04 Nov Marriage – Making it Last
Being a wedding planner I find myself always consumed with finding and learning new ways to create memorable and very special wedding days for all of my sweet couples. Putting together the most perfect day takes a lot of effort and hard work but it is just the beginning of their very long journey together. I know because my husband and I are working on year 24.
A couple of weekends back, I didn’t have a wedding to handle and found myself enjoying a free day tailgating with my hubby and many of our close friends at the Alabama vs. Tennessee football game. A young couple (recently engaged) was hanging out with us. After a while, the groom-to-be (knowing I was a wedding planner and how long we’d been married) asked for some advice. He wanted to know what had made our marriage last and could I give him any advice.
First of all, I was very impressed that he wanted to know and told him that right there was a very good indication that they were headed down the right path. My main response was that marriage is a constant work in progress and that anything worth having takes work. Once you realize this and know that the work never ends then you have the right way of thinking in place. I shared with him several other small but very significant tips and here’s what I said…
Keep dating each other – make the time and invest the effort to remind each other frequently how important the other is. Set aside certain days/nights each week dedicated to just the two of you no matter what is going on in life. Of course this becomes difficult when children enter or are in the picture, but with a little creativity, you can maintain the courtship you had previously. As for mine and hubby’s… as long as I don’t have a wedding… we have a standing Saturday night appointment that has been in place since before we were married. All of our friends know not to ask us out on that night. It’s simple, but very special to us both!
Never belittle your spouse in front of others – I don’t think this really needs explaining but it does warrant being included here.
Do your best to never come between your spouse and their family – when (not if) family members disappoint or upset your spouse, do not cross of over the line of family berating. As long as you remain just a sounding board, providing understanding and support, all will be well. But as soon as you jump in the deep end of the family crazy pool you’ll most likely find yourself looking for a buoy to cling to. How do you generally feel when your family members are questioned or attacked?… Protective, right?
Pre-marital classes – attending these with the pastor marrying you or a counselor of your choice is beneficial on so many points. Putting you through the thought process and problem solving questions that will certainly come up during marriage is a big help in teaching you to communicate with one another and consider the other’s point of view on matters. In the end, the work you do here, only makes you stronger.
Now for the fun stuff…
Little surprises make big impacts – who doesn’t like to be on the receiving end of gifts and small surprises? We ALL do… duh! It doesn’t have to be much of anything just put a little thought into it. Here’s some examples to get you started…
- Fresh Flower Fridays – credit for this idea is given to my super fun brother in-law, Greg Brady (no I didn’t make his name up). Greg loves my baby sister and is constantly coming up with ways to show her. Most Fridays he stops by the store on his way home from work and brings her a small bouquet. She loves flowers, so the gesture is huge for her!
- Love Notes – the possibilities here are endless here. You can leave shower messages, send coded text messages (think Fifty Shades of Grey… oh please, we both know you’ve read it) or send each other love letters using snail mail. What ever floats your boat and gets your creative juices flowing is the ticket. Below is a message I left hubby one day using a bar of soap. Needless to say, he LOVED it!… It stayed on the mirror a couple weeks.
- Small gifts – my favorite are the non-purchased kind. At the top of my list… foot and hand massages! But doing laundry, cooking a meal and making the grocery run for me are all close seconds.
What do you think makes a marriage last?