Today, August 12, 2021, Amy and I celebrate 32 years of marriage. Thirty-two years, how can we be married 32 years?!? With over three decades of marriage I have some expertise. I have some things to share about marriage and preparing for marriage. I thought I would share some advice. Advice that contributed to the success of our marriage.
Advice from 32 years!
- Hold Hands Often. In other words, just enjoy being together as you stand together against the world.
- Say, “I Love You” Every Day. There is something comforting and almost magic about those words. Don’t be like the man whose wife asked, “Do yo still love me?” He replied, “I told you I loved you the day we got married, I’ll let you know if I change my mind.”
- Never God to Sleep Angry at Each Other. Work out your disagreements. Learn to say you are sorry and to ask for forgiveness. Be willing and ready to forgive.
- Help Each Other Grow. Focus on your growth toward each other and your spiritual growth in Christ.
- Enjoy What is Good and Beautiful. It is so easy to forget all the wonderful things about your spouse that attracted you to them. It is too easy to begin focusing on the little negatives and let them grow in your mind. Learn to accentuate the positives and eliminated the negatives in your mind. Look for the best in each other.
- Say “Thank You” Daily. I know a couple married over 50 years and every meal I have had at their home I hear him say to his wife, “thank you for dinner.” Their grown children tell me that he has said that every meal for as long as they can remember. Say and show thanks for the help. love, and presence of your spouse.
- Be the Right Person. Notice that I did not say find the one person God has for you – your soul-mate. I do not believe that there is only one person out there for you. I think we work on ourselves to be the right person for our spouse. When both of us are pointed that direction our marriage will only get better.
- Be Understanding. You husband is different from you. Your wife is not just like you. Celebrate the differences and learn the benefits of those differences. Be understanding of each other and learn to work as one.
- Make ordinary times extraordinary. This is not as difficult as it seems. Simply slip notes of encouragement and love into work papers or pockets so they can find it while they are at work. Call or text during the day . . . just because. Say “I love you,” with an embrace and a kiss at the end of the workday.
- Make time for special occasions. In other words, KEEP DATING. Leave the children with family or friends and go out on a date. This does not have to be a full, expensive evening. This can be a trip to a fast food place and a walk in the park or at the mall. Just take time for the two of you. Now that our son is away at college, this is easier for us.
- Practice spontaneity. I know that practicing being spontaneous sounds like an oxymoron but stay with me on this. As couples we need to be prepared or at least be open to the idea of the moment. We need to realize we can drop what we are doing, turn off the game and do something together for a while. Whatever you leave undone to be spontaneous will be waiting when you get back and you can check the scores or watch the replay for that game.
- Be compassionate. This is as simple as listening to each other and showing empathy to their personal and work struggles. This necessitates kind responses and conversation. This offers and provides assistance when needed. Compassion is a practical demonstration of the love you profess.
Long term, happy marriages keep the romance alive.