This past Saturday, May 23rd, to be exact….the hubs and me celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. As we celebrated the good times over the years, we thought about what advice that we would possibly share with for younger couples. There is no good reason to go through all the ups and downs that we both have faced without being some kind of light to younger couples.
Marriage is not all cupcakes and flowers, so how in the world did we get through 23 years? For us, these 23 years have been filled with tears of joy, but also sorrow and filled with joy that has taken a lot of work. For us, falling in love back in high school 1988 and saying “I do” in 1992, was the easy part. Living happily ever after is the part that takes a whole lot of work.
Here are our collected words of wisdom below:
Share everything with each other. Most importantly, everything you are feeling. There is no way to be on common ground if you don’t communicate how you’re feeling.
- Whatever bad stuff happens, remember this, too, will pass.
- Affection breeds more affection. Touch each other, kiss each other good morning, and have plenty of sex . It’s too easy to get out of the habit, which makes you feel distant. Intimacy and physical affection really help keep you connected.
- Let the little things go and think big picture. Since you’re in it for the long haul, are you really going to care who did or didn’t run the dishwasher when you look back in 10 years? Remind yourself that your relationship is much, much bigger than any one minor incident.
- Take time for yourself to do what you love, what makes you happy and gives you energy — being successful as a couple will only work if each of you is strong and fulfilled as an individual.
- Avoid giving the silent treatment. Talk about things that bother you as soon as possible; don’t let your emotions build up, because you’ll likely explode.
- Let go of hurts more easily, and try not to dwell on things that annoy you.
- Don’t take each other for granted. You have to work at it all the time.
- Be spontaneous. Change things up every once in a while. Whether that means a last-minute vacation or a card for no special occasion. Grand gifts and the smallest gestures can go a long way when you’re with someone for a very long time.
- Be nice! This can be harder than it seems sometimes, but remember that you (hopefully) love the person more than anyone else on the planet and you chose to marry them, so treat them with kindness.
- Be patient. You both might grow together at different times and in different ways, so you need to give and take to make it last forever.
- Celebrate when good things happen, and be expressive about it.
- Tell them what you need. As much as you want them to, they can’t read minds. Tell them that you feel disconnected and that you want a day alone together or date night.
- Surprise each other like you used to do when dating with special notes, small gifts, baking them a favorite recipe, or planning a weekend away. It lets the other person know you’re still in love with them, and it makes you feel the love, too.
- Build your partner up and support them to be all they can or want to be.
- Take time to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before judging. You want to avoid unnecessary criticism or negativity as much as you can.
- Make each other laugh. Try not to take everything so seriously.
- Be more generous with time and money. There is nothing worse than a spouse that rant a raves about every penny spent.
- Don’t get defensive. Try to come at things from a place of love and kindness, and don’t assume you’re being attacked.
- Trust and be trustworthy.
- Try to always remember why you fell in love with your partner. Whether it was their sense of humor or ambition…always remind yourself.
- Say “I love you,” and tell your partner they look attractive.