Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. Somehow this year, it seems like a very long time, much longer than the measly 12 years of 2011 (my husband is always glad that we got married in 1999; makes figuring out anniversaries super easy!).
So I am shamelessly ripping this off of some other blogs I’ve seen, but I liked the concept of learning one thing every year (or some years, more than one) that you have been married. Here they are:
1. Get Lucky
This is not what it sounds like. Okay, MAYBE it is, but it also means that I feel ridiculously lucky to have blundered into the absolute love of my life when we were teeny baby youngsters (21 and 22). Luck. Sometimes I think it’s nothing more than that!
These things sound different, but they’re really pretty similar. Get your “stuff” messed with on a regular basis so that you can have some self-awareness and communication skills for yourself, and it will greatly benefit your relationship too, if not save it.
3. Kill the “wife”
I read this book that’s now out of print, called something like, “How to kill a wife.” What it meant was to recognize that concept of “wifehood” and to kill it. There aren’t any rules about who should do what; just because you have a marriage certificate doesn’t mean you have to start cooking four course meals and ironing shirts, if that’s not what you did already. Kill that concept in your own head, make your own guidelines about chores and such, and things will be much smoother.
4. Go ahead and have a kid, or two.
I realize that there are some people who never want to have children. This is not what I’m talking about. I’m also not talking about if you’re in the middle of MAJOR financial problems or marital strife. But if you want to have them “someday” and go back and forth about what it would all MEAN and what you have to DO and how you want to be READY, just have a kid. You’ll never be ready. You won’t know what it will mean. You’ll have to renegotiate everything. But you SO WON’T EVEN CARE.
5. Don’t wait to do fun stuff together
Do not wait til you retire. Go travel NOW. We’ve heard this from older couples and we are trying to do this. You never know.
6. Never stop learning from your parents’ marriages
What they did well; what they didn’t do so well.
7. Have your own lives
Then you’ll have stuff to talk about at dinner and at night.
8. Find a TV show (or two) that you both like
This seemed impossible for Scott and I, but we’ve figured out a few over the years. We have very different tastes as far as TV goes, but when we both like a show it’s fun to have kind of mini-dates to catch up. This concept also helps when you want to spend time together and are tired/don’t have cash/kids are home/etc.
9. Come to an understanding on faith
I don’t exactly think you need to have the same religion; I’ve seen marriages work with two people of different faiths. But understanding each other and knowing what traditions you’re going to celebrate and pass on seems vital. Scott and I have different views on some things, but we understand that a relationship with Jesus is important for both of us and for our children, and try to make it a priority together.
10. Know about the “cave” and the talking
I tell this to couples in marriage counseling. Usually one partner, when feeling conflicted or deciding something, needs to go in a “cave” for a while to figure it out. If the other partner follows them in, it could be like dealing with an angry bear and could be a while before a resolution can be reached. The other partner wants to talk it out and needs to do that, but maybe after the “cave.” Both are equally important and need to be respected. Sometimes Scott would even say, “I’m going in my cave.” It’s good to know that a little time can make for better discussion later.
11. Don’t be contemptuous
The biggest predictor of divorce was not what you’d expect (I studied this one year for marriage counseling). It was contempt, or eye-rolling. Watch it on this…I am guilty of it sometimes and it is NOT OKAY.
Self-explanatory, but do fun stuff. In our house, I am the appointed “minister of fun,” and will figure out crazy fun stuff to do. With kids or without.
In every marriage sermon I do, there’s basically one theme. It’s that loving God will help you love each other more. I believe this to be true. Working on your relationship with God, going to church and worshipping, learning more, growing, these things WILL help your marriage.
I guess I could have distilled this list down to #1 and #13, God and luck, but it was fun to write. Happy Anniversary, Scottie, I love you.