How We’ve Made it 30 Years: A Letter from my Husband.

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It seems that everyone else knows the secret to making marriages last—everyone except for us.

It seems that speculation abounds as to which relationships and marriages will last for any length of time, and for how long.

Everyone has ideas about what it takes to have lasting lifelong love, and what should and should not be taking place in a couple’s life for a relationship to be healthy.

But, what does it take to keep love and a marriage strong?

Now, I know there are a plethora of helpful books, articles and blogs written that discuss just this topic. I should know—I have been reading these since the beginning of our marriage. Well before that, if I’m being honest.

Countless references, I couldn’t even begin to guess how many, from every angle and perspective—religious, spiritual, psychological—and from couples that want to share how they made it to 10, 15, 20, or however many years. I have really appreciated all that they had to say, and I still read them, but from a very different perspective—one where I look to see if we live or have applied any of the suggestions they have made.

It’s dizzying to keep up with it all.

You know how it goes…the proper way of conducting yourself during the dating phase, best types of premarital counseling, making sure to stay in shape, always looking your best, saying I love you, not going to bed angry, having date nights, keeping sex alive, developing your own interests, having time apart to miss each other, learning each other’s love languages and so many other dos and don’ts.

Some of these things we’ve done and some we haven’t, and I know that some would definitely not work for us and that we understand some concepts entirely differently than another couple who reads them.

As I sit here, 30 years into a marriage with a man that I adore and love more than I adequately know how to put into words, I can’t honestly give an answer as to how we have been together all these years. All I know is that I love him with every fiber of my being: body, soul and spirit!

Love is more important to me than anything else that this world has to offer, it will be all that will matter to me in the end.

I asked my husband the same question: How have we been married 30 years after marrying so young? His response brought me to my knees, though I’m not sure it provided any clear answers. I’ll let you be the judge.


We’ve had some pretty cool conversations lately, with all that is going on and the life changes we’re evolving into—empty-nesters, reverting back to being teenagers and now grandparents! What a journey!

But then, you stumped me when you asked if I could explain how we’ve been together for 30ish years after marrying so young, and all my mind could do was conjure up a whirlwind of memories.

I sat speechless and helpless reeling for an explanation. The words did not come, only memories of what we were, what we are and what we want to become. All I could think of was for you to jump into my mind and see, experience and relive all those memories, but through my eyes, my perspective and maybe then you’d understand. Alas, you’re not Spock, so I will engage to find an answer that I hope will satisfy.

I’ll try to keep this appropriate, though let’s be real, it’s what I feel, it’s who I am and it needs to be said. I see little difference in my feelings for you since day one, if there were a change it could only be positive growth in an evolutionary grasp of what love truly means to me and how you have helped me understand that over the years.

Find a comfortable position, read on and please don’t laugh at my raw and unfiltered feelings.

My vision of us being somewhat abstract, I keep it all hidden inside. Who would understand? Who wouldn’t laugh? And yet, it’s all so real to me. When we met two worlds collided and a whole new world was formed from the cosmic collision that now has expanded into a universe surrounding the light of our passion and all that we’ve created from the essence of our beings.

You were hauntingly familiar to me when we met. The closer we became the more I felt the sensation that this was not the first time. You were exotic, cosmic and strange, though somehow familiar as your soul, my soul, our soul, was reunited. I could bore you with what an amazing person you are. I could go on and on about the friend, mother, wife etc. that you are. I could go on and on about all that you do, seen and unseen. And still I would sit here, no words forming in my mouth, just flashes and floods of memories and the smile of an afternoon daydream on my face.

I still get weak-kneed when you kiss me. My body still shudders when we are close. I love your body as much as your mind. Your heart and soul become more and more attractive each passing year. I still love watching you put on makeup, and still wonder why you cover up what is already beautiful.

Your energy and compassion for others captivates me, and though I become jealous, I know you must—it’s who you are. I love the way you smell, without perfume. I love the way you look, without makeup. I love the way you think, unscripted, raw and unapologetic. I love that your adventures are my adventures. I love that your dreams are my dreams. I love that when we’re alone and the house is quiet I can still hear music. I love catching you looking at me. I love watching you perform menial tasks knowing you’ve always got my back. I love that you challenge me, and indeed asked me this question and making me contemplate all these things. As the Emerson, Lake and Palmer song says, “…still you turn me on.”

