Take a walk through town or a mall and you're sure to spot an older couple strolling hand in hand, their facial expressions and body language giving clear evidence of a quality of love that has gone the distance. What a rewarding feeling they must enjoy knowing they've beaten the odds; not only is their relationship still intact, but it's actually thriving. What does it take to have a marriage like that? What joys and struggles have they experienced along the way? We'd all like to know the secrets of their success.
Whether it has been years since your wedding day or only days since you returned from your honeymoon, one thing is certain: You are in the most special relationship two people can have. Sometimes, marriage may be a complete joy, whereas other times your life together may seem like an incurable disease. If you've been married for a while, your feelings have probably run the gamut between those two extremes.
All marriages experience the four seasons, including springtimes of vibrancy and excitement, fall seasons of discontentment and uncertainty, winters of anger and despair, and summertimes of growth and deepened love. Couples whose marriages survive --- and thrive --- have refused to give up, steadfastly sticking to the belief that their efforts to improve their marriages will eventually pay off.