Costa & Lorraine Mitchell. Married 3rd April 1971, both of us 21 years old at the time.

We both think that we have had it very good in marriage. Obviously, this is a gift for which God is to be praised, and parents thanked, and we don’t take it lightly. It helps that God was strong in forming and informing our choices at the time we met. It helps hugely that we both came from parents who loved one another faithfully and long. Of course, hormones helped as well – look at my wife and tell me what’s not to love?

In so many respects it has been genuinely easy for us. We kind of grew into one another, as we finished growing up. We had, like any couple, to make the adjustments necessitated by two quite self-assured, independent people learning to be an indivisible couple, sharing bathrooms, chores and life goals. But what I think we both learned in those first 2 to 5 years was to use the energy of being IN love to “love (live) considerately” with one another – to learn the other person, to look into her/his interests and support them, and to show love in the form of speaking the love language of the other. It was before the books about love languages, but we have spoken for years about the way each of us has drawn the other out into the person each always wanted to be, by showing love in the ways the other really longed for, speaking love in the language the other recognises.

To put it another way, what we have learned is that enjoyable marriage is a competition – a contest to see who can serve the other harder, who can show the other the greater honour, who can live a life of self-forgetfulness in every respect, whether romantically or practically, sexually or spiritually.  Plan every week with the same care as you planned your honeymoon, show as much genuine delight at the company of your spouse in your 40th year as you did when you saw her walking down the aisle toward you. The result can be, not one long honeymoon, but many, many honeymoons!

[To return to the beginning of this Marriage through the Years series and read a whole lot of stories of different aspects of marriage, click here]