I’ve often wondered if you felt what I feel, the sensation of electricity exploding across my body when you touch me. I want you to experience the journey through the cosmos you send me on when we’re intimate. I want you to feel the warm summer breeze that wraps around my heart when I catch you staring at me.

When we were teenagers and would be apart, I would ache to be near you. When we were newlyweds, my body and soul were ablaze with an intensity of being able to have you all to myself. As young parents, I wanted to parade you all over town with pride. And now, as empty-nesters, I want you to know what you’ve done to me, what you mean to me and why I even bother getting out of bed every morning that my life would be worth so much.

And yet I sat speechless in front of you, unable to answer a simple question, if that were true, and express to you how you’ve made our existence—our lives, our children, our relationship—on so many levels an eternal commitment that I never would have realized could be a reality.

It’s truly unfathomable to me that I would be so lucky as to have someone in my life that is more precious than my own life, than life itself. How do I pour out my feelings to you and retain in some sense of clarity what only my heart, mind and soul have known all these years?

Love is just a word, but my feelings for you are pure, erotic and primeval energy.

How exactly has 30ish years come and gone and we’re still two love-struck teenagers deeply intertwined and living out the dreams we would speak of back in the day, before marriage, talking on the phone till the wee hours of the morning?

I don’t honestly know. It just seems to me that it works.

Each day has brought something new and we embraced it together. Even those days we didn’t see eye to eye, those days we’d love to forget, they happened and here we still are. Seems to me we just grew together, experienced together, and that we choose our lives to be together and never apart. While you might be technically categorized as my wife, you’ll always be my best friend, and who doesn’t want to be with their best friend 24-7?

And yet, here I sit, with all my colorful words at a loss, stumped for a clear and concise answer. In my defense, I’ve never needed a reason, I’ve never sought a reason nor have I ever wanted a reason why, 30ish years later, we’re still here living out our lives together.

You’ve taught me about love, and a plethora of other things. And although my layers and walls might have me presumed as a very internal, quiet and stoic person, I am very much alive inside and ever so grateful for, not only the gift of life, but that I would be so blessed to spend it with you.

Did I answer the question? I doubt it. One thing is for sure, I can’t imagine being anywhere else in life than with you and am looking forward to an additional 30ish years of raw and unfiltered adventures, experiences and life as we live it.

Remember the poem I wrote a while back? It still stands…

When we speak without words…
When we embrace without touch…
When we get lost in the moment…
When our souls ache to be near…
I’d walk to the ends of the earth to find you

~ Miller

So, maybe there isn’t always a simple answer or formula for making a marriage and love last, but we feel that Emerson, Lake and Palmer say it so well…




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About Miller & Debbie Harrell

Miller and Debbie Harrell are, in the simplest of terms, two free-spirited soul mates that met in high school and have never looked back. They married, unregrettably, young and have spent the last 32ish years living life as best friends. Their daily lives, as they envision it, are opportunities to grow, experience and enjoy life in all its fullness. They have woven their lives together in this life and the next, with each day being a new adventure ready to be taken a hold of and explored for all it’s worth. They chronicle their life and adventures which can be seen on their website, Facebook or Twitter.


44 Responses to “How We’ve Made it 30 Years: A Letter from my Husband.”

  1. Marcela says:

    I lived 33 years with my husband and couldn't make it last more because unfortunately he died. I think every couple has their own way to make their relation last for long. It's been 14 years since my beloved husband left me and I'm still alone and always missing him.

    • Hi Marcela, thank you so much for sharing!! I'm incredibly sorry about losing your beloved!!!!!! I read a poem recently that was written by a man that lost his wife of 65 years, it had actually been 72 years since they began their relationship, and his words really touched me. I think you might also understand his words and appreciate how he feels, it is called "Ode to Kath" by Bob Lowe. You might want to search for this, it is very moving.
      I also agree that each couple finds their own path and what works for them. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Jim says:

    Beautiful and touching. The best part is this is the way I feel about my wife of 31 years! I will share it with her, but I'm envious of Miller's ability to write what I feel. We've had similar paths – married young, had four children, put them all through college, have laughed and cried together over so many things (and will do so again and again in the future). And now we are free-birds (empty nestors to some) planning our escape to an endless summer. Thank you

    • MAD Hippies says:

      That is really amazing, Jim! It is a special thing to have someone to walk this path with and to feel that they are there for you in all areas and seasons of life. Like you said, to laugh and cry with, and to know that they will take care of you and you them, happily. Thank you so much for sharing about your beautiful relationship!! You do write beautifully as well, and I know that your sweetheart would agree. BTW…I love the term, free-birds! We might have to borrow that from you two, it also fits us very well. Peace, Debbie

  3. michele d says:

    What a wonderful story from your husband! That was beautiful!

