This summer my husband and I are celebrating 18 years of marital bliss, or not…depends on the year! No marriage is ever completely easy, it is what you make of it. A few months ago I was asked what our secret was to our advancing marriage and to be honest I was speechless as I really didn’t know how to answer. So as part of our 2012 anniversary post, I thought I’d try to come up with some things that seem to have worked in our favor and hopefully will give us another 18+ years together:
The Grace of God. But for the grace of God, I don’t think any of us can have a successful relationship.
Commitment. When we vowed to love, honor and cherish each other, we made a commitment for life. We are committed to staying together – being a one woman man and a one man woman. During the tougher seasons of marriage, this means sometimes committing to staying together on a daily basis. I think this is something missing in today’s culture: lack of commitment. Today when the going gets tough, the tough runs away or gives up.
Similar Outlook on Life. My husband and I share a similar outlook on life. We share the same faith. We aren’t two different people moving in two different directions, we are one moving in the same direction.
Understanding Personalities and Gifts. While we share similar goals in life, we are two very different people. I am rather intense and focused, my husband is very laid back and easy going. I am gifted, as many women are, in multitasking and administratively. My husband is analytical, logical and mathematically inclined. We understand those differences and don’t focus on them but realize that those differences compliment each other making us a better team. What I am weak in, he’s strong in and visa versa.
Parenting Styles are the Same. We rarely disagree on how the other parents and we back each other up when one makes a decision or appeals to the one in private.
Same Spending/Saving Habits. Money is a huge issue for some couples, but for us we have always been on the same page. Don’t ask me why that is, but I think it part of our “bliss” equation.
We Make Decisions Together. It’s always been my thought that if I don’t want my husband making major decisions without me, then I don’t make major decisions without him. It’s part of mutually respecting the other person and communicating with each other. A marriage is a partnership, it’s team work so we make decisions together. Even if a decision is made without consulting the other, we tell each other right away about that decision. However, all major decisions are usually talked about in advance together.
You may have noticed that love is not on the list. That’s because love plays such a small factor in a long lasting marriage. Love is summed up in all of the above. Love is also a feeling that can come and go. Love also matures as the years go by. “I love you” when we first said it to each other is not the same thing after 18 years of marriage. It’s deeper and more committed than it was in young love.
I’d have to say I am the more critical one of our marriage than my husband and know so many areas we still need to work on. However, I also realize that compared to the many stories I read and hear about, our marriage is a really good one. It takes a lot of work and even more work when you throw in eight children! One thing that makes me satisfied is hearing our teen daughters say that they want a marriage like ours. It also brings tears to my eyes to realize that sometimes I don’t see what they are seeing.
I am very grateful for the 18 years of marital bliss God has blessed us with and pray for many more to come.