“Ten years? Wow.
What advice would you give to stay married that long?”
That is a question I was asked at a library convention. God’s sanctifying grace and loving care have given me a happy marriage, but I have learned a few tidbits of marriage advice along the way.
Learn to find balance in your budget. Hubby was a spend-thrift; I was a tight-wad. Together, we balanced each other out.
Needs vs Wants
Learn to do without. There was a time when an extra $2 for some sodas was a treat. If the bills are paid, you have clothes, and food is on the table, what more do you really need?
Support one another in goals and ideas. My husband has supported all of my endeavors — even when I signed his name to a hefty student loan. I have learned to supportively listen to ideas – like how to schedule the HVAC system to respond to every possible cataclysmic event.
Learn to build a life together. We were not social butterflies when we got married, so we have never fought for each other’s attention. However, I feel sorry for couples who insist on spending eight evenings a week with the “guys” or the “girls.” Everyone needs to spend time with friends, but marriage is a time to grow up and pay more attention to your spouse than anyone else.
What Do You Like?
Find out what each other wants and needs. I decided to improve my appearance, so I asked Hubby what he thought of manicured nails. He had never thought about them, but he mentioned hair. Now I am committed to regular visits to the salon.
Express your expectations. Hubby is not very romantic. That is why I make gift-buying easy by saying, “Buy me X or Y for this occasion.”
Let It Go
Get over past hurts. I had a boyfriend who drove me crazy turning down my music in my truck, so I snapped at Hubby for it. He told me to get over it because that was years ago. Ouch.
Put some effort into it. Marriage is not 50/50, and those who say it is are selling something. During deployments, it was 90/10. After a baby, it was 20/80. There will be times when you will have to pick up the slack, so drive on.
Learn to diffuse a situation. Hubby is really good at this. If I have a problem that I am voicing loudly, he just sits and listens. If he is in the wrong, he admits it. If I am in the wrong, I feel silly enough to quit yelling after about two minutes.
Realize you married a sinner. And he married one too. Acknowledge that you are both sinners, and neither one will be shocked the first time the other sins.