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 Pinterest, here's some ideas:
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.
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.
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 DVR, Dating Divas is a fun site with great ideas.
6. FLIRT- I am not naturally flirty, but I sure love it when he flirts w/ me, so I try and make an effort.
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.
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.
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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