After being married for fifty years with four daughters and eleven grandchildren, I can say for certain that Jesus holds the secrets to building a life together that reaps of joy. In just a moment, I am going to share with you these eight secrets.

Through the storms and difficulties of our broken lives, my wife and I have discovered the power of practicing these eight hidden secrets. Furthermore, we are living proof that by practicing these secrets — we experience an incredibly rich and deep relationship where we live as each other’s best friend and soul mate.

I’ve always loved Kahlil Gibran’s metaphor on marriage in his book, The Prophet. Gibran says, “Marriage is like an oak tree or a cypress tree that doesn’t stand in each other’s shadow. It’s like two strings on an instrument that play the same music.” If you think of your marriage with eight strings and that each must be tuned and practiced every day to produce the sound of real love, this will help cultivate a fulfilling marriage.

Fulfilling and joyous marriages often don’t happen overnight, because the truth is that all marriages encounter moments along the way when you don’t “like” your spouse. Nevertheless, we all are faced with a choice when these hard moments arrive. For my wife and I, our choice was to keep searching for how to live authentically with one another, despite the rough patches and difficult seasons that are inevitably a part of life and love.

The eight hidden secrets that we discovered over forty years ago (through our friend, Jim Woodroof’s translation of Jesus’ relationship advice as found in Matthew 5) are what has kept our relationship alive, flourishing and growing through the years:

  • Secret Number 1: When wrong, admit it.
  • Secret Number 2: Say you’re sorry and mean it.
  • Secret Number 3: Want what is best for your spouse.
  • Secret Number 4: Do the right thing.
  • Secret Number 5: Say, “I forgive you” and mean it!
  • Secret Number 6: Stay absolutely faithful to your marriage vow and extend trust to your spouse.
  • Secret Number 7: Quickly admit when you are wrong, even if only 10% is your fault.
  • Secret Number 8: Make allowances for your spouse’s bad day.

The truly beautiful thing about these secrets, which are really based on a person’s attitude and perception, is that they are not about perfection. Rather, they are about direction. Believe me, I have failed seventy-times-seven, however, these secrets have provided a way for me and my wife to rise from the hard moments, over and over again.

When Jesus began his ministry after he healed the lame, the sick, the blind, and so many other illnesses; he sat down with his closest companions and told them who the really happy people are in this world. The really happy people are the ones who practice these secrets. And, on the flip side, when people do not choose to practice these truths, most likely their relationship will tank. It’s a time­proven fact.

Perhaps you are familiar with this famous metaphor, delivered by Jesus. He suggests if you build your house on the sand, when the storm comes it will definitely crash. However, he went on to say that if you practice these secrets when the storms comes, your house will stand.

The bottom line is that each and every one of us has a choice about what attitude will be the ruler of our life. Will wisdom rule your life? Or, will anger rule your life? Will forgiveness rule your life? Or, will unforgiveness? Will “being right” rule your life, or will an attitude of humility rule your life? The choice is always yours, and mine.

If we find we are unable to practice these secrets, then there must be something worth looking at in regard to our thinking. Often, when one is unable to practice these secrets, there is a deep emotional trauma or hurt that has not yet been processed. Unconsciously, we all carry beliefs that hinder us from living these attitudes. Only Jesus has been able to point the way to healing those deep wounds. His wisdom has personally provided me with the courage to face my wrongs and to seek forgiveness, whether my mate does or not.

These eight hidden secrets provided through the teachings of Jesus have been tested through the generations, although I have observed that these secrets are often not practiced by so many of those who share and teach his wisdom. My hope is that all of us who are searching for fulfilling marriages will be awakened to the truth of these secrets and discover the way to a joyous life with your soul mate.


Charlotte and Terry Smith married August 18, 1965 in Dora, New Mexico. They have four daughters and eleven grandchildren, and have lived in Memphis, TN; Searcy, Ark; Boston, MA.; and Nashville, TN. Dr. Smith is the author of Delta Blues: From Darkness to Light. He is the also the President and Founder of Coaching: Life Matters.

*Woodroof, Jim. Sayings That Saved My Sanity.

Image Credit: Unsplash // Drew Coffman