Throughout 50 years of marriage, Dave and Joyce have learned so much, and they have tons of wisdom to share from their journey.
We recently sat down with Joyce to discuss their recent milestone and the keys to having a successful marriage.
Q: You and Dave have a strong and thriving marriage. Why do you think it has been so successful?
A: I think it’s successful because we stopped trying to change each other. And I think it’s successful because we’re both committed to doing what we believe God would want us to do.
I remember years ago when Dave and I shook hands and I looked at him and said, “I accept you the way that you are,” and he looked at me and said, “I accept you the way that you are.” That was the beginning of us having longevity in our relationship.
Q: What advice would you give to a couple who has been having difficulties in their marriage?
A: You know, Dave and I went through some really difficult times. I think that in every relationship, it’s easy to give up—it’s easy to say we cannot make this work.
But you can go to God and say, “What do you want me to do to make this situation better?” Sometimes you have to treat a person right for a long time before you start to reap in the field that you’ve been sowing in.
If I do what’s right and that never satisfies the other person and they decide they want to do something else, there’s nothing I can do about that. But I’m going to do what’s right by the grace and mercy of God and let Him do what only He can do.
Q: Is it possible for our marriage to last if we don’t share the same goals or have the same idea of the future?
A: I think that if attitudes are kept right, God can change hearts.
When I first felt that God was calling me into ministry, to be honest, Dave just said, “Well, that’s just not what I want to do.” And I really felt that God put it in my heart: You do what I put in your heart to do, keep a good attitude, and I’ll take care of Dave.”
And it was literally only three weeks and Dave came to me and said, “You know, God has really shown me that you do have an anointing on your life to do this and so I just want you to know that I’ll back you up whatever you do.” God can change a person’s heart.
Q: What some other tips to having a great marriage?
A: Well, a good marriage happens on purpose.
Every day when I get up, I purpose to have a good marriage. I’m not going to accidentally have a good relationship with Dave. Many times, I have to pray and ask the Lord to give me a creative idea for a way that I can bless Dave.
It’s also important to give and receive forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the core ingredient to every successful relationship.
So many people carry exceptions to their offer of love. “I love you, but you really hurt my feelings yesterday.” Or “I love you but I’m too tired, too busy, too distracted, too annoyed, too angry, too unhappy to be nice to you right now.”
True love simply says, “I love you!” No exceptions!
It occasionally requires Godly confrontation.
Hasty words spoken without giving any thought to them often cause tremendous trouble.
I believe we should not only be careful with our words to people, but also with our thoughts before God.
There have been many times when I have thought out how I would handle a situation, and God has let me know that is not how He wants me to handle it.
And, remember, timing is everything.
Timing is extremely important in good communication. We can cause ourselves trouble by not picking the right time to speak. There’s a time to talk about a problem and there’s a time to leave it alone.