Thirty two years ago I married the love of my life. As the comedian Christopher Titus has said “We found our ice cream truck”. We have found our ice cream truck in each other. I love this saying. It makes me smile every time I think or hear it.
We have had thirty two incredible years. We raised four children. We have been through good times and bad. We have been through times that amaze me we are still together. These past years have taught me so much. I decided to share my thoughts in no particular order on what has worked to bring us into an amazing time in our lives.
- Communicate with each other. Don’t just talk at each other. Listen! Sometimes we need new perspectives that our spouses are the only ones who can give them to us.
- Be open to new experiences. We can get into the habit of saying no. There have been times Chris wanted to do things that I just said no out of reflex. On the other hand I practically had to force Chris to go to New Orleans and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of our lives. I realized this recently and have made many attempts to say yes more.
- Get out of debt and get a firm handle on your finances. I would go even further. Make short term, medium term and long term financial goals together. Money is the number one issue couple’s fight over.
- Don’t be a right fighter as Dr. Phil says. There are only a couple of things I agree with him on, but this is a big one. When we fight and have to have the last word we are irrational and incapable of compromise. Most of marriage is compromise.
- Never let them see you sweat. This is for couples that have children and meddling in laws. Children are great at using one parent against the other, in laws can do the same. This can have damning results in a relationship.
- Take time for each other and yourself. You need time to reconnect with that person you fell in love with and time to find the person you are becoming.
- Think before you speak. Our words can cause far more damage than we think. One negative comment will take many more positive comments to negate. The person who says the negative comment may not ever remember it, but the person who hears it may never forget it. I swear I hear Thumper’s voice in my head at times. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
- Do things the other wants, but don’t be like my dad. My mom always had to do the things dad wanted to, but when he had to do stuff mom wanted, he pouted and made life miserable for those around him. This only works as a two way street.
- Try not to judge each other. I say try because we are human and we are prone to judging others. When we judge each other we are placing ourselves higher than the person we are with. This leads to looking down on each other and believing we are better than the one person we have chosen to love.
- Choose everyday to love your spouse. I believe that this is a choice we must make to have a happy marriage.
- Deal with the small stuff in life. This is kind of like filling a basket with berries. My grandpa used to say fill the corners of the basket and the middle will fill itself. Deal with the small stuff and you will be able to deal with the bigger problems in life.
- Appreciate your spouse. Tell them they did something well or that you appreciate them. I know I like it when Chris makes jokes just to see me smile.
- Write your own love story instead of reading or dreaming about it. Again this is a two person requirement. And yes, I know the title is 12 Ideas for a Happier Marriage, I just couldn’t help but add this one!!
There are probably a million more things to do for a good relationship and marriage. It has taken me forever to learn some of these. Some have needed to be learned over and over.
I was recently asked by one of my daughters at a weak moment when I was complaining about my husband (see some things need to be learned over and over), would I want one of my girls to be in a marriage with issues like mine? My answer? No, but not because I am unhappy but, because no marriage is perfect, because no two people are perfect. No two marriages will ever be the same. My mom used to say that what one person can handle in their marriage another person can’t. I have found this to be true.
I used to look up to an older couple that were friends of Chris’ grandparents. Bill and Mabel bickered back and forth. At the same time you could see the love between them. They adored each other and were so at ease. I could not wait for that stage of marriage to come. We are there. We bicker back and forth, we hold hands, we have comfortable silences, and most of all we just love each other.
I am blessed to have this amazing man in my life. I still look over at him when he is not looking and am amazed that he is here, with me, loving me. He shares my interests even if he wouldn’t be interested in them if we weren’t together. He has a passion for me that never ends. Knowing all of this makes the differences between us smaller. I complain, but in truth, there is not much I would change about us.
So to my wonderful husband, Happy Anniversary! I love you from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. I cannot imagine my life without you. I can’t wait to see what the next 32 years will bring!