This past week on Friday, November 18th, my husband Steve and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. Some people have said we are in a minority. That marriages that last this long are rare. And indeed I think they are!
Sometimes it seems not long ago that we got married and then sometimes I can’t seem to remember ever being without him. We were just kids when we met in high school. Our romance was passionately turbulent especially since we were raised very differently from everything including parenting styles to religion.
They say you pick someone to work out your childhood issues with and if you really examine your relationship with your spouse you will probably see that is at least partly true. So needless to say we sure had our share of ups and downs. In the first few years it was more down than up. Serving almost four years in the Air Force with a year overseas was not easy either. During that time I went through the death of my dad and gave birth to our first child without him. I look back on some of those times and wonder how we ever made it.
I’m sure you have heard it said that you can love a person but not like them. That sounds funny, but true. At first you don’t see what you don’t like because the love bug is too busy biting you. But after awhile you start seeing things that you don’t like, irritate you and drive you right up a wall. And I’m sure that was mutual on both our parts. But with time you learn how to pick and chose carefully what you make a big deal out of.
Since we married so young, half of those forty plus years were spent growing up together. I must say I was faster at it than he was. Haha! Because I became interested in natural health at age 18, I also became interested in emotional health and psychology and why people act they way they do. So after awhile I figured I could fix him. BIG MISTAKE!! Although I became very good at understanding why he behaved the way he did, it wasn’t until I understood that our communication styles were totally different that things started to get better.
I sure don’t have all the answers, but here are a few things I feel has made it possible to stay married over four decades and still like each other.
Good communication as I mentioned before is definitely key to a lasting relationship. If you can communicate well you can solve almost any problem or at least compromise and not fight about it. We are both first borns so that in itself has challenges. It’s like having two captains on one ship. Learning to yield to the other when appropriate sometimes takes humility. And actually Steve has some good qualities that I would like more of. And I’m sure I have some he would like to have. So I guess it’s a good balance.
Being supportive of each other is important too. Life will throw you a lot of curve balls. You never know when you will be called on to make a tough decision and having your mates support makes it easier and you know they will be there when you need them. Sometimes the curve ball is an illness, so it’s important to the one mates recovery to have the support of the other.
Working as a team has been very instrumental in our relationship as well. When I decided to work at home building a business in Young Living Essential Oils, Steve supported me all the way. He actually became my partner attending all the meetings and events with me. Since then sharing essential oils and the role they play in helping people achieve better health is a mutual goal we share. Having mutual goals draws you closer together.
Above all else make your mate number one in your life, aside from God. God should absolutely be number one in your life. And if both mates put God first then you have a much better chance of having a strong lasting marriage. You don’t have to agree with me, but I have found that to be true in my life.
Many years ago a friend gave me a refrigerator magnet that remains there to this day. On it is a recipe, and it goes like this…
Recipe For A Happy Marriage
1 cupful of consideration
1 cupful of courtesy
2 cupfuls of flattery carefully concealed
2 cupfuls milk of human kindness
1 gallon faith in God and each other
2 cupfuls praise
1 small pinch of in-laws
1 reasonable budget
A generous dash of cooperation
3 teaspoons of pure extract of “I am sorry”
1 cupful of contentment
1 cupful each of confidence and encouragement
1 large or several small hobbies
1 cupful of blindness to each other’s faults
I have read this recipe many times over the years to see where I need to improve. One of the most dangerous things in a marriage is to get too comfortable with your mate and stop trying to improve. Be honest with each other but kind, and not too serious. If you both work at it, you will stay married a long time, and not only love each other, but like each other as well.
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