Perseverance and Tenacity: 2 Keys to Lasting Relationships

John ThurmanBy John Thurman4 Minutes

Perseverance and tenacity are two of the most important, least discussed aspects of building and maintaining a long-term marriage. My wife, Angie, and I recently celebrated our 50th anniversary.

Over the years, young people have asked Angie and me about the secret of staying married for this long. She has been known to say, “John can quit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I can quit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.” Then, depending on which church service we attend, we confess our sins, we let the Lord know that we messed up, and so far, he has given us the grace to move forward.

In all seriousness, if you stay married long enough, you will go through various seasons. There will be warm Summers of recreation, joy, fun, and excellent memory-building. There will be Fall seasons in your relationship when you see things are moving toward a sad transition. Some things like dreams and feelings of love may appear to be dying or at least losing their zest. Then there is Winter when things could be quiet, cold, and apparently dead. Unfortunately, so many of the mistakes made during this season in a relationship can be seen as final. Then comes Spring, a time of new, fresh growth, renewed hope, and change.

One of the essential things that Angie and I have learned are that a couple cannot avoid these seasons. Many couples quit in the Fall and Winter seasons of their marriage. They lose hope, and they quit.

The resilient couple, who are tenacious and persevere, learn that these seasons are just seasons, nothing more. And with that resilient mindset, they live and learn through the falls and winters to experience personal and couple growth.

Fifty years ago, we stood before the Lord, a preacher, and family and friends to repeat our vows. Fifty years ago, the vows were beautiful, vintage, romantic, and traditional words that gradually changed our lives.

Tenacious, preserving couples believe in the vows they say. After forty-five years of multiple seasons, Angie and I can both say that we have and will continue to live out vows as long as we draw breath.

As I wrap up this article, please take a moment to review the meaning of perseverance and tenacity.

Perseverance comes from the eating word perseverance, which means steadfast. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means – continued efforts to do or achieve something despite difficulties, challenges, and opposition.

Tenacity comes from the Latin word, meaning not easily stopped or pulled apart. The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that it means mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. It also implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger.

You may be in your relationships or marriage, but I want to encourage you to hang in. Billy Ocean — and I am dating myself — performed a song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Unfortunately, our culture is becoming a relationship wasteland. If people do not get what they want in a relationship or are having a hard time, they quit and look elsewhere.

I want to challenge you to do a gut check on yourself and your relationship. Are you a person/couple who demonstrates tenacity and perseverance, or are you a quitter?

Make the choice today to go for the long haul.

How? If you have made a mess of your marriage, confess your mess to God and your spouse, clean your mess up, and move forward.