Hi there! I know, it’s been forever since I have posted a Blog! I have been focusing on my Podcast; From the Ring to Everything, but I noticed that I really miss writing, so here I am!
My husband and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary! Yes, 40 Years! I still can’t believe it when I say it; mainly because there is no way I am old enough to be married that long.
As I look back on our many years together, I realized how much things changed over the years, not in a bad way, but in a different and better way.
Several of our friends get married around the same time we did and many of those couples are still together and sadly, some are not. It saddens me when I hear of a marriage breaking up and I do my best to offer whatever advice I can.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had our share of problems and challenges throughout the years, heck, marriage is no fairytale. It’s hard work, challenging and messy at times and you need to work at it every day. Thankfully, we never gave up and we learned to focus on the things that really matter. So, I decided to share some advice to help you have a long and happy marriage. Enjoy…
1. Be Respectful and Considerate.
I know, this seems like a no brainer, but it’s not always that easy. When you are mad at each other or get in an argument, you just want to vent and tell it like it is. That’s fine, express your frustration and anger, but NEVER resort to name calling or using profanity to each other. This can be very damaging and hurtful to one another and let’s face it, when you make up, those words stay in your head and you can’t undo them.
2. Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry.
What do I mean by this? Well, avoid involving others into your problems. I’m not saying you can’t talk to a good friend or parent for advice, but don’t start bashing each other to friends, family and especially on social media! Talk to each other, but more importantly, listen to each other. It’s not a debate to see who “won”, it’s about being heard and moving on from there.
3. Don’t Stop Dating.
You do not have to go somewhere fancy every weekend (unless you want to), but do make time out of your day, week or month to spend some time together. Unplug from electronics and social media for a few hours and just enjoy hanging out with each other. Catch up on how each of you are doing or what you are struggling with, try something new, pick up a hobby or activity you can both enjoy, in other words, have FUN. It’s easy to loose ourselves in the everyday things of life; jobs, kids, sports, school, etc. When you finally reach the “empty nest” stage or retirement, it will just be the two of you again, so don’t forget who you are as a couple. This is your time to enjoy a new chapter of life together.
4. Support Each Other.
It’s natural to grow and change in a relationship over time, if there is no growth or change, then you’re in trouble. Where couples seem to drift apart is when they grow separately and not together. Of course, as an individual you should continue to grow as a person and develop your own interest or career path, but you should support each other and grow together as a couple too. Help one another acheive these goals.
5. Communicate and Listen.
Communication and listening is key to a good marriage and there are times I still struggle with this. Sometimes the conversations are hard to have or to hear. Discussing goals, finances, fears, things that bother you, parenting, in-laws, career changes, etc. are not easy conversations at times. But if you do not talk about issues or problems, it is very hard for the other person to know how you feel or what is bothering you, so how can they change or correct it. It’s not easy, but it is necessary, especially when it comes to the big stuff. The last thing you want to do is to let things build up and you start to resent the other person.
6. Recognize and Celebrate your Spouse’s Quirks and Differences.
Yup, that’s what I said. We all have some annoying habits and quirks, but isn’t that one of things that attracted you in the first place?
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
You know the old saying; “you don’t really know someone until you live with them”, that is very true when it comes to the things that annoy us. We all have something that probably bugs the heck out each other. But which ones are you willing to constantly “nag” about? I love my husband, he is a great guy and a hard worker. However, in 40 years of marriage, he still cannot seem to get his clothes from the floor into the laundry basket or move his glass to the kitchen from wherever he set it down at! I used to get upset and nag about it all the time. Finally, I realized that I was getting so upset over something that was not a big deal to him, so why did I keep letting it bug me? I decided that while it does bug me, I’m not going to continue to let it bother me. I had to ask myself; “Is this the hill I really want to die on”? No. I know what to expect when I walk into the room and just pick them up and move on. Pick your battles and let the small stuff go…you will both be much happier for it.
9. Show Appreciation and Affection.
We are not perfect, so do not constantly point out their flaws or shortcomings, especially in front of others. Compliment the good things they do; such as how hard they work or attending an event they aren’t that thrilled about, saving the last piece of dessert for you, or watching one of your favorite movies. Don’t be shy to show a little affection in public, like holding hands, giving each other a hug or kiss, or even saying thank you once in a while, it really goes a long way in showing your love and appreciation for one another.
9. Have a Sense of Humor.
You know what, life is messy and it throws a lot of curve balls at times. This is when you need to learn to have a sense of humor and sometimes say, “The heck with it, it is what it is”. Learn to add a little more laughter in your relationship. I promise, you WILL get through those tough and challenging times as long as you work through them together and learn to just let go.
10. Lift each other up.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do as a couple is pray for each other AND with each other. Marriage is a beautiful and wonderful sacrament. You are literally “dying to self”. Praying together is one of the most loving and intimate expressions of love you can show one another. If you are not a person of faith, lift each other up and affirm one another, be willing to be vulnerable.
So there it is, I hope this was helpful and you enjoyed reading it.
Here’s to a long and happy marriage!
Maria is a Wedding Planner who has been helping couples plan for their special day for over 10 years. She is bi-lingual and is located in Southern California. She travels throughout California and Mexico to help couples have the wedding of their dreams.
You can reach us by email at; firstname.lastname@example.org
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Be sure to listen and subscribe to our Podcast, “From the Ring to Everything”, where we discuss everything from the engagement to the first year of marriage and everything in between. You can find it on iTunes, IHeart, Stitcher, Spotify and Google podcast or by clicking on the link on our website.