Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tantalizing Thursday: Recipe for a Happy Marriage

Welcome to Tantalizing Thursday at Chief 187 Chatter. Today’s feature will not include recipes for food, although a recipe will indeed be the focus of the piece. Tomorrow, April 29, 2011, the wedding of Prince William and his longtime love Kate Middleton will occur. With the press having a field day with covering the minutia associated with a Royal wedding (or any wedding for that matter), my thoughts have turned to what I, a lowly commoner from the States, could offer the young, beautiful couple as a wedding gift. Since materially there is nothing for me to present they themselves cannot get, I realized my greatest gift is my imparted knowledge. Thus, for Tantalizing Thursday: The Royal Wedding Edition, I am serving up a Recipe for a Happy Marriage.
I consider myself a good chef when it comes to creating this recipe. I was trained by my husband’s and my family who have one hundred and sixty years of marriage between three couples. My own relationship with my husband has lasted through eighteen years of marriage (nearly 25 years together total) and I am thirty-eight years old! I’ve gathered my best advice for the newlyweds (and any couple) and compiled them here. Now, without further ado, and in no particular order, is the Recipe for a Happy Marriage.

1. Be honest about all the important stuff. Whether it’s who you want to spend the holidays with or what is really annoying you, it’s vital to own up to how you feel with honesty.
2. Don’t take each other for granted. Keep your spouse a priority in your life and show him/her how much they mean to you regularly.
3. When your spouse does take you for granted, take it as a compliment that your spouse thinks of you as a “given”, someone who will always be around.
4. Be romantic. It’s important to keep reminding each other why you fell in love and how you enjoy that part of your life together.
5. Be silly and laugh together. Laughter can get you through the roughest crisis, is great exercise, and just makes you feel good. If you can laugh together you can weather any storm.
6. Communicate. Really be present for your conversations. Listen and hear all that is being said to you. Talk about everything: your hopes and dreams, the parent/teacher conference debriefing, a work situation, and your needs. This is your partner, treat him/her as such.
7. Do things together. Make sure you cultivate the friendship in the marriage and try to have things to do you both enjoy doing together.
8. Do things apart. Make time to do things separately. It brings a new element to your marriage, gives you things to talk about, and adds an air of mystery to your relationship.
9. See each other as members of the same team working together. Stop thinking of yourselves as “he and I” or “she and I” but simply as “we”. You are separate entities, true, but when you are a family you must think of yourselves as one to make the best decisions for the union.
10. Have reasonable expectations. You’re not perfect and neither is he/she. Dream big but understand that small steps toward a large goal are fabulous just as small milestones are HUGE!
11. Tell each other what you’d like giftwise. Your partner is NOT a mind reader.
12. Prioritize regularly. People and situations change. Be sure to check in with what’s important for each of you periodically.
13. Love your children unconditionally, but always put your marriage first; it is the best gift you can give them and each other.
14. Flirt. Show your spouse how sexy, interesting, alluring, and fabulous you think he or she is. Keep the pilot light lit in your marriage.
15. Accept. We are all flawed. We chose our spouse for a reason, so accept the good with the bad.
16. Strive to grow, together. When we stop learning we stagnate and eventually die. Keep learning, growing, moving, and challenging yourself and the marriage. If one person in the marriage grows and the other partner doesn’t, the marriage could very well be doomed.
17. Make love even when you think you don’t want to. The more you do the more connected you feel, the happier you are, and the more you want to! Sex is not the most important thing in a marriage, but, if it is missing, it is a huge problem.
18. Kiss/hold hands/hug all of the time to maintain physical intimacy outside of the bedroom.
19. Do nice things just because. Start her car in the middle of winter to warm it up, make him a cup of coffee and bring it to him, clean the bathroom when it is not your turn, fill the car with gas so the other person doesn’t have to. So much to do to just be nice.
20. Really listen to one another – good, bad, scary, dreamy. Part of communication is the ability to listen.
21. Support one another’s dreams, hobbies, aspirations, and work.
22. Remember how you felt when you were infatuated with him/her.
23. Don’t criticize your spouse about how they do the laundry, drive the car, make the dinner, and/or care for the children.
24. Friend each other on Facebook and follow each other on Twitter.
25. Praise, cheer, and congratulate one another.
26. Hug, console, and let your spouse vent when need be. Don’t pass judgment or offer advice unless you’re asked.
27. Take pictures together. Be sweet, loving, and connected in the pictures then decorate your living space or at least your bedroom with these happy pictures of you as a couple. Update them often.
28. Cuddle – on the bed, couch, car, wherever and whenever the mood strikes.
29. Play games together. Don’t worry about who wins or who is better, simply enjoy the time spent together.
30. Keep the “spark” that ignited your passion for one another!

These thirty bits of advice are part of a subjective recipe for a Happy Marriage. As any good cook would do, take the parts you like, add a few ‘ingredients’ of your own, and keep these as guidelines. I wish William and Kate the best of luck as they embark on married life together. I hope these notions will be the best wedding gifts they have ever received!


  1. I collect things like this for one day (God willing) when I will be married. I will add this to my collection. Wonderful advice and lovely writing as always. xox

  2. When I get married I'll have this nailed to the wall :-)