Guest Blogger Pat Trainum: Foundation of a Lasting Marriage

by | Guest Blogger | 27 comments

Please join me in welcoming one of my writing support group friends–Pat Trainum. Pat is a woman of many talents. In addition to her writing, she is also a potter who crafts beautiful jewelry and mugs. I’m thrilled to have a one-of-a-kind Pat Trainum mug sitting on my desk. Pat writes romantic suspense under the name of P.T. Bradley. She is represented by the Mary Sue Seymour Agency. Her short-stories have been published in Woman’s World. Although she isn’t published (yet), her manuscripts have won or finaled in several contests, including the 2009 Maggie (Inspirational Category), 2nd Place in the 2011 Touched By Love contest, semi-finaled in the 2011 Genesis and bronzed in the Frasier. She is also an abstinence/healthy relationship speaker and have spoken to many students…and adults. When she’s not writing or speaking, she throws mud on a wheel and tries to make something beautiful. Learn more about her by visiting her site at


I’m one of Lisa’s unpubbed friends. We met at Susan May Warren’s very first Deep Thinkers Retreat in Melbourne, Florida. Right away I knew she was one of those Happily Ever After (HEA) types. She just gives off that sweet aura.

Now me, normally I kill people. Now don’t get me wrong, I love romances, especially Lisa’s Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family, but when it comes to writing, that’s what I write. Romantic Suspense. Actually suspense with a little romance thrown in. Before that, I taught teens how to have healthy relationships which hopefully would lead to healthy marriages. 

Huh?  I’m sure you’re asking how one goes from teaching how to have a HEA to writing about murder. I’m so glad you asked, but Lisa didn’t ask me to do a blog for her on murder. Her blogs are all about love and marriage and relationships and weddings. You’ll have to come over to my blog for the one on romantic suspense.  No, today I want to talk about some things you might not know about love and marriage and weddings.

First, I want to ask if you have any idea what couple currently holds the record for the longest marriage in the United States. I’ll wait while you Google it. …….Yep, if you found Marshall and Winnie Kuykendall, you’re right. Eighty-two years. Theirs is an interesting story.

I tried to find out about wedding costs when they wed back in 1929, but couldn’t find any statistics. I did run across a lot of interesting facts about weddings today. Like, did you know June is the most popular month for weddings, then August, followed by September and October? Or that 2.3 million couples wed every year in the US. And the average couple spends $20,000 for their wedding. That fact blew me away. When I got married, I didn’t know you could have that many zeros behind a dollar sign.

The average age of a bride today in the US is 25.3; Winnie was 20. The average cost of wedding rings for the bride and groom are $1,016. That’s considerably more than the thirty-five dollars Marshall paid for his bride’s.

It’s no wonder that the wedding industry is a 72-billion-dollar industry. In the US, that’s 72 with 9 zeros behind it. Another 19 billion is spent on wedding gifts and 8 billion on honeymoons. All this for one day. Or a week if you count the honeymoon. In my classrooms, I always told the students that the wedding lasted only for a day, but the marriage was for a lifetime.

When Winnie was asked how they’d been able to stay married so long, she replied that their elopement was a foolish act of kids. It was not great planning that built the foundation of a lasting marriage. (“We didn’t have a bit of sense,” she says.) It was the daily decisions they made for each of the 82 years that followed. “Being good to each other, I guess.”

Your Turn: If you’re married, how old were you when you said, “I do”? What advice would you offer to newlyweds…or even oldlyweds?

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  1. Lisa Jordan

    Pat, thank you for being my blog guest today. My advice to newlyweds or oldlyweds is to put God first and your spouse second. Pray together, laugh daily and show affection.

  2. Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

    Lisa, it’s a privilege to be here. And I so agree with you on your advice. If a couple puts God first, He will take care of everything else.

  3. Cheryl Meints

    Said, “I do” at the age of 18, a high school senior. After 43 years of marriage, I’ve learned it really doesn’t make any difference which one of us is right. In the end, the power of God is far more “right” than any personal sentiment.

    I like this post, Pat and Lisa.

  4. Edie Melson

    I was 19 when Kirk and I got married. We’ve been married 31 years. I have one bit of advice, it tends to fit the bride more often than the groom. Ladies, do yourself a favor. Don’t expect your husband to read your mind. For example, if he is neglecting you and not sending flowers any more, tell him. Don’t base your idea of how much he loves you on something he doesn’t even know. It’s not fair to either of you.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Oh, Edie, I used to tell a story about a woman who was so distressed because her husband would not take the garbage out. When she finally exploded, he looked around and asked, “What garbage?” He hadn’t even noticed. So ladies, be.specific.

