Debbie and Daniel Wiens, How They’re Making a 34 Year Marriage Work
I met Debbie and Daniel at church in Berlin. It was during the Christmas season, almost two years ago and they invited me to their home shortly afterwards. They have an at-ease personality and I can chat with them with just about anything. They mean quite a bit to me.
I often observe the married couples around me and I admire the mutual respect that Debbie and Daniel have for one another. They don’t smother each another- there's mutual respect, but they are also deeply unified, and rooted in Christ.
In a world where 41% of the German population (per capita) gets divorced & 49% of Americans (per capita) are getting divorced, Debbie and Daniel are going strong. And they are going strong like every other married couple of 30 years making it happen with hard work, dedication, and commitment.
AP: How long have you two been married?
Debbie & Daniel: We got married at age 22 and have been married now for almost 34 years. Three children – two boys and a girl – were born and raised in our marriage.
AP: You have been married for 34 years, what is one thing you wish you knew about marriage at the beginning that you know now?
Nowadays premarital counseling or mentorship seems to be quite common in the Christian community and I wish we would have had that opportunity before getting married, and even into the first year(s) of marriage. My parents did not talk about marriage related issues at all so I acted and responded in every way to my own best knowledge and purpose – being just 22 years of age. These issues still seem to have the same relevance today and they are vital parts of marriage: money, sex, raising children in unity, and how to manage conflict situations.
The most common ending in a fairy tale goes: “And they lived happily ever after,” and I thought marriage would, too. But, you can only find happiness in marriage if you are grounded in God’s love and know who you are. I thought marriage would make me happy since I found a spouse whom I loved and who loved me. But only God can fulfill my deepest needs and not a person. He gives me purpose and not marriage itself.
AP: What are three good character traits that someone should look for in a person before choosing to date them?
Honesty and reliability are important mainstays for a lasting relationship since they grant a truthful person. A „wysiwyg“ (what you see is what you get) personality may prove helpful especially in moments of crisis and hardships. Generosity adds a bearing and forgiving attitude, which can win a heart over again and again.
For me it’s very important to have someone who is going in the same direction, share the same goals, and is a follower of Christ.
AP: What are 3 character traits that someone should look for in a person and NOT date them?
Daniel and Debbie:
Selfish people are only interested in themselves and they lack the ability of active listening to the partner. Uncontrolled anger prevents any kind of conflict solving often building an environment of violence and abuse. Addiction hinders any development of a mature relationship by filling up every space of desire.
AP: What has God taught you each about himself in your marriage?
He has taught us about forgiveness. He taught us to forgive ourselves and each other. Another great experience of God’s teaching in our marriage is to never give up because He has decided not to give up on us.