Monday, June 4, 2012

Can you Divorce Proof Your Marriage?

  
Until lately most of our friends have been happily married, but now there are divorces all over the place. In most cases, the marriages are not ending for any drastic reason (infidelity, abuse, addictions), but mostly b/c they just got sick of being married.  After sharing a decade or two together, they simply couldn't stand the idea of being together any longer.



I got married 16 years ago today.We still really like each other and divorce seems like such a hassle, so I've been  trying to think of ways to divorce-proof our marriage.  Our marriage has faced different threats at different points.  Currently, we are the super-busy parents of teens and tweens and the following list reflects our present challenges.  I'm no expert, but with the help of Pinteresthere's some ideas:

1.PUCKER UP -Kiss passionately for at least 15 seconds EVERY day.  I am deeply and passionately in love w/ my husband but there are busy days when we merely pass each other in the drive-way as we are chauffeuring kids around. More often than I'd like, we will have several busy days in a row. We are not just friends, roommates, or co-parents and I think we need to act like it.  Declare "15 seconds" and lay one on him (I bet there will be no complaints if you go over your daily quota either). Kissing also has the wonderful side effect of  making all the kids disappear. 


2. PRAY - Pray together and for each other.   I feel closer to him when I pray for him and we pray together regularly. We stink at consistently doing  this, but are making a greater effort. We are pretty good w/ family prayers and it seems I always am praying over some struggle the kids have, but that's not enough.
Source


3. BE A WIFE FIRST AND MOM SECOND-  This is controversial and I think it goes against our maternal instincts not to meet our children's every want and need.  I'm not suggesting that you neglect your kids, but your marriage should be your first priority. After all, if you're doing your job right the kids will eventually leave and you will be stuck with each other.


4. UNITED FRONT- If we completely screw our kids up, at least they can blame us both equally.  I am naturally more lenient and my husband is more strict, but we try and make at least the big decisions together (and out of earshot of the kids).

 It's not fair if one parent always has to be the bad guy or for you to do anything that undermines your spouse's authority or relationship with the kids.  I'm a problem solver and I always want immediate solutions.  There are certain situations where I think it's better to say, "Your father and I will discuss this and get back to you".  (my kids don't readily accept this answer and yours probably won't either) It's great, b/c I don't just say the first thing that pops in my head. I need his wisdom and perspective. Also, we can work out any difference of opinions before and present a united front to the kiddos.

4. DATE- Make sure you have alone time!  I love being a mother and hanging out w/ my kids, but it doesn't make me feel sexy. 
source


When our kids were younger, they'd be asleep by 8:00 and so we'd have lots of time together every night.  Now we have teenagers and they stay up later than us.
On the upside,  now that the kids are old enough to be left alone, we get to go on actual dates without having to hire a babysitter. But raising teenagers is exhausting and we don't always have the energy to  actually go somewhere.  On those nights, we say family prayers, kiss everyone good night and inform them that it's Mommy-Daddy time and unless it's an emergency, they better leave us alone so we can stay happily married.  My son questioned this practice the other night, and said "So you mean if you two don't watch "House" together, you'll get divorced?"  I told him we didn't want to risk it and to go to his room and read a book.
If you looking for something other than clearing out your DVRDating Divas is a fun site with great ideas.

true story-amazing I ever got married

6.  FLIRT- I am not naturally flirty, but I sure love it when he flirts w/ me, so I try and make an effort.  

                                            source
7. HE'S # 1-Girlfriends, sisters, and mothers are awesome, but he should be the first person you share your trials and triumphs with.  The scriptures tell us to "cleave" and you should save the best parts of yourself for him. 
source: Kristina Buskirk


8.ADORE-Look for little ways to show him that he's #1. My friend Kirstin is doing a special thing for her husband each day for the 40 days leading up to his 40th b-day. She was telling me how fun it has been and how much it has improved how she feels about him. Isn't that a great idea?


9. SPEAK-UP-May be we aren't "truly married" because after 16 years of marriage, my husband can not read my mind, even on those occasions when I think it should be super obvious.  I've spent hours being mad and frustrated when he refuses to guess what I want him to do. I suspect that until we are able to communicate telepathically, it is just easier to open my mouth and tell him what I want him to do.

