My wife Deb and I have been married for 46 years. And we’re still best friends.

We loved each other before we got married at just 19 and 20. But even after all of these years, we still like each other. In fact, we’re closer than ever.

Deb and I recently reflected on the lessons we’ve learned along the way that have kept our marriage alive and helped it thrive. We want to share them with you, with the hope that they can do the same for you and your spouse.

So from our family to yours, here are 5 lessons we learned that will help you enjoy a lasting marriage…

1. Be able to laugh. Laughter helps smooth over a lot of rough edges. It can be a great joy in your marriage, so use it!

2. Embrace adversity. Every marriage has its challenges. It’s when you join forces to overcome problems that your marriage gets stronger. Whether it’s personal, emotional, or spiritual adversity – face it together.

3. Focus on what you have in common. There will be things that both you and your spouse don’t naturally gravitate to, and that’s fine. But focus on the things you both like to do, so you can experience joy and happiness in doing them together.

4. Express your appreciation. So many marriages die by a thousand nicks and cuts – a little criticism here, more criticism there. If there’s one thing most marriages need, it’s a greater dose of expressed respect and appreciation.

5. Put Jesus first and your spouse second. Prioritizing Him doesn’t lessen your love for your spouse. In fact, it’s the opposite. You’ll have more to offer your spouse when your relationship with Christ is strong.

Put these into practice and watch your marriage become better than ever!