May 30, 1992 – It was on this date that my husband and I said “I do.” Here we are 19 years later and still going strong (technically 23 if you count all our years together). It’s amazing how fast time seems to fly by. Nowadays 19 years of marriage is becoming unheard of. With people jumping into marriage before they really know each other and divorces so easy to get when they want to escape those marriages, it seems the majority of today’s marriages do not last this long. So as I get asked the question of how we have managed to last so long, here is all I can tell you about what I’ve learned about marriage.
- Don’t expect it to be easy. First and foremost while we are happily married today, I can assure you the road hasn’t always been easy. The reality of marriage is that it isn’t always roses, but you can’t just run away and give up the first time you hit a bump in the road, or even the second time for that matter. Living with someone, anyone is hard. There will be disagreements and annoying habits (toilet seat?)
- Know each other. My husband and I dated for four years before we were married. Believe it not, even after four years – or even after 23 for that matter – we are still discovering things about each other. But even though it’s fun to still discover each other, it’s important to discuss the really important issues, life-changing issues, BEFORE you get married. What is important to each person is different, so be sure if there is something that really matters to you that you discuss it (for lack of a better example…do you BOTH want kids?).
- People DO change, and change, and change again. They won’t change the way you want them to, but they will change. Like a roller coaster. You may like them for a year, be annoyed by them for a year, then love them even more following that. As everyone experiences life, it will change them. Maybe the change will be subtle, maybe it will be drastic. However it affects them, it will affect them. That is life.
- Don’t lose yourself. It’s so easy when you are a couple to identify yourself as “one”. Sure it’s great to have a constant companion and someone to share everything you do with, but it’s important to keep your own hobbies, friends, and interests. That is why your spouse fell in love with you. Stay true to who you are.
- Share. By share, I am really focusing on the chores here. No one gets married to be a servant. Your home is shared by both of you. Both of you need to take responsibility for keeping it clean. Both parties can dirty the place, so both parties need to clean the place. If you routinely divide the chores a certain way, maybe you could give your partner a break once in a while and swap. Believe me, it can really be appreciated.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for you. What did you expect? Some mushy mumble jumble crap about how to keep each other perfectly happy? Realistically that’s just not possible. Seriously, how have we made it this long? A little bit of love, a little bit of tolerance and a lot of craziness. Marriage, like life, is an adventure. Keep an open mind and try to remember, everything your spouse does really isn’t always about you – though we all make the mistake of thinking it is. They are just figuring life out like we all are, and if you are one of the lucky couples, you will get to enjoy the ups and downs of life together for a long time.