Friday, March 1, 2013

What Makes a Strong Marriage? What are the Secrets?

I want to tell you a little story that happened to my husband and myself the other weekend while doing our weekly CVS coupon shopping run.

Every Sunday, my husband and myself start the morning off with coupon clipping, matching them up to the weekly sales, my husband making me breakfast, and then we go out to shop later in the day. We have been doing this little ritual for quite a few months now, and we find it fun.

Our Wedding 1995
At some point during the day we normally end up at CVS with our coupons in hand. We wonder through the store (they are not good about labeling their sale items) filling our little basket. My husband and I like to tease each other back and forth constantly, so when we went up to the counter, I think we shocked the young 20-something cashiers. We were ribbing each other and laughing, having a good time. When one of them asked me how long we had been together. The funny thing is, without even looking at each other, we both answered "Way to long!" We then told her that we have been married for 17 years and together for 21 years now. I was thinking we probably started dating the year these two girls were born. One of the girls then asked us what our secret was? To be honest I was at a loss of words with that one. You see, I don't feel that 17 years of marriage is a long time yet. I know with the way everybody is going through husbands in society right now, it may be a milestone, but my parents have been married for over 55 years. So 17 didn't seem long enough for anybody to ask me what the secret was yet. Without really thinking about it, I told her to not fight with each other. At that point my 15 year old daughter walked up, so I jokingly added "And watch out for these (pointing at her) they can be evil".
Family Christmas

That night at home, I started thinking more about what really does make us have a happy marriage. My husband is my best friend and I truly do love him to the bottom of my heart.  But was "don't fight" the best advise I could have given? Probably not, as most couples do fight, it is human nature. So I started thinking about answers if this question ever arises again.

My answer now: Pick your battles (just like with teenagers) and respect each other - always.

Someone gave me that advise way back when we were first getting married - respect each other. She told me that if you are proud of your husband, you need to tell your friends, and have him overhear you. Now I am not talking about boosting his ego on Facebook everyday. We all have those friends, and drives us nuts. But when you are at a party talking with a group of women and out of the corner of your eye you see your man. Work into the conversation something he accomplished loud enough for him to hear you. Even if it is just, "He does the laundry for me so I don't have to!" He will know that you appreciate it so much that you are willing to tell your girlfriends about it. Now I am also not saying to do that every day, he will catch on, and don't lie about anything. Find something great that he is doing and let others know.

And the pick your battles advise, I have learned along the way with both him and my kids. You can control if you continue the fight, or just agree to disagree and move on. The longer you fight the more your instincts will tell you that you must win. So if the subject matter of the argument really doesn't matter, don't keep the fight going. And for goodness sake don't bring up past fights in order to make your point! We all know that we remember every little detail, but they don't need to know that. Fight fair, there doesn't need to be a winner of the fight, and if it doesn't matter, pick your battles that you are involved in.



Now it's your turn...comment below with how long you have been married/in your relationship, and what you do to make it stronger. Has your advise changed over the years? Did it use to be "Don't go to bed angry" and has now turned into "You don't always have to be right when you fight". As our relationships grow, our advise will most likely grow too. We are becoming more mature, and our relationships should too. 


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