What I Know From 30 Years of Marriage
by Vanessa Bell Calloway



September 3, 2018


5 Minute Read


What I Know From 30 Years of Marriage

Are “old-fashioned” 30+ year marriages a thing of the past? Or can a success rate like this be crafted and cultivated? Vanessa Bell Calloway says that with a little work and a little common-sense, old-fashioned marriage is here to stay.

People always ask me how Tony and I have maintained our 30-year marriage. Our children say that a relationship like ours is old fashioned and no longer exists. Statistics say we are a freak of nature in today’s world. Marriage and monogamy are outdated. Well, I disagree!

The first rule that will always stand the test of time: marry your friend, soulmate, a person you’re equally yoked with — as the Bible tells us.

Marry a person you not only love but like a whole lot. Love and like can sometimes waiver, but as long as you truly like your mate you can find your way back to love and a mutual respect.

When the girls were little, I sometimes found it difficult to focus on Tony and his needs. At different times in our marriage, the love I felt for him wasn’t always a strong burning desire. I didn’t feel that insatiable urge to jump him every time I saw him, and I was often happy when he had business out of town. His absences gave me more time to deal with the demands of the girls with a little personal time left over for me. I had to remind myself not to get comfortable and treat him like a roommate. Because I’ve always liked him and enjoyed his company, I was able to take that like and find my way back to a burning insatiable love and desire. As your relationship matures, love changes.  It’s important to recognize and identify what the changes are and why they have occurred.

The second rule is that everyone should do what they do best!

Tony and I have a kind of traditional marriage. Not because we planned it, but because it organically worked out that way. We respect each other’s strong suits and talents, which naturally divided the responsibilities.

For instance, I preferred that he didn’t handle the girls’ schedules, activities, and personal needs, because he wasn’t going to do it as thoroughly as I would. It’s not that he wasn’t capable of caring for his children, it just wasn’t going to be 100% to my liking.  Since we both knew that, he was happy to take a back seat. When it came to investing in certain opportunities, I didn’t have the time nor desire to do the due diligence and research to make sure every deal was solid. Tony actually enjoys that, and he’s very thorough and focused, so those responsibilities best suit him.

It’s not that the other person is not capable of doing the task, it’s just admitting that you don’t know everything, and some things other people just do better. This respect for each other’s capabilities and interests helped our partnership grow a stronger bond because we learned to trust each other when it was our turn to take the lead in a particular matter.

My favorite rule, however, is that everyone needs to have something to do.

If you have one person always at home waiting on the other person to help fulfill themselves and their life, trouble is ahead. Of course, we always have great times together by ourselves and special times with our girls.  But, we are separate people with different jobs and interest. I always say, ‘I don’t have time to run after a grown man, I’m busy!’ I don’t nag Tony about the things that he likes to do that may not include me, nor does he try to clock my daily whereabouts. We trust each other and try not to get on the other person’s nerves.  After 30 years, we’ve been pretty successful when it comes to that part!

For us, a foundation of friendship, trusting each other’s talents, and allowing for independence has kept our love (and like) alive for over 30 years.