Friday, December 6, 2013

8035 Days and Going Strong

A friend asked me recently if my marriage was where I thought it would be. This question gave me pause. When this picture was taken, we were so involved in the butterflies-and-stars-in-our-eyes that we didn't see very far ahead.


Tomorrow is our twenty-second anniversary. All these years, babies that are now grown children, so many moves, cancer-- those things were dreams un-spun. I knew our lives would not be perfect, but there is no way I could have foreseen the up and downs and twists and turns our marriage would take. Which is ok, because married life is just that--life. We don't get to know what's coming. But, we can do things to keep our relationship strong and grounded, so that when the happy-dance-around-the-house times make way for difficulties, we're prepared.

Last year, I shared some of our 'secrets' to a happy marriage. I'm sharing them again because I think they're essential. Because marriage is sacred. Because it is the most important relationship we'll have.

Elder Russell M. Nelson said,
"Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully."

Here's my Happy Marriage List-

1- Spend time together.
The man who performed our marriage gave us this sage advice.  And, while it isn't reasonable to do everything together, we try to spend as much time as we can.  The Handy Man introduced me to action movies and I've taken him to plays and dance performances.  Even if it's just watching TV, we do it side by side.

2-Be patient.
With your spouse- because he's trying his best. We often expect so much more of our spouse than we would of other people. Give him a break.

With yourself- because the only one who expects you to be perfect is you. Give yourself a break.

With life- the stage you're in may seem impossibly hard, but it will pass. (Quickly!) The time of having babies/toddlers, when you get no sleep and never get to go out on dates, won't last forever. And the teenage, I-know-more-than-you-don't-bug-me-while-I-play-video-games won't last forever, either. (That's what I keep telling myself.)

 Each stage is a growing time and each one has its own rewards.



3- Be forgiving.
None of us is perfect.  He's going to make mistakes and so are you.  Holding a grudge won't make either of you feel better.  Forgive quickly and often.

 4-Go to bed angry.
I know, this goes against what you always hear. Thing is, disagreements can't always be resolved quickly.  Sometimes what you need is to time to cool down. Go to bed. Get some sleep. (Even if it's from opposite sides of the bed.)  The morning light can bring a calmer spirit and new perspective.

5- Sex.
I was going to apologize to my mom (and my kids who read this) for mentioning it, but changed my mind. I'm married, we have sex.  That isn't a surprise.  And, the truth is, sex in marriage is important.  The physical intimacy bonds you together. And, there's strength in knowing that this is something that you only share with each other. And, let's be honest, it's fun.

6- HDA.
That would be Home Displays of Affection.  Let your kids see you hug and kiss. Yeah, they might cringe and say, "Gross!", but they'll grow up knowing their parents love each other.  Also, hold hands.  This has become such a habit with us that when we walk together, my hand automatically reaches out for his.  We hold hands in church, in the car and at home.

And, on another note, touch literally changes our chemistry. It releases oxytocin in our brains, which increases our trust and closeness. Go on, reach out and touch someone.



6- Serve.
I heard a quote in college that has always stayed with me- 'You love those you serve, You serve those you love.'  Doing things, even little things, for each other will act like cement. When the Handy Man comes home and brings me a diet Coke, or he rubs my feet, it makes me love him more. But, even better, is when I do things for him. Simply making him a sandwich or sending him a text increases my devotion, emotion and attachment to him.

7- Say It.
I love you. I love you. I love you.  Do you ever get tired of that?

 Give compliments. Tell him how hot he is. The Handy Man has told me I take his breath away. Think that didn't get him some love? Think again.

And, ladies, when he says it to you, ("You're beautiful. You're amazing.") don't argue with him or disagree or discount what he says. ("No, I'm not. I look fat.") He's not lying to you. Take that compliment, hold it deep inside, and let it make you feel as wonderful as you are.

Also, say 'thank you'.  Say 'I'm sorry'.  And, then say 'I love you' some more.

8- Pray together and for each other. 
Whatever your beliefs, including God in your relationship is a sure way to strengthen it. Heavenly Father established families for a reason. He wants you to succeed in your marriage and He will be there for you. Just don't forget to involve Him.


This past year has been one of challenge and growth, but I wouldn't change a minute of it. He is my heart, my soul, my best friend.


Happy Anniversary, my Handy Man!


(And, just for a little corny-ness, here's 'our song'.)-




6 comments:

  1. That is an awesome list! Thanks for the reminders...there are a few things that I should probably be working on a little bit harder. I especially love the advice to go to bed mad! I've thought that for a long time. I'm so much calmer in the morning and willing to compromise and forgive and forget. I get defensive easily and I do so much better when I have time to simmer down after a disagreement/argument.
    Congrats on 22 years!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations on your 22 years! I love your list and you've got some really great things to say there. Most of all, though, I love, love, love all the pictures! What beautiful people you are. xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I checked your math and there have been 6 leap days, so 8036 - 1 = 8035 for yesterday, so yea! You can still do math, I am proud of you! Our anniversary is soon and we have been going a little longer than y'all, overall it has been a wonderful time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love it - and I needed to read #2, I will remind myself of it over and over again!

    Love you,
    Kerrie

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this list! Happy 22nd anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did you know that's Aaron's and my song too! Did we already know that? I'm getting old and keep forgetting stuff...lol! We are almost there Jan 10th is our 22nd anniversary. I guess that's why we have the same song. LOL!

    ReplyDelete

Are you one of the three? Stand up and be counted!