On a recent trip to another city, I checked in to the hotel while Jerry was unloading from our van. Miss V, the front desk clerk, recognized my name from an earlier phone call and greeted me warmly.

I asked if I could see the room before completing the paperwork. Even though a room is identified as ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, there is a wide range of interpretations. I always like to check the room first to be sure it will meet our needs.

Miss V gave me the key and pointed me in the right direction. Thankfully, the room worked for us. I went back to the desk to tell her and complete the process. She struck up a conversation with me, asking if I was traveling with my mother (oh how I wish for one more time to travel with her). I told her I was with my husband.

She asked how long we’d been together and expressed awe when I told her we recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. Miss V congratulated me and asked, “What’s your secret?”

You’d think I’d have a ready answer since I write and speak about marriage. But I pondered for a few minutes and then replied, “Grace. An enormous amount of grace.” I shared we are both keenly aware we married humans, who make mistakes, just about every day! By sharing forgiveness with one another and keeping our expectations realistic, we have lots of opportunities to give and receive grace daily.

Miss V shared with me she is going through her first, and hopefully only, divorce. She told me she was dating someone because she needs love. But she hoped the divorce resolved quickly, because she believed “in the eyes of God I am still married and should not be dating.” She continued to say she wanted to, “do it right.”

I agreed with her that getting her relationships and priorities right in the eyes of God is a critical foundation for a good relationship and marriage. She shared an example of how grace could benefit her now in her relationships.

I invited Miss V to visit my blog and read some of my posts about marriage. I don’t know if she did or will. Miss V if you are reading this, I’d love to connect with you again, please email me.

What about you, my friendly reader—if someone asked you for the secret to marriage, how would you reply? I want to hear your ideas!