So yesterday, Hubby & I celebrated our 20th anniversary. I can't believe it's been 20 years. Why I feel like I'm still 20! How did time pass so quickly? It seems just like yesterday when we said "I do!"
I feel like we've defied the odds! So many people get divorced now days. So as an experienced "Married person" (I think 20 years constitutes experienced), I thought I'd share some of the things that I've learned about marriage. My advice doesn't include those who are in abusive relationships! If you are being abused (Physically or mentally) get help! Ok, here goes!
1. Marriage is very hard WORK! It's not easy & anyone who says it is is either not married or fooling themselves. You will have ups & downs. You need to keep working to make it work. It takes compromise! No matter how hard it gets, keep working at it. You will have some bad times, but the good times make them worth it.
2. When you get married, remove the word "divorce" from your vocabulary. Don't use it when you get mad! If you threaten it, it may happen! Marriage is for life! If you don't want to be with that person for life, don't get married!
3. If you can at all help it, wait to have kids. Give yourself a few years to get to know your spouse. Marriage is hard enough when it's just the 2 of you. When you throw kids in the mix, it makes it so much harder. We spent most of first 10 years as just a couple. During that time, we got to know each other better than if it would have been the 2 of us plus kids.
4. Forgive & Forget! You are going to mess up & so is your spouse! Neither one of you is perfect. The sooner you learn to say you are sorry & to accept their apology, the easier it will be. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache. And, once you accept their apology, don't keep bringing up the incident! All that does is cause strife & anger.
5. Put your spouse's needs ahead of your own. It won't always seem fair, but if you love them unconditionally & put them first, you'll be amazed at how it will benefit you!
6. Laugh together! Have fun together! Life is so serious most of the time so be intentional about having fun. Hubby & I love to play game on the PC & Wii together. We also love watching comedies on tv! We also love having fun with the kids.
7. Spend time together WITHOUT the kids! Go on dates once a month & try to spend at least 2 nights a year together without the kids! We are fortunate to both have parents that love keeping our kids. If you don't, then trade over-night babysitting with a friend! You need that time away to strengthen your marriage. Remember marriage takes work. The best thing you can do for your kids is to have a strong, healthy marriage!
8. Be intimate with your spouse regularly! You both need it!! AND the more you do it, the more you want to do it! Invest in a good lock for your bedroom door to insure your privacy. Nothing kills the mood faster than a child wandering in on you! The kids need to know that Mommy & Daddy need some private time!
9. Never talk bad about your spouse to anyone! Talk out your problems with your spouse! Not your mom! Not your friends! If you are having problems & need a sounding board, choose a friend who will keep confidences. I have a friend who lives in another state that I can talk with & who will keep me accountable & tell me if I'm being unreasonable! (Thanks Ann!!) I can't count the number of times I've been with a group of women & the talk turns to dogging their husbands. Girls, when you talk, it gets back to your husbands! It's disrespectful & unloving!!
10. Talk to your spouse! Ladies, your Hubby can NOT read your mind! I know we think they should just know what we are feeling & what we want & need. BUT they are not God! They can't read our minds! So talk to them! Tell them what you need, what you want & what you are feeling!
11. Lower your expectations! Not only of your spouse, but of yourself and your relationship. I know so many times that I've sabotaged us because of unrealistic expectations.
I think the most important thing I can tell you to do is pray for your marriage! Pray that God will make you the spouse you need to be. Pray for your spouse. Pray over anything you are struggling with in your marriage, even sex! It will do wonders!!
After 20 years, I'm more in love with my Hubby than ever. As I look back over the years, I realize I've been selfish, unreasonable & unloving. But fortunately, my Hubby has stuck with me & we've worked it out! It's been a real give & take relationship. I'm praying God will give us 20 or even 40 more years together!