Four Marriage Lessons From A Godly Grandmother

They just don’t make things the way they used to. When we hear someone use this phrase they are usually talking about cars, houses, washing machines, and other equipment that seemed to work better in days gone by. Yet there is definitely some truth in that statement. The same thing can be said about marriage. It seems today that marriage isn’t made like it used to be. But is that true? I think the truth is that as a society, we don’t take marriage as seriously as we did in the past. Today marriage is being attacked and redefined. How should followers of Jesus respond? We must continue to take marriage seriously, and take the time to learn from those who have been married longer than we have. One place to start is with the example of godly parents and grand parents.

Recently, my wife’s grand mother has been sick, and our family has visited her several times over the past few months. During our visits, she always talks about the past and the faithfulness of the Lord in her life. My wife’s grandmother is now a widow, her husband passed away several years ago at the age of 83. They had been married for fifty-five years. Marriages lasting that long are almost unheard of today. It’s a miracle if they last ten to twenty years. Over the years my wife and I have talked with her grandmother and have gleaned four lessons on marriage and how to make it last.

1. Have the Right Perspective

My wife’s grandparent’s got married rather young according to today’s standards. My wife’s grandparents resolved early on that marriage is meant for a lifetime. Today we live in a culture that emphasizes instant gratification and convenience. If you don’t like a product you throw it away and buy another one. Most companies have a money back guarantee. This is not how God designed marriage to operate. Genesis 2:24 states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” My wife’s grandmother held to what the Bible teaches and stayed by her husband’s side until the day he died. There were days, she admitted, that he drove her crazy, but she took her promise seriously and remained faithful to the end.

2. Prioritize Time Alone

She has often told us that, “sometimes you just need to be by yourself.” Being one flesh doesn’t mean spending every moment together. Every couple needs personal space. Sometimes, as my wife’s grandmother admitted, a married couple needs some time alone. Time alone allows each of you to relax and enjoy your respective hobbies. My wife’s grandfather was a farmer. Her grandmother was a housewife. She spent her day cleaning the house and making sure the home was in order. She admitted to us that she loved being a housewife. This allowed her time alone to think and pray. You may not have time at work to think and pray, but everyone needs some time alone. I encourage you to find a hobby that allows you time alone to reset.

3. You Don’t Always Get Your Way

“In marriage, if things go fifty percent your way, consider yourself blessed.” This is truly godly advice. We are selfish creatures and we all want our own way. When I first heard this advice, my first thought was “not everything is worth fighting for.” Married couples will not always agree. There will be times when you do not get your way and times when you do. It’s not worth trying to force your way onto your spouse. Learning to work through issues in your marriage is crucial to having a healthy marriage. Paul says in Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When we seek to serve our spouse, we are seeking to love them like Christ.

4. Keep Everything In Perspective

My wife’s grandmother often says, “One day problems in marriage will seem so small.” This advice is absolutely true! The problems you may face in marriage right now will not always be a problem. Understanding and applying this truth will allow your marriage to have staying power. Many marriages allow trivial problems to drive them to divorce. Resolving to stay together and work through issues in our marriages instead of retreating from them will result in a stronger marriage. My wife’s grandmother admitted that through the years her marriage had its problems. After fifty-five years of marriage, however, she realized that none of that mattered. 

Here’s the key for our marriage: Focus on the big picture. Don’t allow small problems to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. In other words, don’t make the problem bigger than it needs to be. Communicate with one another and work on your issues head on with God’s help and if needed the help of your local church.

Learn from those who’ve been married a long time

There is much to be learned from those who’ve been married for a long time. They have the battle scars of life, which testify that they made it through difficulty. If you are single, I encourage you to seek out a godly man or woman who has been married for at least twenty-five years and ask them questions about marriage. If you are engaged, seek out a godly couple that has been married for at least twenty-five years and ask them questions about marriage. There is wisdom is listening to those who have made it through the fire. If you are married and are contemplating divorce I encourage you to seek the counsel of a godly counselor. Do not give up and remember, the problems you face today will one day seem small.

Photo credit: Marc A. Sporys via

Recommended Resources

Crossway recently published an excellent resource titled The Gospel Shaped Marriage: Grace For Sinners to Love Like Saints by Chad and Emily Van Dixhoorn. The book explores the theological foundation for marriage, as well as providing practical advice.

For additional marriage resources, check out the Family page in our Recommended Resources section.

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This post is dedicated to Maxine Jones. Thank you for showing us how to follow Jesus.

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