Saturday, January 7, 2023

Thirty Years

January 9, 1993


On January 9, 1993, at 20 years old, I said “I do,” to the man I had been in love for six years. He was 23. We were young, na├»ve, inexperienced, and a bit crazy, but we knew our hearts. We wanted to embark on our married life together.

Thirty years have passed in the blink of an eye. Thirty years that produced three wonderful children. There were endless diaper changes, countless tears, temper tantrums, health scares, life-altering decisions, and love.

Always love.

During these thirty years I’ve acquired wisdom. Although far from “perfect”, we are still happily married. We have faced proverbial Giants, Dragons, and Pandemics and we are still together.

We’ve had doubts, droughts, floods, disappointments, setbacks, and famine, yet we always loved one another.

Always.

Raising children has been richly rewarding and God’s greatest blessing on us. Yet, children are depleting to a romantic relationship. We had to learn to navigate Parenthood without sacrificing Couplehood.



Our three children
December 24, 2022


We chose love.

Always.

We don’t always agree and at times have grown apart. Then, because we love – and like – one another, we find our way back. We choose to stay in love – and together.

Always.

I offer some wisdom to share. Take what works for you.

We are Human.

We are fallible, but we choose love.

Always.


Thirty Years of Married Wisdom

1.       Put the Couple first, above children, above self. The Couple is sacred.

2.       Be an individual. To bring the best to the couple you must live your life. Experience, explore, create, interact. Every day you will have something new to share with your spouse.

3.       Find time for intimacy throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Intimacy is not solely sex. It’s emotional, it’s physical. It’s trust, comfort, and relaxation with your spouse. Without intimacy, sex is not fulfilling to the Couple.

4.       Make time for sex. Intimate sex. Passionate sex. Quick sex. There should always be time for sex.

5.       Learn that it’s okay to not have sex when you are in pain, exhausted, sick, or not mentally into it. But when these excuses are constant, seek help professionally.

6.       Go to the doctor regularly to stay healthy. Dentist and eye doctors, too. Stay in peak physical condition.

7.       Exercise regularly. Take care of your body and heart and they will take care of you.

8.       Seek professional therapy – marriage and individual if necessary. Learn to communicate better, love yourself more, and strengthen your marriage. Win-Win.

9.       Speak about your spouse in glowing terms around everyone you speak. Never demean your spouse in public. Never air your “dirty laundry”.

10.   Let your spouse overhear you praise him/her. Often.

11.   Talk about problems with your spouse before they fester.

12.   Decide who oversees paying the bills. Both partners should be aware of the home budget and financial goals and live accordingly.

13.   Chores should be fairly distributed. Only you and your spouse can determine what is “fair”.

14.   Hold hands.

15.   Sit together.

16.   Have Date Nights. Or Date Days. Or Date Mornings. They needn’t cost money, it’s about spending time together and making one another the priority.

17.   Learn to compromise. In a Couple, one person isn’t always going to get their way. It’s not 50/50 that makes a couple survive, it’s 100/100.

18.   Learn to have a sense of humor about Life. Life is stressful and dark at times, but laughter can brighten dark times.

19.   Honor your Couple milestones. Wedding anniversaries should be observed with reverence and celebration. EVERY YEAR.

20.   Do things apart. If one of you enjoys something the other does not, spend time apart so the individuals in the Couple can enjoy their recreational time.

21.   Do things together. Find a few things to do together that bring you both joy and enhance the Couple.

22.   Be kind to your spouse’s parents/family. If you love your spouse, it makes sense to love – or like – his/her family. There are always extreme exceptions, but overall, it doesn’t hurt to be kind, friendly, and loving.

23.   Fighting is part of marriage. When you stop communicating, it’s over. But fighting should have a time when you each listen to one another and figure out what’s going on, and there should be a resolution.

24.   Sing together. There should be at least a few songs you both enjoy. Belt them out in the car, in the shower, or whenever it makes you happy.

25.   Be patient. We all learn Life’s lessons at different paces. Allow your spouse time to navigate Life.

26.   Compliment one another.

27.   Complement one another.

28.   Bring one another coffee, tea, water, seltzer… Small acts of kindness are vitally important.

29.   Reminisce about how your fell in love, your wedding, and other early romantic milestones often. These keep the Couple aware of their powerful connection. Continue to make new romantic milestones that keep the marriage enduring.

30.   Kiss, always.

 

There are so many other nuggets of wisdom, but these made my top list.

As our 30th Anniversary is upon us, I am most thankful our marriage has endured.

I’m thankful for all the help we’ve gotten to get to this point. Help from our parents and families, from our children and our friends. We also have had tremendous help from two therapists, two 12-Step Programs, and a stubborn belief that we belong together.

We are better together.

We love each other.

Always.

December 24, 2022