Twelve years ago today I married my wife. It has been the greatest adventure I have ever undertaken. I owe a great deal of who I am today to the influence of this amazing woman who actually wants to be with me. I love waking up next to her in the morning, I love doing chores with her, I love playing with her and our children, I am more in love with her today than I was on the day I married her. I know this is all mushy gushy stuff but I figure on my twelfth anniversary I am permitted a little mush.
Last week Shell (my wife) shared a link with me that was a list of 15 things you should do to make your marriage last 15 years by Lydia Netzer. It was a pretty good list, in fact so good that I shared it all over Facebook and Twitter (and now here… obviously). It started me thinking about what has made our marriage last… So I made a list Shell and I have made it to 12 years so I will make a list of 12 things that I think keep us together.
1. We learned how to fight:
We had some doozys in the first few years of our marriage… we did not fight well. I am not saying that you should find reasons to fight… I’m saying when you do fight use it as an opportunity to tune-up and improve your marriage. For example fighting until the wee hours of the morning is a bad idea, we now go to sleep mad and resume if necessary in the morning.
2. A road-trip is good for the soul:
My wife and I are at our best when we are on the road. The time in the car allows us to talk, dream, and plan (along with the fun we have along the way).
3. Get in shape together:
Pushing ourselves and inspiring each other is a great way to strengthen the marital bond. My bride ran a triathalon and will be running another in July! Every time she does something like that. It feeds my drive to improve.
4. Be OK with liking different things.
It is ok to go to 2 different fast food restaurants for dinner. It is ok to watch TV separately or go to a movie alone.
5. Talk about sex together:
To become a good sexual partner, you need to share your fantasies and desires with each other. This is an important part of a relationship. To have good sex you need to have good communication. I’d share more details here but the point is Shell and I talk about sex and therefore have really good sex, if I write about what we talk about… well let’s just say I want to continue having good sex with her so from here out you are on your own…
6. Have a family:
Becoming parents really changed us. It forces you to view what is really important through different lenses. Doing what is best for our children more often than not forces us to do what is best for ourselves.
7. Communicate, Communicate , Communicate:
When we fail to communicate with each other we set our partner up for failure. We are so not perfect at this but we are so much better than we used to be. We can pretty much get in touch with each other anytime we need to especially through texting, phone, or IM so our communication continues no matter where we are.
8. Say I Love You:
There should be no doubt in your spouse’s mind that you love them. I tell Shell several times a day how much I love her. I know she knows that I love her but I think it is important that she hear it, because I know how good it feels when she says it to me. I also think that it is good for my kids to hear me tell her I love her.
9. Be committed:
Marriage isn’t a “halfway” endeavor you need to be all the way in. Shell and I are strong together. We get stronger every year because we work at it. In a marriage you are going to have challenges, and they are going to be more and more difficult. We have had challenges in the past five years that would have been devasting to our marriage in the first two or three years. Our level of commitment to each other has helped us to be strong and develop the tools we need to conquer life’s challenges.
10. Have adventures:
Make memories together whereever you are there is something to do. Get out there and do it. Take some pictures and have the adventure. Shell is the best adventure partner I have ever had, and we have some of the best adventures, from exploring a new library to an unplanned roadtrip through a state we had never been to before. Consequently we have some of the best stories to share when we are amongst friends. So absolutely have adventures together.
11. Play to your strengths:
Each of you are good at different things so use that. Shell is awesome in the morning, I am not for example. So while my motor gets turning she’ll sets the day in motion so that when I get up to speed I am ready to take the ball and keep running. Then at night when I am at my peak I can wind down the days activities and make sure the house is ready for the next morning when we start the routine again.
12. Kiss each other a lot:
You are never going to wish you hugged and kissed each other less.
So there is my list. I totally love my wife, believe me there is no one in the world I would rather be with than this woman, she has made a fantastic partner… and I couldn’t be more in love with someone. Here’s to another 12 years…
I Love You Shell!