  4. Rebecca Swenor says:

    I am in total ah at this letter from husband to wife.This is the most sweetest and raw letter I have ever read. It is nothing but love from husband to wife. I am thankful I read this. Please know that you are both so lucking. :).

    • MAD Hippies says:

      Thank you, Rebecca!! I was so touched that he wrote with such openness, and to hear that kind of sensitivity and validation of what I always felt was the love between us. I do so blessed and very lucky. Thank you again, Debbie

  5. kimberlybolden says:

    It's a true treasure to have your husband honor you in this way!

  6. Such a wonderful post!! My husband and I have only been married for 2 years, but I'm confident that it's the beginning of many years together 🙂 thanks for your sweet post. Such great inspiration!

    • MAD Hippies says:

      Nikki, it has been the desire to develop these memories and to cherish each other in the good and the bad days for us. I'm sure you will have a lifetime of memories to look back on and share as well. Thank you for your kind words! Peace, Debbie

  7. Danielle K says:

    This was just lovely! I've been married for 6 years and I'm just in awe of this letter 🙂

  8. Kaylee says:

    Wow! What a absolute treasure and such beautiful words from a man that is completely smitten by you!

  9. Amanda @ PIA says:

    What a beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing! I am going to share this with my husband – only 3 years in, but hopefully many more to go!

  10. Randi says:

    This is such a sweet post! I appreciate you sharing!

  11. Caroline says:

    I think you're right. There is no secret to a perfect marriage and it's no easy but with a lot of love, communication and a bit of imagination it can go a long way!

    • MAD Hippies says:

      You absolutely right, Caroline! It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. We do love each other dearly and always keep in view that we are human and have bad days and love each other through it all. Thank you for your comment!

  12. Tara Joy says:

    This is the sweetest thing I have read! I can only how that after 30 years with my husband we will feel this way still towards each other! Being asked how we've been together for so long and just have the flood of endless memories!

  13. This was just beautiful, Debbie. My husband and I just celebrated 28 years of marriage. I can totally relate to all that was said here. Heartwarming post!

  14. Tiffany says:

    This is wonderful! Next month my husband and I will be married for 6 years. We are high school sweethearts and got married at 22, right in the middle of college! There's no secret, but lots of hard work. It's not always easy, but it's well worth it.

  15. Kelly says:

    So so beautiful to have that kind of love throughout the years! Enjoy your journey (love this song so much too)

  16. jsmakegreengogreen says:

    That is amazing! It's so great to see things like this as there is SO much of the negativity and the loved loss stories out there. Thanks for sharing, truly.

  17. When I read the title to this post, I thought, yes, please tell me! How does one make it to 30 years and beyond? Communication is clearly one of the ways you two have made it why with his beautiful letter and all. Cheers to making it!

    • MAD Hippies says:

      Katie, we are contemplating what we think has been key to our relationship lasting and then putting pen to paper to share. Love and communication is so important. We'll keep you posted when we get it spelled out. Thanks for your comment! Peace, Debbie

  18. Beautiful post ! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. It's such a heart warming letter your husband wrote. My parents have been married for 50 years and, my mom was fourteen when she married my daddy. It's hard to find lasting and loving relationships like the one you have with your husband and the one my parents have!

  19. Samantha Lee says:

    So beautiful, so inspiring.. my favorite line was this one, "You were hauntingly familiar to me when we met. The closer we became the more I felt the sensation that this was not the first time. You were exotic, cosmic and strange, though somehow familiar as your soul, my soul, our soul, was reunited." Thank you for being an inspiration to young married women like me!

    • MAD Hippies says:

      It is so ironic, Samantha! We have never discussed this before, and that line that you quoted is "exactly" how I would describe my feelings for Miller. It was very surreal to read that and realized he felt the exact same thing. I cried and cried! Thank you for your thoughts. Peace, Debbie

  20. waldorfsaladandcottagefries says:

    You both are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing

  21. Shannon says:

    How beautiful! That's the reason you are still together for 30 years…..true love.

  22. @angelchavis says:

    Sounds like he really loves you! I think it is nice to get married young if you are in love. Why not? My parents married young and spent thirty something years together in marriage. God bless!

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