Today, we’ve been married 30 years. When you first get married, all starry eyed and filled with hopes and dreams, you’re not quite sure what life will hold. It’s both better and at times worse than you imagined. Better because you have a best friend, a confidant, someone always by your side. Worse because you never imagined someone you loved could hurt you, you could never expect the bad times were as bad as it is and the trials you would undergo. So here are 30 things I’ve learned in 30 years of marriage.
- You have to make a decision to love love each other. Every day. You can’t expect to say it when you say I do’s and that’s it. It has to be said and lived daily. A conscious decision to love your spouse each and every day. Even when you’re mad a him or don’t agree. Even when it’s hard. It’s easy to love in the good times, it takes a decision in the bad times.
- Fight fair. Don’t throw up the past, call names or be deliberately hurtful. Think before you speak.
- Become each others’ best friend. Your spouse needs to be the one you turn to in good times and bad times. They need to be the one to call when you have something to share. The first one you think of to spend time with.
- Guard your heart. Your love and attention should be for your spouse. You cannot have a friend of the opposite sex that is not a mutual friend. I know this is harsh, but I have never seen it work out. Avoid all appearance of evil.
- Find interests together. Try and find a hobby you can do together. Insert your self into each others life and interests. Sometimes it’s hard. My husband and I have very different hobbies. But we make time for each other and are always on the lookout for new things to do together. Also, as you grow older, interests and hobbies can change. What you loved at 25, you may not love or be able to do at 50. Be prepared for that and willing to change.
- Learn each others’ love language and practice it. My husband’s love language is acts of service. Mine is quality time together. If we each showed the other is our own love language, (and we have) the other person would not feel nearly as loved as showing it in their love language.
- Keep learning about each other. You don’t stay the same year after year, neither does your spouse. Take interests in each other fresh.
- Give from your heart. With 10 children there were a lot of years when the holidays rolled around we didn’t have a lot of money left for gifts to each other. I had to get creative. I’ve done a Year of Dates. (You can spread the money out that way.) One of our earliest years of marriage I went to the pharmacy and bought giant empty capsules and made tiny scrolls of paper with reasons why I loved him. It was his favorite gift and he kept it to look at over and over.
- Be strong for one another.Lift them up. There will be times for each of you that you will have to lift each other up. You will have hard things happen. We have had parents pass away, 2 house fires, miscarriages, worries with children, and so many other things. You can use these to draw you closer and draw from your spouse and them from you or you can use these things to push them away.
- Marriage is never 50/50. Sometimes it’s close but a lot more often it is 60/40, or 80/20 or even 90/10. There are times you are on either end of this teeter totter. Be prepared to give and to receive. Don’t expect marriage to be fair. It isn’t all the time any more than life is. There will be times to give of your self for your spouses good and other times they will give for your good. I’ve had many times my husband sitting in a hospital room with me, or waiting on surgeries. He works a lot of hours. We have each had to pick up the slack. We each think we have to know they are there for us and our family when the other can’t be. I rely on him and he relies on me. We are a partnership.
I’ll continue with part 2 and part 3 coming up soon. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to answer them.