Tomorrow marks 19 years since Greg and I got married and started our life together. Since I was barely 20 years old back then, I have a hard time remembering what life was like without him.
In honor of 19 years of marriage, I put together a list of 19 things I have learned. Keep in mind that these things are helpful for us, especially when we apply them. I assure you that we are not perfect and are always learning and striving to overcome our weaknesses. But all marriages are different and what works for us may not work for you.
Now that we have the obligatory disclaimers out of the way, let’s get started:
1. Marriage is not a 50/50 Relationship. Try giving 100%.
In a marriage, giving 50% is not enough. Both parties must set aside selfishness and repeatedly give everything they’ve got to make the relationship successful.
2. Communication is Key
We have learned over the years to communicate pretty well. I cannot assume that Greg can read my mind, even though that would sure be nice. If something is bothering me and I let it fester instead of speaking up, we will eventually have a huge problem.
So we have learned to talk about everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And don’t forget about listening. Communication is a two-way street where listening is just as important as talking. Understanding where the other person is coming from is essential, and that can only happen if you listen.
3. A Good Night’s Sleep (or a Couple Hours of Alone Time) Can Cure a Host of Ills
We have all heard the adage, “Don’t go to bed angry.” I disagree with that advice because I am a morning person and my patience is often short at the end of the day. If I am upset about something in the later hours of the evening, I find that it is better to go to bed and continue the discussion after a good night’s sleep. A little time and rest will usually take the edge off the problem at hand, and both of us are better able to apologize and move forward.
I find the same benefit from a couple of hours of alone time. While Greg wants to work problems out immediately, that strategy does not always go well for me. When I feel pushed to apologize and make up on the spot, it makes me more upset 95% of the time. But if I can have a little time alone to process things, I almost always come back ready to move on.
Disagreements usually turn out better when we disengage and go our separate ways for a little while when emotions run high….