Vests celebrate 50th anniversary, offer some friendly advice for a successful marriage

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Drs. Steven and Gayle Vest, who are retired physicians, are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary November 27.
“Happiness is being married to your best friend.” They are working with their home church, Valley Forge Freewill Baptist, to develop a marriage mentoring program. Steven, who has also been a member of the American Association of Christian Counsellors for over 30 years, offers the following list of important ingredients for a vibrant marriage:
1) Love: Love, of course, is essential, but not sufficient alone. Without the other ingredients, it will not survive.
2) Respect and honor: Both individuals must genuinely respect one another. Not valuing your spouse’s worthiness as a creation and child of God, is not acceptable.
3) Commitment: Both partners must truly commit themselves to make the relationship work — especially during the tough times (which every couple will face). Realize “blissful romantic” love can fluctuate in cycles effected by times and circumstances. Forsake all others, rather than each other.
4) Work together: Both partners must actively work to keep the relationship vital. Relationships, like gardens, die or get choked out by “weeds” if not regularly tended to.
5) Learn to be a “giver,” not a “taker”: If one or both partners are purely “takers,” the marriage will not survive. If both are “givers,” the marriage will flourish!
6) Communication: No close relationship can thrive without good communication. Speak, and more importantly, listen, with love and empathy.
7) Compliment: Genuinely compliment your spouse regularly and make them feel good about themselves. Never insult or put your spouse down in front of others or your children.
8) Sincerely tell your spouse that you love them: Do this a minimum of once a day; of course, more is better!The expression primarily only counts if you initiate the expression of love, rather than just responding to your spouse’s expression.
9) Intimacy and romance: Have regular special times and activities reserved for just the two of you, such as “date nights” or vacations together.
10) Compromise: Learn to compromise. Value your relationship more than your ego or self-centered objectives.
11) Forgiveness: Ask for forgiveness when appropriate and grant forgiveness when asked.
12) Emphasize things you have in common and play down differences.
13) Love life: Choose to love life in general –- appreciate the precious gifts God has given you. Those who love life, love better.
14) Have an individual life: Each partner should have a slice of their life for themselves and their friends, but this should be subordinate to their life together.
15) Stay morally pure: Forbidden fruit is poison, toxic fruit!
16) God: Last, but certainly not least, make sure your marriage is a love triangle: you + your spouse + God! Marriage is an institution created by God — for you and for Him.
May God bless your marriage, and may it be guided by Jesus and the Holy Spirit — Amen!