Don't just tell him the bad stuff.  Tell him that you think he's a good Dad and husband.  Tell him how much you appreciate all the things he does (especially the big stuff).  Tell him you find him incredibly sexy.  Don't just assume he knows how you feel about him. 


10.  READ: Marriage is for losers. I love this article, the author talks about how marriage is not about winning or being right, but about loving, serving and forgiving.



  I looking forward to the next 16 years of marital bliss.What other marriage tips have you got?

UPDATE:  The post has spurred a lot of conversations with people, and it made me think of  something else to add the the list.


DREAM:  I think many people feel that when you meet the "Man of your Dreams", you must abandon all other dreams. This will lead to you feeling trapped and unfulfilled.
Dreams may need some editing or may need a longer time-frame to achieve,  but as long as you can afford it, it's legal, and won't endanger your most important dream of being a happy family- go for it.  You should try your best to discover what your spouse's dreams are and then do everything in your power to encourage and support those dreams. Wouldn't you rather be the one that helps all his dreams come true, instead of the obstacle that is standing in the way of his dreams?




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47 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your post. We just started something new in our house. Now my kids are younger, 3 and almost 10, so we can't leave them alone, but we have started sending them to bed early at least once a week. I make it fun, by renting a new kids movie they have not seen, and letting them have a little late night snack as they enjoy a movie in bed, and mommy and daddy enjoy a little TLC for each other.

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    1. Good for you! My kids tell us that they leave us alone, b/c if they come in complaining, we just make them go to bed:)

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  2. A well written post, Tara! I'm STILL working on #9.

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    1. Me too! It's just really hard for me to ask for things.

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  3. Thanks for compiling all of this! What a great idea. I’d love for you to share this on Tuesday’s Tidbits @ Naptime Delights: http://naptimedelights.blogspot.ca/2012/06/tuesdays-tidbits-3.html

    Thanks so much!
    Sarah
    {http://naptimedelights.blogspot.com}

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  4. This is so true..divorce scares me and I hope I never go through it! My grandparents are about 84 years old and have been married 64 years. pretty happily, grandma has alzheimers right now but shes happier than ever and they still laugh at each other. my husband and i got married about 8 months ago and at my wedding i cried like a baby about a speech hoping id last as long as my grandparents have. thanks for sharing this :)

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  5. This is great! I'm only married 3 years and need to work on a couple of these. Our daughter is 2 so we don't get much alone time these days but we made a deal with my parents for her to sleep over there at least once a month for us to have a care free date night! It's nice to be able to relax!

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  6. beautiful. thanks so much for sharing this!

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  7. I love that you describe it as "Divorce seems like such a hassle". I wish more people had the outlook of staying together and fixing things instead of be together until you are done, then just forget it every meant something.

    Thanks so much for linking up at Tutorial Tuesday

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    1. I, of course, think divorce is tragic and was just trying to be funny, but it's got to be a hassle even in the best of circumstances.

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  8. Great post - you're right on about everything and thanks for the reminders. I would add "laugh often" to your list. We're going on 23 years and sometimes we just look at each other and laugh - a fake laugh at first but then it turns real and we have a good ol' chuckle, and suddenly everything looks better!!!

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    1. That's a good one! Laughing sure beats crying:)

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  9. nice posting.. thanks for sharing..

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  10. These are all great points and things we should definitely remember. I never understand the thinking of "divorce was just easier"...to me it seems like such a major hassle and definitely NOT the easy solution.

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    1. I don't understand that either, but I am in a great marriage. Now you have 1/2 the money, 2 houses and have to schedule time to see your own kids.

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  11. Tara, I love your post. It is very timely because I know of a couple that is really struggling. I'm going to share your post. xoxo Susie

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    1. Thanks. My heart goes out to your friends. It's got to be so difficult when you are struggling with the one that is supposed to your biggest help and comfort.

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  12. This is so great! Such great points. We have witnessed many friends this year go through a divorce/separation too. So tragic. I especially love the "be a wife first" point. This one is hard at times, but oh so important. I have seen deep and real issues arise with couples who struggle at this for too long. So sad.
    Thanks for the reminders!
    PS. Love that picture of ya'll. Such a cute couple! :)

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    1. Being the wife first is hard for me, but I know the best thing I can do for the kids is love their dad. We had a great photographer and we can't wait for her to move back so we can get some more:)

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  13. We just celebrated our 10 year! My husband and I wonder how people give up before now. We feel like we are just starting and learning how to be good at being married. I can't believe how far we have come in 10 years.... 64 years (like previous commenter's grandparents) has got to be AWESOME! It is always refreshing to here from other marriage advocates. Hard work and a sense of humor seem to go a long way in marriage and parenting!
    Thank you for your collection of thoughts and wisdoms!

