A friend of mine mentioned that his sister just got engaged (if she’s reading this: Congratulations and best of luck!) and it got me thinking about what The Wife and I have done to keep our marriage together for the few years its survived.
- Marriage takes work. Plan for it.
- The wedding is one day. The marriage lasts years.
- Talk to your spouse. Be honest. Don’t expect you can read their mind (or vice-versa.)
- Make sure you and your spouse understand each others expectations, priorities, and goals. That sounds like the components of a task list, but you both have something (potentially different) you want from the relationship. Talk about this repeatedly; it will change over time.
- Don’t try to change each other. It will make you both miserable.
- Treat your spouse like your best friend. Your spouse is not your therapist, abuse target, maid, mechanic, mother, father, etc. They don’t owe you anything.
- Accept that some of your spouse’s family or friends may dislike you, and vice-versa. Let it go. Don’t return the sentiment or it runs the risk of coming between you and your spouse.
- Your job is to make your spouse’s life as easy and enjoyable as possible, and hope they’ll do the same for you. This isn’t easy if its done right, but its very rewarding.
- Fight in private. Agree in public. If a third party is involved: always be on your spouse’s side.
- Don’t stop treating each other like you did before you were married. You can’t take your relationship for granted. Go on dates. Spend time together, setting time aside if necessary. Exchange gifts and cards. Let your spouse know they’re appreciated.
- The relationship will have good years and bad years. Cherish the good ones, and work through the bad ones.
- Never pass up an opportunity to tell your spouse you love them.
(I admit this is an update to old note I wrote back in December 2008, then updated in 2014. I’m asked for it enough that it needed a repost.)