Marriage advice: Three couples’ tips on how to make marriage last

Weddings are exciting and usually involve many months of planning, but weddings last a day. Marriages last much longer, and often take even more work.

However, many Ruston residents have tips for engaged couples and newlyweds for a successful and long-lasting marriage.

Donte Reddick has been married to his wife Capri for 11 years, and they have two children. He said a key component of marriage is putting one’s spouse before oneself.

“My tip is dying to self,” Reddick said. “Often marriages fail because we focus too much on our partner’s weaknesses or failure to meet us halfway. But dying to ourselves makes us focus on our shortcomings, our pride, our selfishness.”

He said the old adage of both parties giving 50 percent is flawed.

“I was always taught that marriage works best if both parties give 50/50, but it doesn’t,” he said. “Dying to self says, ‘I’m giving everything I have to this despite what I’m giving back. Dying to self says I’m going to love you just like Jesus loves the church.”

Chris and Angie Taylor, who have been married 17 years and have three kids, agreed with Reddick’s thoughts.

“Marriage isn’t about training your spouse to become someone who serves you,” Angie Taylor said. “It’s about 100 percent serving them. What’s important to them? How am I meeting their needs? What can I do better to benefit this marriage?”

Chris Taylor said he agreed.

“Marriage should always be about how you are serving your spouse,” he said. “We live in a culture today that encourages people to get what they deserve, look out for themselves and if my needs are being met…Focus on how you can serve your spouse better as opposed to what they are failing to do to serve you. After all, we can’t change someone else, but we can certainly change ourselves.”

Anna Brown and her husband Josh have been married for 20 years and have three kids together. Brown said marriage is wonderful but a lot of hard work.

“Having a successful marriage is not all romance and roses,” Brown said. “I laugh when I think back to our first prom theme: ‘It must have been the roses.’ Roses were a great start, but you must keep them alive! You must keep them rooted and in good soil, water them, prune old leaves and petals, cut thorns off, keep weeds out. Only then can you appreciate the wonderful color and fragrance of the bloom.”

Brown said marriages require forgiveness.

“Remember your marriage is worth fighting for,” she said. “Forgive and move forward. It is not easy, but the reward will be great, and your love will grow deeper.”