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    1. Congrats on your first of many decades together! I think humor has got to a big part of any successful marriage.

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  14. I think it's really important to also remember why you fell in love with the person. Now I'm nowhere near where you guys are, only been dating 3 years, though at this point that still feels like an accomplishment for us! Still, reminiscing makes us both feel closer. I'm also lucky to have a good example to look up to- my parents have been married for 27 years this summer. Sadly, not everyone has a good example to follow, and I think that's part of why some give up. But overall, great list, hopefully we can remember these down the line when we have kids and been together for longer.
    Happy anniversary to you two :)

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    1. Great point.I think if you can always hold on to why you feel in love, you'll always stay in love.

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  15. Great list, Tara. I really enjoyed reading it and being reminded of some of these things. Glad I found your blog today via Kurtz Corner.

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  16. What a great post! Im a beliver in "youre a wife before a mum", but its so hard sometimes i slip backwards and have to remind myself. It's also so important as you said to provide a united front. you are one. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Found you via sew,cook,laugh,love blogswap linky.

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  17. I too am a believer in wife first mom second. We just celebrated 21 years of marriage. Great post!

    Leslie ~

    Dishing With Leslie

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  18. This is an absolutely WONDERFUL post!! It's truly inspirational! I will be doing many of these ideas :) Thanks so much for writing it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

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  19. You bring up so many good points. My husband and I are also approaching our 16th anniversary, and are still happily married. We have in home date nights too, it's nice just to have time when the kids aren't interupting us!

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  20. Great list. Congratulations on your anniversary. Enjoy another 16 + years together.

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  21. Great list, I want to print it out!! Happy Anniversary!

    Happy to be your newest follower! Found you through the blog hop.

    Hope you get a chance to check out my blog <3

    xo, Jersey Girl

    hairsprayandhighheels.blogspot.com

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  22. Good points. I always thought my marriage was divorce-proof until I found myself smack in the middle of a major marital crisis. NOW, I feel like we have better tools and are closer to being divorce-proof than ever.... We especially have had to put our marriage first (kids and work and volunteering had taken over), make time for dates, and learn how to REALLY communicate. Found you at Topsy Turvy.

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    1. Maybe I should have said "No marriage is divorce proof". Taking it for granted and constantly putting everything else first won't lead to anyone's Happily Ever After. So happy that things worked out:)

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  23. Thanks for the tips, very interesting. I am divorced unfortunately and these were definitely things that were not done. I hope to change that if I ever re-marry.

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  24. Good advice! I really think that part of not 'throwing in the towel' is just the desire to stay married. I love my husband, but he drives me crazy sometimes. Yet I have no desire to be without him in this world.
    ~Amy @ Permanent Kisses

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  25. These are really great tips! I have been married for almost 9 years. You really to have to put your marriage first. It feels like when we date and get to spend time with just the two of us, were both happier!

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  26. Tara darlin' this is one of your BEST posts EVER! Awesome list! I would add to the YES! votes to "be a wife first and a mom second" as being the most important aspect of marriage.

    One of the biggest hang-ups a lot of women have these days is not feeling "sexy" for their man so then they put the kids first and everything that goes on in their lives as a type of compensation or excuse as to why they don't have time for their man. A great book to help combat the thought processes of to be sexy or not to be is "And They Were Not Ashamed" by Laura M. Brotherson.

    And why oh why would anybody throw away the chance to be an "empty nester" and all the FUN that goes along with that!!! Lovin' life! 27 years and counting!

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  27. I second what LeeAnn said, this is one of your BEST posts EVER! I loved you list and feel that it is spot on!
    ...reminded me of how I need to do better, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much! It's my list of what I need to do better too and I'm glad I have the rest of eternity to get them all down.

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  28. I just discovered your blog today - and this wonderfully written post! Thank you so much...I say Amen!:) And Happy (Belated, now!) Anniversary.

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  29. Hey! We just celebrated our 16 in June - I hear you, sister, no divorce for me!

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