Friday, July 12, 2013

10 Ways to Stay Married 20 years

Does "TRUE LOVE" exist? 
Is there really only ONE person in the universe for each of us?
I don't know.

Yesterday was my 21st wedding anniversary and I am so grateful that hubs and I are still very much in love after all these years. 

And I want my children (especially our oldest who is about to leave the nest) to know that our happiness isn't magical - it's not because the universe sprinkled fairy dust and we found each other - we have put some effort into this marriage. 

And that work has gotten us to where we are today. So here are 10 basic things we regularly practice in our marriage. It has gotten us 21 years of happy marriage! 

Leave His Mom Out of It - Whether you love her or hate her, MIL bashing will not make Christmas any more festive or family reunions any more tolerable. I've been blessed with a great MIL. As newlyweds, my hubs was navigating weaning one woman out (mom) and another in (me). For even the most skilled individual this can be tricky. Remember two things about MIL: a.) you're not in competition with her and b.) you both want the very best for the same guy.

Play Nice - We have never fought dirty. No name calling. No hitting. No passive-aggressive game playing. We get mad, yes! We disagree, often! But through it all we fight fair. Like grown-ups, not like spoiled children. It's amazing how quickly fuses can be extinguished with a little maturity.

Some Things are Off the Table - I believe there are some words you just can't take back so if you don't mean them .... don't say them. We both agreed early on that we would not flippantly threaten divorce or separation. This isn't to say this is not ever an option, I understand that not all marriages last and that there are circumstances where it happens or even needs to happen, but for us we agreed that marriage dissolution wasn't something to thrown out in a fight to get your way or scare your spouse into behaving.

Strive for Peace - Sometimes I ask myself if an issue is really worth disharmony. If it is not something I feel strongly about (like how the dishwasher is loaded) I don't care if it doesn't go my way. If it is an issue close to my heart (like don't wash my dedicates), I share my opinion, trust my spouse will honor it and together we make a decision in which the outcome is beneficial to everyone.

Preferential Treatment - You know the Golden Rule and scripture "Do unto others"? Practice that. Often. It's an amazing technique. I will think, "What would Aaron want?" I can honestly say we both regularly practice this (he brings me coffee in the morning!) without any strings. I don't do for him SO he will do for me. I do for him because I love him. He does the same and we both tend to get our needs get met that way.

Get His Back - I don't undermine him. I don't challenge him disrespectfully. I honor him with my words and expect our children to do the same. Of course this is easiest when his behaviour is respect-worthy however something amazing happens when you offer respect; the recipient often responds positively. At least that's my experience.

Go To Bed Together - I'm a night owl and my hubs is an early bird. Not gonna lie, this has been an issue for us however it is more important to me to end my day with him rather than staying up alone watching movies or doing housework. It goes without saying all the good cuddling and such happens when we are on the same schedule (hell-oooooo?, 5 kids!?)

I'm Not His Mommy - I had a mindset from the moment we said "I Do" that I wanted to be his wife not his mom. I don't tell him what to do, I don't nag (which is often very hard for me), and I don't punish him (silence treatment, anyone?) when he behaves in ways I don't like. He is a grown man. He doesn't need a mommy. If I need or want something done, I simply ask.

BFFs - In our case we are best friends - we always have been. From the moment we began dating we experienced this. Of course I thought he was cute. Of course there was a spark but in addition there was something else. Friendship. It's been a big bonus and contributing factor to our success especially in the seasons (and we've had a few recently) where at the end of the day it has been just him and me.

Intimacy is Private - What we do, when we do, how we do ... that stays within us. No one gets a piece of our private life through stories or jokes. It keeps it precious. Precious is ... well, good. Very good!

That's it. We've found with regular practice this system keeps the spark alive, keeps the friendship blooming, keeps respect and kindness at the forefront. It has made for a successful relationship for us. I hope it inspires you to in your relationships as well!

What would you add to the list?


  1. Thanks Stephanie! I shared this with my mom's group. This is something we all can learn from, thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I feel honored !! Hope it was a blessing.


AddThis Smart Layers