Perhaps the title seems a bit short-sighted. But while I made a commitment to forever, we’ve made it to ten and that seems like as good a time as any to share our favorite pieces of wisdom for how we’ve come this far. At minimum, these tips will help you stay married for at least ten years. Maybe. Hopefully.
1. Lots of Laughing (Bill & Rhonda O, married 30 years)
If you aren’t laughing, you’re crying. I prefer to laugh to keep from crying. Laugh at him. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with each other. Don’t ever marry someone who doesn’t have the ability to make you laugh. And not just a giggle, but that uproarious laughter that you eventually make fun of the other one for. The kind that is infectious and full and the sign of a good life. Because even on the worst days, laughter makes it better.
2. Talk about the big things BEFORE you say I do.
Lately, I’ve heard more stories of, “I knew he didn’t want children but…” or I thought she would CHANGE once we got married. WRONG. You WILL change in many ways. But expecting one particular change when they seem adamant before the ring, don’t count on it. Decide before the wedding if you want kids one day (the number can vary a little, I’m stilling pining for a 3rd, Jim is pretty close to giving in). Think you’d rather live in another country? Don’t wait until you’re ten years in to spring that on them.
3. Don’t let him clip your wings, he should help you fly!
One of my absolute favorite parts of being married to Jim is that he lets me be who I am. For years, he has encouraged me to reach for the stars and always supports me in my endeavors. My crazy plan to grow a blog? Him: What domain name do you want now? The idea to buy a treadmill despite past gym failures? Him: Go ahead. I believe in you! Marriage should never diminish you as a person, but rather help you to become the best you could ever dream of being.
4. Expect annoyance
No one tells you on that beautiful wedding day as you traipse through the flowers and the fields and the meadows that this love of your life will annoy you. He will leave the seat up. She will not do the laundry (basically ever. That doesn’t get better). I’m here to share with you that they will annoy you. And often. And you will annoy them. Probably more. But the best part is this:
Consider marriage a twisted form of Pay It Forward.
5. Learn how to make at least one meal they like.
Even if you are the worst cook in the universe, find one thing you can successfully make. Even if it’s a mean box of macaroni and cheese (may I recommend any shaped macaroni? They are inherently better and thereby assist you in making the meal of the century). The fact that you can get the dang dinner on the table will soon be cause for celebration. Make it edible and you’re basically the spouse winning at all the things.
This one cannot be stressed enough. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt, even when you do not want to. A recent poll on my Facebook wall had this as a response repeatedly. You’re not perfect. Neither are they. A little show of grace can go a long way (like when he forgets to take the garbage out and you forgot to clean the bathroom. again).
7. Learn the language of encouragement
Admittedly, I am still working on this. But in the depths of some of my most intense pain – thinking that we would never have a baby on our own – my husband is the one who encouraged me to keep walking, to keep pursuing, and to keep dreaming. One month later, we became pregnant with Charlie Bear. I have never been so thankful for his encouragement.
8. Share the same spiritual foundation. (Momma & Poppy, married 43 years)
Beliefs should be shared. An inherent understanding of faith and foundation mean you are set up for leading your family on the same path. Find that spiritual foundation together and work hard to sustain it. For us, God and faith are intertwined. He is our example of ultimate love, commitment and devotion.
9. Never Trust a Fart.
This gem was submitted by my husband. Sorry that I wrote out the word “fart,” mom.*
** I’m also not sure why this meme has clown children, but it’s both terrifying and delightful. Kind of like marriage.
10. Let him contribute at least something to the conversation and understand that he WILL say things that are entirely inappropriate in any given situation. Then love him anyway.
What do you think is the secret to a happy marriage? Even more marital wisdom…
Happy 10th Anniversary to man who shares this crazy life with me. You help make life beautiful. Love you forever and a day, sweets. xo