My life is fairly basic—no real grand adventures or thrilling escapades happenin’ over here. But I wouldn’t entirely conclude that my life has been void of ALL adventure. Ten years ago, I said “I do” to the greatest adventure I could have ever experienced—marriage to my stud. I mean, look at him.
Okay, okay, back to the point of this post… let’s get real for a minute. Marriage is not a fairytale… or at least not the kind of Cinderella fairytale I swooned over as a child (of course, we never did see past the “I dos” for Cinderella and her prince, now did we?). But if you think for one second that this will be another “marriage-stinks-but-suck-it-up-buttercup” post, you’re wrong! I have no plans to enlighten you on how to save your failing marriage; rather, I simply want to share how a marriage can last a decade! Because honestly, I can only speak of what I know from experience. So here is the extent of my wisdom.
- The couple who laughs together, won’t kill each other. No matter how angry I get at my husband, the anger is sure to be short-lived! I can be red-faced, palms clenched, teeth gritted, ready to pounce… when he gives me that look (and it’s no “come hither look”… more like a cross between Jim Carrey and Larry the Cable Guy look), and it’s all over. Is it possible to be fuming mad and be belly laughing at the same time? Maybe. But it sure won’t be the end of your marriage!
- Honesty is the best policy, but timing is everything. Communicating your honest feelings and thoughts is necessary to keep a marriage healthy. Most of us realize this already, but how many of us practice the three T’s when communicating our differences: tact, tone, and timing? When your spouse is frustrated, angry, sad, hurt, or hungry (aka hangry), that probably is not the best time to bring up how annoying it is that he doesn’t ever remember to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Not gonna solve a thing, sister. I find that when I calmly wait to share my concerns when my spouse is in a positive state of mind (timing) and when I myself am not in the heat of the moment (tact and tone), the reaction I get from my husband is positive and understanding. But when I bark at him in anger when he is already tired and frustrated, nothing gets solved. If anything, I just create an even bigger problem. Timing. Is. Everything.
- Intimacy starts in the spiritual realm. For us, our relationship with God is priority. When that falls to the wayside, so does our bond with each other. Being on the same page spiritually is key! I am at so much more peace when my husband and I pray together and share with each other how we are doing in our individual relationships with God. If one of us is starving spiritually, then our relationship suffers. When you have committed to something as deep as following Jesus in life and death, you absolutely must remain spiritually healthy in order to have a thriving, lasting relationship.
- Play together, stay together. When kids enter the picture, “playing together” is never more important. We are truly beginning to recognize this truth ten years in. We have to make time to be together away from our darling children. Yes, my mama heart can feel a tinge of sadness when parting from them for any extended amount of time, but the sadness is short-lived when I am having a blast with my spouse! We recently enjoyed a cruise together without our children for our ten-year anniversary. Best. Decision. Ever. The only regret I have is that it didn’t last longer!
- Utilize your spouse’s love language. This point can be hard for many married couples to grasp. I think it’s so difficult because we tend to want to use our own love language on our spouses. For instance, if my spouse feels most loved when hearing words of affirmation, but I never show him love in that way… instead, I carve out time to spend with him because quality time is my love language; even though spending time together is obviously necessary and good, I won’t fully be meeting my husband’s needs if I ignore his personal love language. It might not even make sense to me why words matter so much to him, but judging him for how he feels loved and pushing my own agenda on him does nobody any good! For the record, this is all hypothetical. Truth be told, I’m the words of affirmation lover in this relationship. haha Bottom line is, find out your spouse’s love language, and use it!
This is not a comprehensive list of all you need to know to keep your marriage thriving for a decade, but it covers the biggest ones I’ve learned along the way. Maybe you are a newlywed or perhaps you are more than a decade in yourself. Either way, these tips are sure to help you slay the next decade of your marriage!
Have any tips you want to add? Leave them in the comments!