Everyone should get married at some time. After all, happiness isn’t the only thing in life. TensionNot
One of the reasons my husband and I decided to get married on a holiday weekend was to ensure that we’d always have the opportunity to get away for our anniversaries. This year my husband and I spent out 14th anniversary in Maui. What does a blogger want to do on her anniversary? Interview her husband, of course.
Lorraine and Bob celebrating 14th anniversary in Maui
So as we sipped our fresh fruit smoothies before heading to the beach for the day, I asked my husband to help me brainstorm 14 tips for a happy marriage. I figured we should have learned at least one valuable lesson for each year of marriage. It didn’t take us long at all to come up with the following ideas:
1. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener. Anonymous
When you date someone for months or even years, it’s easy to get a false sense of security that you really know him or her. Most people are somewhat flexible when it comes to dating and courting. But inevitably, a new set of expectations kicks in when once you’re married. Based on culture and family history, people enter marriage with fixed notions of what they want from their life partner.
Try to have as much fun as possible as you iron out your differing assumptions and intentions. Look for opportunities to do things together that you both enjoy doing. Maintaining a strong marriage is a lifelong process.
2. Successful partners have a perfect understanding: he won’t try to run her life, and he won’t try to run his either. Anonymous
“Selfishness is one of the keys to failure,” my husband says. Keep prioritized lists of ways to please your spouse. For some, this is automatic. You probably already know your spouse’s favorite foods or hobbies, but other things may not be so obvious. If your spouse is going through a difficult time, you can ask, “What are several things I can do for you to help make this week easier for you?” The response may surprise you. It’s all about Love & Respect.
You can use this same list strategy for fun times. When you’re going on vacation together, you can ask, “What 3-5 things are most important for you on this trip?” When you approach marriage with a “me second” attitude, you’re much more likely to be rewarded with a fulfilling marriage. My husband said he liked this joke: “My wife and I agreed that I’d make all the big decisions and she’d make all the little decisions. In all these years, there just haven’t been any big decisions.”
3. When a girl marries, she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one. Helen Rowland
Find ways to do something together even if it means that you take breaks to do things that interest you. There’s a balance of doing things together while inserting extra activities along the way. My husband likes snorkeling, so we both have a good day when we go to a beach where he can snorkel while I read, walk, socialize or take pictures.
My husband sometimes likes watching (and napping through) golf or football on Sunday afternoons, but that doesn’t stop us from spending the afternoon together. I don’t mind golf in the background, except for all the annoying viagra and drug commercials. But when he watches football, he wears a headset while I write or do something else.
4. Marriage is like having cable with one channel. Nathanel Stroman
People are naturally habitual. Some routines are good, but some aren’t. Take the time to label your good and bad routines and discuss the ones where you don’t agree. Find ways to weed out bad relationship habits or routines. Stay out of daily, weekly, monthly and annual ruts. Some people go the same place for holidays or vacation year after year, without taking advantage of how refreshing it can be to do something new.
Go someplace that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Visit family members you haven’t seen for a while or go to a foreign country. When you go out and explore new places together, you have to rely on each other. It puts a new aspect on partnering when you team up through new experiences.
5. The honeymoon is over when he phones to say he’ll be late for supper and she’s already left a note that it’s in the refrigerator. Bill Lawrence
My husband was a widower with five children. We got married on Labor Day weekend. Little did I know at that time how appropriate that date was for a woman diving into an instant family! But it surprised me when my husband insisted that we continue dating at least one evening a week, even after we got married. He believed in the importance of date nights with just the two of us.
Although I didn’t think it would be possible with children, he taught me that it was especially important when you have children. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going out for a Saturday night dinner or a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. The important thing is to take some time where just the two of you can chat and catch up without the distractions of housekeeping, grocery shopping, preparing meals or caring for children. When you take time out for regular romantic interludes, it allows you to flush out small issues before they build up to big blowouts.
6. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops. Henny Youngman
When you’re married, you’ll inevitably experience a roller coaster of emotions at different times. You may hurt your spouse or vice versa. But it’s important to let things go. This also means that you don’t overthink who makes more money, who does more cooking, or who does more or less of anything on any given day. As a couple, you have one bank account and you’re both responsible for making sure the finances balance at the end of each month.
Together you’re responsible for taking care of all the time-consuming details it takes to manage a family. How you spend your time and money says a lot, so it’s important to have an open checkbook and calendar so you each know how you’re spending your most important assets. “Awareness is good, but don’t keep score,” my husband says. Stay focused on the bigger picture.
7. I think we explored the further reaches of “for better or for worse.” Mary Archer
Children add both pleasure and stress to marriage. In a family situation, it’s critical to be united. When children are involved, it’s vital to discuss how you want to handle child-rearing and discipline. Don’t argue in front of your children or other family members. Work out your disagreements one-on-one whenever necessary.
