Most of us cannot possibly imagine being married 74 years as we aren’t half that old.
We are a hot mess in our marriages because we don’t know how to do everything in love!!
Today, divorce is reaching into far too many homes, even when a couple has been married twenty or thirty years.
What can you learn from my parent’s example that will strengthen your marriage to last for the rest of your life?
I realize that some marriages end in divorce because an affair or abuse to the wife or children has entered the relationship. Please, please, if this has happened to you, seek a pastor’s or professional’s counsel.
For the past decade, I have been amazed at my parents, Anthony and Evelyn Bollback, as they kept reaching yet another milestone anniversary! They have been married for over 74 years as they served in the Christian Missionary Alliance in the role of missionaries to China and Japan, and then as a pastor in Coudersport, PA; Chapel Hill, NJ; Honolulu, HI; and Silver Springs MD; and as a District Superintendent in Omaha, NE.
I thought it was amazing when they celebrated their 70th anniversary and again last year when they reached 74 years of marriage, and now as they approach their 75th anniversary!
God has blessed them with many years of loving each other so that they can be an encouragement to many other couples.
Purpose and Passion in Marriage and Ministry
74 years of marriage and ministry of Anthony & Evelyn Bollback
I think one of the things that has held my parent’s marriage firmly together was their unity in purpose and passion for the Lord’s work.
They were married on August 14th, 1943, in New York City and after just one week arrived in the small town of Coudersport, Pennsylvania to start a church.
Their whole purpose in life was to serve the Lord. There was no doubt about it and I saw their unwavering desire to serve their God, over and over again as I was growing up overseas.
It was their unity of purpose to serve that was like strong glue holding them together that gave unity throughout their lives together.
Not all of us are missionaries like my parents but we can learn the importance of having Christ central and a joint purpose in our marriage. For my parents, that joint purpose was their ministry.
Do you have a joint purpose and passion in your marriage?
An Example of Getting Along when Married 74 Years
What can you learn from my parents?
Marriage is hard. I can say that is for sure!
For most of us (if we are honest), marriage isn’t ‘a walk in the park.’
We have to work hard at it if we will one day say that we love each other more and more as the years go by.
I remember when I was a teenager growing up in Hawaii (yes, Honolulu) that I was not allowed to help with the dishes.
My mom would the dishes and my dad would take a towel and dry them each night after supper. It would have been easier on both of them if they would have given the job to my brother and me!
My dad wiped the dishes dry because he loved spending time with my mom!
He would always joke that he was guaranteed time alone with my mom because us kids wouldn’t want to wash the dishes!
They would talk.
Sometimes they would have a mild ‘discussion!!’
Even when they were a little more heated in their discussions, my dad valued my mom’s opinions. That left a deep and lasting impression on me.
Are you able to talk and discuss issues openly with your husband?
Holding Your Husband in High Esteem
My dad highly esteems and cherishes my mom. I can see it so clearly as they gracefully age together.
It is easy to respect and cherish your husband when they ‘deserve’ it but much harder when they are not perfect.
Since none of us are perfect apart from the work of Jesus Christ in our life, we can all learn and grow from this.
I especially saw my dad showing respect and honor for my mom. It really made it much easier for my mom to respond with respect and honor.
I think it went deeper than just outwardly because it was a habit and behavior that they showed for each other.
Even when they were younger and occasionally had disagreements, they didn’t cross that line of showing disrespect towards each other.
What if your husband often shows disrespect and dishonor towards you?
That doesn’t let you off the hook!
You can still learn from the example of my parents.
It is still your responsibility before God to be careful of the words you choose because one day you will stand before God and answer for every word that you said.
You never know how your example will encourage your husband someday.
Married 74 Years
Now that my parents are in their mid-nineties, they constantly demonstrate their love for each other.
They pray for each other.
They help each other with inconveniences due to aging.
Even when one of them has been very ill, they have shown their faithfulness to each other by daily visiting each other in the hospital.
They have spent time with each other through the years in ministry and when the day was over, chatting with each other.
I remember hearing their low voices as they talked, prayed, and read their Bibles in their bedroom when I was a teenager.
How You Can Learn from Their Example
I have been married about half as long as my parents and still, I can learn from their example.
My marriage has struggled through the years and I have been encouraged to see my parent’s marriage go through seasons with ups and downs.
There is something very strengthening to a marriage that has faced the storms and challenges that life brought through the years.
When you stay with your husband through those storms there is often a blessing waiting for you.
If there is one tidbit of encouragement that I want to leave with you today, it is to stick it out for better or worse until you have gone through the storm.
Married couples who stay together through the years reach a point of unspeakable joy. I was so encouraged when I listened to a podcast by John Piper that said something to that effect. My parents definitely are demonstrating joy in their marriage!!
If you are married, how long have you been married? What advice would you add to what I have learned from my parent’s marriage?
You may find more books written
by my Dad, Anthony Bollback HERE!!
And now abide faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13