Mark and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary yesterday!!! Wow, it’s amazing how my love has deepened the longer we’ve been together. We’ve been through so much together – my father’s death, his mother’s death, financial stresses, my Fibromyalgia, etc. We are best friends and a solid couple. People tell us they admire our relationship, and they can tell we really “like” each other. So I thought I’d share a few reasons why our marriage is so successful.
1) Laugh together every day.
I’m very blessed with a man that has a hilarious sense of humor. He seriously cracks me up. When my girlfriends invite me wine tasting, or camping, or out to dinner, they ALWAYS say, “Bring Mark!” because although I too am funny (I AM!!), he’s totally hilarious. And laughter really is the best medicine.
2) When you’re pissed off, take a “Time Out.”
This was advice given to me by an elderly couple when Mark and I were engaged. My good friend/adopted grandma Lillian told me that if she or her husband said something to really upset the other, they’d literally walk away from each other and didn’t come back for a minimum of thirty minutes. This way, they didn’t say something they’d regret. This has been THE BEST advice I’ve ever gotten. I am a very emotional person, and I’m a fiery Italian, so if someone says something rude to me, or hurts my feelings, my knee-jerk reaction is to say something rude back, or to cry. The most important thing to remember is that no one is perfect, and we all have different moods and emotions. If your spouse says something thoughtless to you, even if it’s as simple as they hate your potato salad (true story here), or as serious as they’ve made a big mistake, don’t immediately start fighting and insulting. Walk away from each other for at LEAST thirty minutes. Cool off so you don’t say something horrible that can never be taken back. And remember, 99% of fights are over small stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
3) Don’t throw past mistakes into each other’s faces.
Forgiveness is forgiveness. If you continue to throw a past mistake into someone’s face, that mistake will continue to erode at the relationship. It’s not a nice thing to do. It can be hard, but learn to forgive AND forget. And for goodness sake, do NOT say “I told you so”! That’s an easy way to make someone feel worse about the mistake they made.
4) When you make a mistake, OWN it, and say “I’m sorry.”
Let’s face it, it’s really annoying when someone won’t admit they’re wrong. You know that person; the one who will fight to their dying breath because they refuse to admit they made a mistake. Come on, quit wasting energy and just say, “I was wrong, I’m sorry.” It can be as simple as forgetting to pay a bill, or as serious as hurting them badly. The healing begins when you own it and apologize.
5) Don’t be afraid to sleep in different rooms.
Mark snores. That is all.
6) Say “please” and “thank you.”
Remember when your parents taught you how to be polite? To say, “excuse me” and “please” and “thank you”? This applies to your spouse as well. “Please, can you take out the garbage?” “Thank you for making dinner!” It truly boggles my mind when I see people be polite to strangers, then speak to their spouse like they’re a dog. Remember, you are friends first, then lovers. And you’re partners for LIFE. Make your home a nice place to be, not a place where your spouse hides in the basement like my poor grandfather had to.
7) Say “I love you” every day.
Any time we part, we always kiss each other and say “I love you.” If I’m awake in the morning when Mark leaves for work, he comes in the bedroom and kisses me goodbye first. I always say, “Drive safe!” This is because life can change in an instant. I know too many people who have lost loved ones suddenly, and they regret not having told them often enough that they love them. So even if you’re mad at each other, still say “I love you” every day. It’s worth it.
8) Remember that you’re a TEAM.
You are in this for the long haul, and you’re in it TOGETHER. Be prepared for hard times, for deaths in the family, for serious illness, etc. Two is stronger than one. There are things that have happened in my life that I never would’ve been able to navigate on my own. I am blessed enough to have a strong man and best friend to carry me when I can not walk through life alone.
Love each other, and be kind. It makes life so much better. 🙂