  5. Beth K. Vogt

    I had just turned 21 when I got married. I thought I was so mature — and what I discovered was I had a lot to learn about both myself and my husband! I’ve learned more about relationships in the last ten years than I learned in the first ten years because back then I thought I knew it all.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Oh, Beth, how well do I know what you’re talking about. But then I do that with almost everything. lol

  6. Renee Osborne

    I was married at the age of 24, and my husband and I have been together 13 years. We have two children who are growing up way too quickly. I think besides Jesus, the most important thing you need for a healthy marriage is communication. And the most important ingredient of communication is complete trust. You need to be able to trust each other enough to expose your heart. A lack of trust will quench communication in a marriage. To nurture that necessary level of trust, you need to be good to each other and protect each other. Keep sarcastic banter at a minimum–it really does wound and cause bitterness. Stand up for each other, even when the other person isn’t there. Don’t engage in tearing your spouse down to your closest friends–that entertains bitterness in your own heart. Be honest when you’re feeling hurt or angry–share those feelings in a non-accusatory manner (none of “you always…” and more of “I feel…”). Choose to be quick to forgive, and let old offenses die–don’t throw them up in an argument. Make sure that when your spouse opens up to you, you don’t shut them down with harsh or thoughtless words. Never minimize the other person’s emotions, desires or needs. There’s too much to unpack here in one blog post, but bottom line: nourish each other with love, kindness, acceptance and openness. Marriage is a life-long commitment and, like anything worth having, it requires maintenance and hard work. But it is so worth it. My husband is my best friend. I can trust him with anything–and I do mean anything. My relationship with him is a beautiful thing, and I appreciate it enough to work at keeping it that way.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Rene, excellent advice. One of the things I discovered about the students I taught–they don’t trust anyone, especially in a relationship. And I think it’s because they get things out of order in the relationship. But that’s another blog post.

  7. Delores Topliff

    I was 20 1/2 when I married & my husband 29. While we seemed balanced then, I matured much more but some issues that didn’t get dealt with grew large and serious. I’ve raised two sons alone but thank God for them.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Dee, I’ve learned if you don’t deal with small problems in any relationship, they tend to grow until they are unmanageable. The same thing happened with my first husband, except I was 17 and he was 18. Much too young.

  8. Michelle Lim

    I was 27 when I said, “I Do.” Each day has been an adventure. If I were to give anyone advice I’d say being right isn’t the thing forevers are made of. Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to keep unkind words to yourself. Always fight fair (No hateful words that you can’t take back.)And, most importantly, Love with the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      It is really important to learn how to fight. Cause you’re not going to agree on everything. If you do, someone is building resentment. Good points, Michelle.

  9. Lindsay Harrel

    I think you’re right, Pat. So many people just focus on the wedding instead of the marriage!

    I was 21, almost 22, when I got married (it’ll be 6 years this November!).

    I think every couple should read Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. It tells the wife that RESPECT is the best gift she can give to her husband. Most husbands know their wives love him…but they don’t think their wives like them very much. This whole concept changed our marriage, for sure! 🙂

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      You are so right, Lindsay. And if you remember, in Colossians, Paul didn’t say anything to the wife about loving her husband. He said to respect him. That means even when he won’t stop and ask for directions. 🙂

  10. Alena


    I got married at 19 and we are going on 21 years this January. I’d have to say, for me its communication and fun. I agree with the other ladies, clear communication as a “male” would understand. I can’t expect him to just know what I’m thinking or wanting I have to be SPECIFIC!. We have lots of fun. We poke fun at each other, laugh when the other is being ridiculous. It takes the heat out of arguments and keeps things on the light side.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Alena you are so right. One thing we ladies need to remember…men’s brains are like waffles. Four sides where they think and every box has a name. TV. When he’s watching TV, he’s in that box and doesn’t hear a word you say. He also has boxes that have absolutely nothing in them. You know, the ones where you ask him what he’s thinking and he says: nothing. That’s probably what he was thinking.

  11. Chandra

    I got married when I was 23. My husband and I met at eighteen and ‘went together’ five years. TODAY is our 30th anniversary! To the newlyweds I say not to expect it to be a honeymoon forever, but to allow maturity to find your marriage and I feel sure by the end of it you will have gotten your fairy tale after all~! To the oldly weds I relay this . . . . We went out for breakfast this morning to start our anniversary. We were talking about how big a deal it is these days to be married this many years. Then, a couple walked in. They had to be in their eighties, and they walked in holding hands. Both of us smiled. I looked at him and said that will be us one day, And a younger couple will see us and smile! Oldlyweds, please don’t ever stop holding hands!

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      Chandra, Happy Anniversary!!! And congratulations on 30 years! Yes, I think it is very important to keep holding hands.

  12. Wendy

    The most important thing I’ve learned in 25 years is when the going gets tough, the tough get stubborn. There have been a couple times over the years that we got through on pure obstinance and refusal to give up on each other. We are closer friends than we were on our wedding day.

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      That is great, Wendy. I’m so glad you hung in there. And I think you said one of the most important things–you are closer friends now than on your wedding day.

  13. Peggy Morrison

    Hi Pat!
    How intuitive is this!! I was just thinking recently what advice I’d give to an engaged couple….pray for each other and with each other daily. Always look for the good they other’s doing…everyone needs a cheerleader, and I want to be hubbys!!! The entire would be long. Laugh together everyday, think of ways to please him/her. Enjoy everyday as the days you were dating. Oh Pat, I do notice on your intro that knitting wasn’t listed!!!….a lady of many talents!!! 🙂

    • Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley

      I totally don’t know why I didn’t mention knitting! And yes, I agree…we need to be cheerleaders. I’ve always noticed when I’m cheering someone on, it changes my attitude. I’m much more forgiving.

  14. Patricia Ann Preston

    I really enjoy being single much more than I ever did being married. 🙂

  15. Deb Smith

    I wanted to bring Pat’s world of murder and Lisa’s world of love together. About 7 out of 10 murders are committed by the spouse, so choose wisely! Pat will understand this post and get a big laugh.