Why I’m Still Married After 17 Years

Lisa and I just celebrated 17 years of marriage this past weekend! To tell the truth, there a lot of people I should be thanking for their investment into my wife and I. And there are a lot of reasons we’re still married today, but here are a couple of practices that have helped us get where we are. So in no particular order, here they are. Hope they help.

1. We take Vacations (just the 2 of us)

While I love my 4 kids and spending time with them. I love doing vacation with just my wife! Lisa and I have chosen to save up during every 5-year period of our marriage and do a big vacation with just the two of us every 5 years! It’s always great time with her and it’s great to pay cash and not go in debt to do it!

2. We Serve Each Other

Serving is an important and intentional discipline in our marriage. Because we’ve learned that it’s difficult to serve someone well with a bitter heart. Among other things Lisa regularly offers to make me breakfast and I can’t tell you how many dishes I’ve done over the years.

3. We made a Commitment

Lisa and I both know, love and follow Jesus. And while there a lot of good principles that go into building a great marriage, Jesus is the starting point for us. We didn’t “fall” in love, rather we chose to love each other and made a commitment to each other and to God to love each other well.

4. We got Help

When things were dark in our marriage early on, we didn’t hide. We got the professional help we needed to move towards health together. We used to joke around that “Visa saved our marriage.” We didn’t have the money for counseling when we were young, but our marriage was valuable enough to us that money wasn’t going to be an excuse.

5. We still go on Dates

Every month we have at least one date night. It may be going out to a movie, having dinner, lunch, or catching a red box movie and dinner together after the kids are down. But regardless of what it is we are intentional about spending time with each other apart from the kids. I got to know Lisa over hours together at a coffee shop in college, and we still enjoy sitting and talking over a cup of coffee all these years later.

6. We Give and Receive Forgiveness

This isn’t an easy one to learn, but learn we’ve had to. The reality is you can shrink back from conflict or you can view it as a pathway to relational intimacy. I choose the later. Every conflict is an opportunity to move towards oneness.

7. We Keep Learning

It’s been common practice in our marriage to go on marriage retreats, to marriage conferences and read a book every year or so on marriage as a springboard to evaluative conversations that we wouldn’t necessarily have on our own. In fact we just got done reading and talking about Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage.

Posted in Family

6 Responses to “Why I’m Still Married After 17 Years”

  1. Steve July 15, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Paul, thank you for the words of wisdom, my fiance and I, Amanda are getting married this coming October and everything that you have stated on how you and Lisa are still together after all these years is grest. Amanda is one amazing woman, and has made some sacrafices to help build our relationship. I was previously married, and it didn’t end well, and I never thought I could ever love again, and then Amanda came into my life and is here to stay. I have been to hell and back, and I think that Amanda knowing that and knowing about my past helps, so thank you again for the comments that you shared on how ur marriage works. See you at church in Gilbert.


  2. Jim Corder July 15, 2013 at 7:26 am #

    Great points, Paul. Another couple ones that I find are helpful are: be friends. Intentionally make your spouse your best friend and spend time sharing what’s going on inside you with each other. The other one is focus. All of us have facets of ourselves that are great and that are not great (or even downright irritating). I think it’s important to focus on each other’s great parts and not spend too much time dwelling on the negative ones. Over time, a negative focus will destroy the relationship but a focus on the good stuff keeps us feeling lucky to have the partner we have.

  3. lisa alexander July 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    i love you honey

    • Paul Alexander July 20, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      Love you too baby! Glad to see you finally subscribed to my blog after a couple of years of writing. After 17 years, maybe my wife is starting to listen to me 🙂

  4. Jonathan July 20, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    congrats on 17 years!! your points are helpful 🙂

    we just tried a new twist on reading & discussing a marriage book. we set aside an hour a week and actually read the book out loud to each other. it was fun! we were actually reading Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” too!


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