why I love you.

I chewed my pen. Pretended to think up a new question. ”So, would you say we’re best friends?”

“Something like that.”

“Looking back, what were our toughest times?”

His eyes got shiny.

I held my breath. Couldn’t believe he was going to give me a real answer.

“Burying Robbie.” (our newborn son) “Raising teenagers.”

I felt incredibly close to him. “Is there one secret to having a good marriage?”


Ready to jot down his words, I leaned toward him. “What is it?”

He rocked back and forth, back and forth. “Don’t be selfish.”

“That’s it? Three words?”

“That’s it. That covers it all.”

I thanked him for the interview and closed my notebook. “You know, you’re exactly right. Wonder why it takes years to figure this stuff out when the answers are so simple?”

“Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,” Matthew 7:12.

Thoughts on marriage anyone?



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About Julie Garmon (from her web site)

I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit. I write from a loft in our log cabin in the woods. My husband built the cabin and surprised me with my very own writing room. Diamonds aren’t this girl’s best friend.

As a child, my favorite spot in the whole world was the library. My mother, Marion Bond West, instilled the love of words way back then. She taught me to feel a story before writing it, almost like playing an instrument by ear. For me, feeling deeply almost always leads to writing.

Since 2003, I’ve been blessed to be a regular contributor to Daily Guideposts. When life makes me laugh or cry, there’s a good chance it will transform into a devotional. In 2004, I won a spot to the coveted  Guideposts writers workshop. For someone to trust me with his or her story is an honor. I’ve been chosen to attend several Guideposts refresher workshops based on ghostwritten stories.

My dream is to become a novelist. I’m working daily at it–either on my computer or in my heart. My husband hung a clothesline in my office for me. I’m busy filling it with scenes jotted on colored index cards. And guess what? I’m even using those old-fashioned wooden clothespins. Oh, the joys of being a writer! 

(Visit Julie’s blog at

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Going Deeper 

Considerate and Grateful
by Wayne Holmes

This installment of “I Still Do” brings to an end our first year of happily-ever-after advice. We hope you have enjoyed the newsletters and gained some helpful insights into maintaining a loving relationship. We also want to say a special thanks to all who contributed advice to our newsletter. In 2014 we plan to continue to offer articles and advice to help you beat the odds.

In a few days, I have been asked to perform a renewal ceremony for a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. They are a lovely couple who have, over the years, figured out the secret—at least for them—of living together and still loving each other. I asked them for their formula for successful. The husband summed it up in these words: 

“We’re always thinking of each other and looking out for each other. We’ve always been appreciative of each other.”

Sounds like good advice, and the first part of his advice also sounds similar to Julie’s husband’s advice, “Don’t be selfish,” which Julie interpreted as the same as the golden rule. The second part of the fifty-year marriage advice, “We’ve always been appreciative of each other,” can be summarized as gratitude. 

There you have it. The Golden Rule was the secret to 35 years of a happy marriage, and add Gratitude to the mix and you have an unbeatable formula for happily-ever-after. 

In my work with Religious Recovery, I’ve found that one key principle of nearly all religious belief systems is the golden rule or, “Don’t be selfish.” You find it written in various ways in different religions, but the essence is still the same: treat others as you want to be treated. Gratitude is also a principle that is found in most religious belief systems. 

The “Going Deeper” section of our newsletter was originally included to showcase healers that do good work but that also need funding to support their work. We plan to keep to that concept, but for this holiday season, consider this as my gift to you. I wish you, and that special someone in your life, all the love and joy that a relationship can bring, and I offer to you my best advice to make that happen. 

Don’t be selfish.

Be grateful.

Choose love.

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About Wayne Holmes: For information about Wayne or his not-for-profit organization Religious Recovery visit Wayne also writes a column titled “S.O.S: Spiritually Oriented Solutions” for Infinity Magazine which can be found at
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An invitation from Pastor Eastman
Any time you think that some one-on-one conversation might be useful in strengthening your marriage, contact me, Pastor Eastman, at / We know many counselors and healers who provide great support to couples, and my job is to help you connect with someone who is a good fit to help you move forward in your loving and working relationships. Calling me is best because you will get a quicker response:  513 853 6180, but or text 513 703 8196 will also work.