Three Marriage Secrets…after 34 Years

I knew it was odd to put the old rug from the den on the front porch, but I did it anyway. When I was a little girl, I loved making the neighborhood tree house feel cozy, so for our 34th anniversary porch party, part of me wanted to recreate the wonder of childhood. I snapped these pictures before our party.


Anniversary morning.

“Did you notice the rug?”

“Um-hmm. Looks nice.”

“You think it’ll rain on it?”

“Not unless we get a bad storm.”

We were quiet for a few minutes. I thought about our oldest child’s hand print from kindergarten. She’s 31.

 …the tiny antique tub my grandmother passed down to me. It’s hanging beside the tree in the kitchen. I bathed our babies in it.

“Remember the night you surprised us and brought home Santa and Mrs. Clause?” I said. “How long ago was that?”

“Probably 25 years or so.”

I studied Santa and the Mrs–their kind faces and soft white curls. “You know, you’re even cuter now than when we married.”

“Nah. Your eyes are just getting older,” he said.

“Really. You are.” The glow of the Christmas lights illuminated our grown-up tree house. “What’s the secret to our marriage?”

“It’s give and take. Lots of give.” He grinned at me.

“You mean, living with a wife who drags an old rug outside?”

“Yeah, something like that. The rug’s all right. You gotta keep laughing. Having fun matters.”

I thought of one more marriage secret. “And hang on to God and each other. No matter what.”


He nodded. Sipped his coffee. “Um-hmm. That’s good.”

And today is good. Very good. A new morning, an old rug, and two young hearts still crazy in love.

P.S. This morning, it was 36 degrees at our party! 🙂

 What marriage secrets have you discovered?






  1. love love love a million times: LOVE!
    “Having fun matters”!!! OH that’s so true Julie. You and Ricky are such inspiration to me, your relationship is a beautiful example of what God meant marriage to be…

    I also think it’s a blessing when things that used to annoy turn into very endearing things…that’s what’s happened with Mike and I. We laugh and hug when we used to nit-pick and sling cynicism.

    Life is good when you’re married to your very best friend

    • I’m smiling, Robin. Sooooo true–things that used to annoy become very endearing things.

      Thank you for always, always, always believing the best.

      Love you.

  2. Very touching! Sounds like you are wonderful role models for your children on what makes a great marriage. Oh, and Julie, my husband and I have porch parties, too–but not at 36 degrees. And we’re from the North, where we should be used to cold weather! You southern belles are much tougher than you look!

    • I’m laughing, Marie. Really, with our sweats and blanket on, it didn’t feel that cold. Especially holding a hot cup of coffee.

      Yep, we southern belles ain’t sissies!


  3. Happy Anniversary!! What a beautiful porch!


  4. Brenda Greene says:

    Ahhhh….so sweet…thanks for sharing, Julie Girl. Love your cozy home – I’m guilty of bringing the inside out to our porch, also…just makes for a more homey feel, I think.

    My Hubby (of 45 years) just made my favorite breakfast (bacon, egg, cheese sandwich with cheese grits)! Retirement for the last seven years has brought wonderful surprises from each of us that working and raising a family suppressed. Secret? To keep on keeping on, seems to be working for us.

    Happy Anniversary!

    • Ohh, Brenda. Your sweet husband made you breakfast? I love it!

      Keep on Keeping on. Perfect secret. Thank you, my friend~

  5. Anna Haney says:

    Making me cry again. Loving God, loving each other. Such a sweet story

    • Oh, Anna. I hope it’s a good kind of tears……

      Hugging you from Georgia. ANd it’s still cold today!

  6. Pat Garczynski says:

    LOVE the pictures you include with your articles, Julie! They are wonderful and the “icing on the cake!”

    • Sweet, Pat. Thank you. I’m hoping to improve in the picture-taking area. Lots to learn.

      Blessings to you and yours!

  7. So wonderful to feel through pictures like I’m right there with you on the porch. Of course, I wouldn’t be…it’s special, contemplative, insightful time for a husband and wife.

