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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marriage: Don't Just Survive, Thrive

Kelly and I had a long talk this morning, about what you would expect after one spouse cries herself to sleep and gets up at 3:30 am to cry again.

I count myself blessed to have a good marriage. I know that this isn't by accident. We didn't stumble into marriage - settling for the first decent person that came along. We worked hard to build a friendship and a solid foundation for many years together. Since we've just celebrated our 9th anniversary, I suppose we were on to something.

To celebrate good marriages and to honor my spouse, who loves me enough to say "It's ok to say you are unhappy," let me give you some things that we think lead to an excellent marriage.
  • Focus on friendship. Passion comes and goes, but friendship remains.
  • Spend time together. Share a hobby, find a sport you both enjoy.
  • Be your spouse's biggest fan. I have never heard my husband say anything negative about me to anyone other than me.
  • Know your spouse's love language. Know it, use it.
  • Do the unexpected sometimes. Play hooky from work to go to a movie-fest. Go to lunch on a workday together. Send flowers or a cookie bouquet. Go shopping at a fun store.
  • Have the right priorities. Jobs and outside commitments come and go, marriages shouldn't. Make sure you do what needs to be done, but keep the balance in favor of your marriage.
  • Pay attention. Listen hard, notice one's appearance/attire.
  • Keep secrets. There are some things that should stay between the two of you, ranging from private jokes to private disagreements.
  • Know what is meaningful. Fix a favorite meal. Watch a chick flick. Get the newest CD from a favorite artist. Scoop the kitty litter when it isn't your turn. Don't run out of jalapenos.
  • Be realistic. Love what you have. Amplify the good, brush over what doesn't meet your idealized version of your spouse.
  • Have "No Matter What's." Know where the lines are, what you can and can't say, what you will and won't do. In our home, the D word is a no matter what - no matter what, we won't say that word.
  • Laugh together. A sense of humor goes a very long way.
  • Love fiercely.

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