Recently my wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. First of all, I barely feel like I am fifteen, and I don’t act much older than 15 either. How I have been married this long is a mystery to many, including me. So I thought I would share some best practices to make a marriage last at least 15 years.
11 Tips To A Strong Marriage
- You had better be a fighter. Marriage is tough and if you want to make it last, you have to fight for it. Fighting for your marriage means giving up awesome things like poker night or basketball night with your buddies for even more awesome things like giving your wife a break from the kids. How is that more awesome you ask. Odds are if you do, you’ll get laid. Last I checked, getting laid was more awesome than hanging out the guys. Fighting for your marriage is much more than that. When they want to give up, will you let them? When it’s easy to walk away and hard to stay, will you stay? Will you give up all your pride, aspirations, wealth, friends for the one person who makes you, you? You had better be willing. Marriage is not for wimps.
- Talk about the hard stuff. The hardest stuff to talk about is feelings and finances. These are two F-words I hate to talk about. I am guilty of avoiding them regularly. But when I do, she understands me better and I get frustrated less.
- Be together. So many couples grow apart, and that’s why they get divorced. I see this happening all the time. She does this hobby, he has that hobby. She has her friends, he has his friends. That is the wrong M.O. (mode of operation). You are married. There is no his and hers. His friend are her friends. You may have different hobbies, but talk about what you do. I love water polo. My wife does not. But she comes out and watches me play. She is usually the only other wife there. I love the support she gives me. My wife is real into learning about natural home remedies. I could care less. But I ask her to share with me what she is learning. Because she is important to me, her interests are important to me and vice versa.
- Share. My wife knows pretty much everything about me. She knows whats going on at work, the good, the bad and ugly. I know about everything she is doing. We are completely in sync with each other.
- Encourage and compliment each other. There should be no bigger fan than your spouse. I was at a half marathon recently and a man was running behind his wife in the last 50 yard stretch. He clearly was not in the race. He held a large sign above his head that read, “My Wife Is Awesome”. Always be encouraging, supporting, and complimenting. Most people do not get regular compliments. But we all need them. Be the source of never ending compliments.
- Play nice. Insults during disagreements, verbal “slams” just to prove a point and get the last word in are, shall we say, immature and reflective of 6th graders. Just don’t do it. When disagreeing with your spouse, act like you are disagreeing with your boss at work. Politely with room for considering different options.
- Get it on. Don’t let affection die. My wife and I were virgins when we got married. Our sex life is just as hot as ever. Our kids often get grossed out by the amount of PDA happening in the kitchen, during movies etc. Affection was one of the driving forces that made your courtship experience so much fun, it should be one of those things that keeps your marriage lively.
- Don’t be afraid of spirtuality. My wife and I share the same religious beliefs. No doubt that helps a lot. We pray together every day, we read the scriptures together too. This spiritual element is like a glue. There is a higher purpose to our marriage. This higher purpose helps keep us accountable to making our marriage work.
- Let your marriage be YOUR marriage. My parents had roles and responsibilities for them. My wifes parents, well, her dad was an ass, so mom did everything. Believe it or not, that “matriarchal” mindset is just as deep as my parents mindset that was very reflective of the WW2 era where the man goes to work and the wife stays home to cook and clean. Neither of those work for us. Know what each others strengths are and pick the family roles and responsibilities that work best for you.
- Explore together. Go learn new things together. It’s fun and it keeps the both of you sharp. It also makes you both vulnerable. Recently my wife and I went to Park City and did a high ropes course and 65 foot free fall together. It was really hard. My wife is much better at it than I am. But we did it and overcame more than just a few fears. If you are uncomfortable, and you are there to support each other in learning and doing new things together, you will be better at supporting each other when times get tough, and learning how to adapt to new tough situations together.
- Never forget. Never forget the moment you fell in love. Never forget the first kiss. Never forget the sexy outfits she wore that made you horny. Never forget each others achievements. Never forget why you decided to get married. Never forget the moment you first saw each of your children. Never forget any of the moments that have helped shape and define your marriage. Let these moments continue to live on in your memories. Never let them whither away like faded dreams.