It’s totally ok to have open discussions where everyone can voice their concerns and opinions, but once a decision is made, it’s important that at least one parent take the lead to see it through. This is part of being a team. This isn’t necessary for every little decision, but it can be important on bigger decisions where family members have conflicting views.
8. Husband: One who stands by you in troubles you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t married him. Anonymous
Differing values are pushed onto relationships through family traditions and culture, but you don’t have to succumb to them in your home. This can be especially challenging with blended families where children are exposed to different households with conflicting house rules. And it can become intensified as kids are sorting through their own values through their teen years.
Look for ways to blend, support and even restrain differing values. It has always been important to me that the children eat real foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But I had to learn to let this go during holiday time with family members who have different standards.
Go Away! And other good advice parents should give kids
It’s actually beneficial for kids to be exposed to different values, traditions, cultures and lifestyles. It helps them learn from a young age that they have the freedom to decide how they want to manage their own lives after they move out.
9. The only thing worse than a husband who never notices what you cook or what you wear is a husband who always notices what you cook and what you wear. Sandra Litoff
When everything about your marriage feels too predictable, it can become boring. Avoid getting into comfort zone ruts or bad habits that cause stagnation. Try new things together. Another great way to break up your routine is to travel. When you get away from home, you’re automatically forced into new circumstances that allow you to try new things. Be daring together. Try new foods, buy youthful outfits, go skinny dipping, do something that surprises your spouse in a fun way.
10. My husband said he needed more space . . . so I locked him outside. Rosanne Barr
Going out with the guys or having a ladies night out is ok in moderation. but it’s more important to do stuff together. Sitting on the couch together is nice, but if that’s all you do night after night, you’ll turn into couch potatoes . Ever since I’ve known my husband, he has been been finding ways for us to try new things together to create memories. “You have to plan for them. They don’t just happen automatically,” he says. Sometimes it may just be the two of you together, but it’s equally important to mix it up by doing things with friends and family.
11. Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution? M.L. Mencken
If you enjoy spending most of your non-working hours with your spouse, then you likely to have a strong marriage. If you don’t want to spend time together, it’s critical to figure out why and work through the issues. If either partner feels trapped or confined, both will suffer. It’s much easier to have a happy marriage when you’re married to your best friend.
12. Before marriage, a man will go home and lie awake all night thinking about something you said; after marriage, he’ll go to sleep before you finish saying it. Helen Rowland
Opposites attract. When couples fall in love, it’s sometimes despite the innate characteristics of their partner . . . the things that make them tick. These are the things that can make or break a marriage. Do you know your spouses’s love language? My sister, Jan, is passionate about art and her husband, Periklis, is passionate about flying. They’ve always been supportive of each other pursuing their dreams, despite their differences and fears:
How an artist leverages her passion to suppress fear
Supporting each other in pursuit of your passions sometimes involves short-term sacrifices as you work toward living out your dreams. Always listen to the voice deep inside you. It will guide you to your true north. And encourage your spouse to do the same. It may mean you need to temporarily set aside some fears or short-term desires in order to reach larger goals, but in the end, you’ll both be much happier.
13. I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Rita Rudner
Take the time to look over your marriage and think about your last several months or years. It’s much easier to laugh at the difficult situations after time has passed. Cherish the challenging times as opportunities that allowed you to learn more about each other. Reflect on the best experiences you’ve had with your spouse.
Find ways to create more positive memories while avoiding the not-so-good experiences in the future. Keep your mind on the good times and positive things that have happened over the years. Practice The 4:8 Principle.
14. The secret to a happy marriage is a secret. Henny Youngman
Make a conscious effort to discover your spouse’s hot points and what they need to feel loved. Some people need words of encouragement while others need a lot of touch. It can take years or even decades for couples to really understand each other. Some people are too embarrassed, shy or afraid to share their true feelings. Some people remain pent-up for years or even decades.
If you can learn to communicate fully and truthfully, you’ll have a much better chance at understanding each other’s deepest feelings and moving to new levels of trust. This can help you unlock ways to resolve your differences. Explore new ways to enjoy your sex life. If you’re happy in bed, you’re more likely to be happy everywhere else.
I enjoyed pulling together this list with my husband. It was a fun exercise that gave us an opportunity to reminisce and laugh. Together, we came up with more than 14 ideas, jokes and quotes in less than an hour. I hope these marriage jokes help to liven up your anniversary.
Later in the day I asked my husband if he would tell me the 14 things I do that annoy him the most and I would do the same for him. But he said he wasn’t in the mood for playing that game.
If you have something you’d like to add to the list, please leave a comment. There’s no such thing as a marriage that’s too good!