A perfect example of thinking outside of the box and burying your fear in the name of love. Hmm, come to think of it, this guy is probably your worst enemy. He is about to prompt some tall orders for this year's anniversaries.
"...I think the thing I've learned most from our marriage is that marriage is hard work. Anybody who thinks that it's magic, and anybody who judges other people's marriages are people who just don't really understand what marriage is. And I think, after being married 25 years now, so, after that period of time I think there's something really valuable in...the fact that it hasn't been easy, 'cause we know if we get tested, we've been through tests before."
The tragedy is not the breakdown of your marriage. It is the lack of faith in yourself to be strong enough to try your damnedest to keep the promise, or to decide not to make it in the first place, and then blame it on the institution.
On Tuesday we closed the books on Year 14 of our marriage and did so on the quiet side. Hubby and I both worked, the kids went to school, as per usual. We dropped the kids of at their grandmother's house and enjoyed a dinner for two, complete with stimulating conversation (something that doesn't always fill every day in a household with three school-aged children) and discussion about The Big Picture. The evening was capped off with an ice cream cake, a very necessary mode of celebration in our family.
And so begins Year 15.
Two thoughts top the many that came to mind this week.
1. Date nights are imperative. Parental love of a child is, by nature, more unconditional. Your relationship with your partner was voluntary and requires constant work, patience, compromise, and all that good stuff. Just like everyone needs their Me-time, part of being good parents once you have kids is consistently fostering the growth and health of your marriage. It's like the oxygen mask on an airplane. Don't allow yourself to sacrifice the opportunity to build your relationship because the schedule is too full of the kids' activities, or because there just isn't a babysitter available. Make it a priority. Don't go nuts, but write it in the calendar with pen, not pencil, and find a way.
2. I say it to make people laugh, but I really do believe that getting married was the best thing I was ever forced to do. Hubby and I were 20 when we found out we were expecting and our initial plan was to move in together, raise our child together and live happily ever until whenever. But when we told my dad, he said if we were living together, we were going to do so married. We loved each other and knew marriage was in our future. So in a way we were just bumping things (way) up in the schedule. But let this be a preventative lesson in consequence: if you're going to engage in grown-up things with someone, be prepared for grown-up follow-up with that same person. In our case, we did exactly that. We affirmed our commitment to our newly-created family and 14 years and three children later, we continue to keep our promise and work towards that "old-fashioned" notion that marriage is for life.
Can you build a happy, lasting marriage by the numbers? Research suggests these five strategies will boost your chances.
1. Create Rituals
Married couples who celebrated religious holiday traditions together were happier in their unions, a 2001 study reported. Researchers found that the shared emotional investment in the ritual made the couples feel a closer bond.
2. Be a Daredevil
In a study of more than 100 American couples, those who reported "being in a rut" during their seventh year of marriage also showed low satisfaction in year 16. Those who were not bored in year seven were still going strong nine years later. Researchers said the couples who pursued exciting activities together (safari? skiing?) were more satisfied overall.
3. Sleep (Well) Together
Men who slept better at night were more likely to feel positive about their relationship the following day, according to a University of Arizona study. And couples who reported the highest quality and hours of sleep per night also had the happiest unions.
4. Support Each Other
In a Northwestern University study, those who believed that their partners encouraged their "ideal achievements" reported higher marital satisfaction -- and it wasn't just about helping him become a rock star or her become a top doctor. When a spouse felt supported even in daily obligations, he or she was significantly happier in marriage.
5. Build Your Career
Couples in dual-career marriages who enjoyed their working lifestyles were happier in their marriages, even if they had to work long hours, according to Ball State University data.