    36 degrees. Ahhh…I get a feeling for what it will be like in Wisconsin this weekend. But, like you, love warms the heart. : o )

    • Ohhh, good, B.J. I was hoping my readers would feel through my picture!! Yay!!

      Bundle up! Can’t wait to hear about your trip.

  8. Such a sweet inspiration! I love your porch parties but I especially love this one. My hubby and I have discovered that laughing together is one of the most wonderful ways to bond. Sometimes we laugh AT each other and sometimes we laugh WITH each other over something silly on TV or over a memory. Respect is something else I’m learning is extremely important in a marriage. I guard my tongue and resist the urge to tell my husband’s secrets to my friends and try not to tell the things that he deems are private or sensitive topics. Someone recently asked us what our secret was to a long, happy marriage. And we both thought about it a while and came up with the same conclusion: COMMITMENT. If you do not have commitment, then “the other mean nasty destroyer of marriages” will have a party in your life. We will celebrate our 25th anniversary this coming summer. I doubt it will be the gala event we always dreamed of or a trip to somewhere exotic because of the economy. But if it’s nothing more than sitting together in our living room with a dessert and a cup of coffee, it will be divine!

    • Sherri, that’s it EXACTLY. A cup of coffee with someone you love is really everything! And congrats to you for your upcoming 25th.

      Ohhh, what trouble we’d be in (I’m talking about us) if we didn’t laugh. A lot. About things that sometimes aren’t even funny. :/

      Hugs to you, and thank you so much for reading and writing today.

  9. The most important ingredient is God and commitment. If you hang onto His love, you’ll make it through lots of things. Like when you find you don’t have a lot of love left in your heart. You tell Him that He has to love through you and renew your love for your mate. And guess what? He does. And then it’s an even bigger and deeper love because it’s survived the fire. That’s the commitment so many people don’t seem to have.

    P.S. Dec 27th will be our 41st anniversary. 🙂

  10. Amen, Ane! God renews our love!!!

    And I didn’t know we share an anniversary month. Happy Happy almost 41 years! Wow-eee~~I bet you have lots to teach me. 🙂

  11. Beautiful picture of love. Thanks for sharing it!

    But I must say, I can’t imagine us out on the porch in that kind of weather. We’ll just have to snuggle up and stay warm inside, I guess. 🙂

  12. Sue Kuster says:

    Julie what a beautiful inspiration! It is so true hanging on to God and each other no matter what, is key.
    We will be married 39 years this June. After all this time we feel each others pain and suffering deeply and it is such a comfort knowing that we will always be there for each other in difficult times and hang onto God together. I so wish we could have a porch party on our deck overlooking a snowy lake, but it was 19 degrees this morning, so we will enjoy looking at your beautiful porch!

    • Sue, 19 DEGREES. Ummmm, I wonder if we’d brave it in 19 degrees. Doesn’t happen to often in the Atlanta area. 🙂 Hugs to you my friend. Love your words…always be there for each other. The kind of love that lasts. xo

  13. Oh my! My best friend & I have 13 1/2 years to go (to the day!) until our 34th anniversary. Yet at times it seems we were married only yesterday…
    God is so good, all the time. He has brought us through many trials; but He has protected us from far more devastating experiences I see in my friends’ lives on every hand.
    God bless you & Rick, your beautiful home & glorious porch parties; and may you partake in many, many more!

    • Thank you, thank you, Melody. Your comments always make me smile. You two aren’t very far behind us! 🙂

  14. Shelley Elaine says:

    Congratulations on your 34th anniversary!!!! That’s awesome! What a sweet post-love the pictures-thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  15. Sandra Walker says:

    Once again I agree with all the comments. To us, commitment is the big one – to God and each other.
    We are coming up on 43 soon. Paul makes me laugh; he believes in laughter! A good balance for me.
    The pictures you include really make the blog special!

  16. Sandra, y’all are celebrating 34 flipped. 43. 🙂 Love it. Thank you, my friend, for writing. It just means so much to know my words touch your heart. Yeah, I used my good camera for this one. Will have to do so more often! I didn’t realize that it made a difference.

    Hugs my friend.

  17. arie says:

    Is he wearing Pepsi logo sweats?

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