Thursday, February 10, 2011

5 Tips for a Lasting Marriage

On February 16th, Dave and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. How did so many years fly by in such a short time? Years that have been blessed with joyful milestones such as the birth of our two daughters, my husband’s Congressional campaign, my first published books and many other celebrations. And years that have been marked with sorrow such as the death of my parents, the death of Dave’s mother, and the death of my brother, Randy. However, Dave and I have journeyed through the ebbs and flows of life together for twenty years.

What advice would I offer to newlyweds or others in the process of life’s journey with a spouse? I am not a marriage expert. Believe me, I have made more than my share of mistakes. However, I can share from my heart the five key tips for a lasting marriage that have worked for me:

Friendship: Dave is my best friend and confidant. Love and chemistry of course are essential, but a genuine friendship is the lifeboat which will help navigate any turbulent waters. I love Dave and am still deeply in love with him, but I also like him. He’s the first one I want to call and share any news. As best friends, we want the best for each other.

Acceptance: From day one, Dave knew about my being “domestically challenged” i.e. I keep an organized mess in the house. Laundry is clean but remains in a big stack in the laundry room. Meals sometime leave a lot to be desired, i.e. I am not Julia Child. And a lot of papers still need to be filed. Dave doesn’t deride me for this shortcoming, but rather he helps me sort through the piles and fully accepts me as me.

Encouragement: Marriage is a life partnership, and it’s important to encourage each other to find and pursue his/her God-given purposes. Dave fully supported my difficult decision to leave the corporate banking world and stay home with our girls. Although he married a New York City banker, I am now an inspirational writer. Dave encourages me when I get those frustrating rejections from publishers, and he takes care of our girls when I travel to writing conferences to pitch another book. I, too, fully supported him in his decision to quit his job in 2005 and run for U.S. Congress. He is such an amazing and talented man!

Communication: My mother’s favorite verse for relationships was always Ephesians 4:15: “Speak the truth in love” It’s not what you say, but how you say it. I confess…. Sometimes I “speak the truth in love” at a higher decibel level than I should, but I speak it. Dave’s mom wrote some poignant advice that I saved from my bridal shower: “Remember, cherish every moment together and always talk over differences.” And try to not go to bed angry with each other. Also, communicate with each other during the day or by email. That way, you can leave a sweet message when the pot roast isn’t in the process of burning, and the dog hasn’t jumped on the kitchen table trying to gobble up the appetizers.

Connection: Connect with each other as a couple. So often our name tags of “Mom” remain on all day and night. That is an extremely important name tag to wear, but it’s important to put on that name tag of “Wife” and spend time with your husband. Go on a date. It’s fun to reconnect as a couple. Remember, at one point it was just the two of you and after the kids are gone, it will be the two of you again. Make sure you preserve, foster and grow connecting points with each other. Also, connect with yourself. Put that name tag on that says “You” and explore and nurture your separate identity and interests. And most important --- Connect with God as a couple and individually. His love is what ultimately binds our marriage. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

What are your tips about marriage?

1 comment:

  1. I have been happily married, actually deeply, deeply in love with my husband since the night I met him while we were in college. We have been happily married for 27 years. I certainly agree with what you say here. These are all skills that many people have no idea how to use. No wonder there are so many divorces. Unless a couple lives this way, things aren't going to be very smooth. That's just my 2 cents today.



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