Today my husband and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. I’m a little shocked because it does not seem like it’s really been nine years since we said our vows. However, when I look at the two little guys running around and think about the various trials we’ve been through together, it does feel like nine years.
The turning point, and I admit that this was horrible of me, was when I broke up with my “long-time” boyfriend of 7 months. I didn’t want to be sitting at home on Saturday night wondering what my ex was doing, so I asked my husband via a note in Algebra when he was going to take me out on that date. I know, horrible and manipulative, right? Little did I know that I would actually have fun and like the guy!
So, here we are…fourteen years later celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t be any happier with our life together. The man is my best friend – in every sense. He’s the one I love to argue with, the one I go to first for advice, the one who knows all my secrets, the one who isn’t afraid to tell me exactly what he thinks, and the list could go on forever… This doesn’t mean that we don’t have heated arguments and that we haven’t had our struggles because we have.
I thought that since this is wedding season and many of you know someone who is getting married (some of you are the ones getting married) that I would share with you what I believe are the secrets to the 9 years of wedded “bliss” my husband and I have experienced.
1. Talk it out. As do all couples, my husband and I have been through many arguments together…some of them have been pretty heated. However, we have always been able to come out on the same page. (We might still be on different lines, but always on the same page.) How do we do it? We talk through it. We vocalize what is bothering us about the issue and why we feel the way we do. Basically, we put it all out there…every bit of it. This gives us a place to start so we can begin to work through the issue. The key for us is to talk it out…no taking a break or sleeping on it. We talk it out right then and there so we can go on with our evening.
2. Put each other first. Aside from God, we put each other first. This means that when someone asks something of either one of us, we always talk to the other one first. When something comes up and we don’t have the opportunity to talk to each other before answering, we both try to think of our spouse first. Finally, we respect each other and our opinions and feelings about things. We try not to be critical of each other, but when we offend each other, we apologize. That’s a biggie too…we apologize to one another.
3. Continue to “date.” Finally, we both agree that we have to continue to make our “alone” time a priority and go out on dates together. With little kids, this can be hard to do and, sometimes, it costs extra because we have to hire a babysitter. However, it is worth it. While we both love our kids, we understand that in time they will graduate from high school, move out and start their own lives…leaving us alone with each other. If we don’t continue to date and spend quality time alone, without the kids, we will lose who we are as a couple and basically be living like strangers when the kids graduate. So, we make it a priority to go out on one or two dates every month together.
The one thing that I believe is an essential in any marriage is having the ability to be flexible and compromise with one another. You aren’t always going to be able to have it your way, but if you are flexible and willing to work with your spouse, then you’re off to a good start.
Every marriage is different and what works for one marriage doesn’t work for another. The tips above are three of the “secrets” that makes my marriage work. You and your spouse will have to find out what it is that works for you and go with it.
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