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What I Know For Sure After 20 Years Of Marriage
You are responsible for your own happiness
If you are looking for your spouse to make you happy, you are going to be disappointed. While they should contribute to your happiness, they should not be the source of it. You are solely responsible for creating a life that is fulfilling and makes you happy. And if you are unhappy, only you have the power to change it.
Liking your spouse is just as important as loving them
When you commit to spending the rest of your life with someone, not only should you love them, but you should really like them. I’m certain that one of the reasons my husband and I have lasted so long is because we genuinely like each other and enjoy spending time together. When I have news, good or bad, he’s the first person I want to share it with. I miss him when he’s away and look forward to waking up with him every day.
Appreciate the little things
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Whenever my husband does something thoughtful or sweet, I make it a point to let him know how much it means to me. No matter how often he does it or how small the gesture is, I never take it for granted. I always say thank you. And I am mindful of little things that I can do for him to put a smile on his face.
Never stop laughing
We laugh a lot at my house! Like gut-busting, tears falling laugh. I can’t think of one disagreement we’ve had in our 25 years together where at some point we didn’t literally laugh out loud. Hard to stay mad when you’re laughing. Laughter is good for the soul and it’s also good for your marriage.
Remember what you love about them
My husband gets on my last nerve. And I know I get on his. But fantasizing about what you want to change about each other can be counterproductive. While I could easily rattle off a list of all the ways he drives me crazy, instead I think about all the reasons why I love him and all that he does for our family. Which outweighs the list of annoying habits by far.
Don’t make assumptions
Sometimes after so many years together, I think my husband should know everything I like, want, and need. That’s simply not always the case. He has many talents, but mind-reading is not one of them. So, I make sure I let him know how I feel and ask for what I want. Sharing your thoughts, feelings and listening to them will help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication in your relationship.
I am not the same person I was at the beginning of my marriage, and neither is my husband. We have matured and evolved in our careers, our views, and our dreams. And as we have grown, our vision for our future has changed. Embracing change is not easy. But as long as we continue to appreciate who we have become, keep an open mind and support each other, there’s nothing we can’t get through.
Surprise each other
By now I’ve probably heard every one of my husband’s stories at least 5 times. But now and then he surprises me with one I haven’t heard. And I love his reaction when I share something new about myself or something I’ve learned. You might think you know everything about your spouse, but you don’t. Go out of your way to keep learning new things about each other and trying new things together.
It’s not 50/50
Sometimes is 80/20. Sometimes is 30/70. Rarely is it 50/50. Yes, you will share everything (well, almost everything) but it won’t always be even. There are times will when you will need more and times when you will give more. Your family, work, and home life dictates where the number lands on the scale. I suffer from migraines that can last for days or even weeks. He travels quite a bit for work. Our daughter has a health issue. I’m working on a big project for work. All these things can cause the scale to get out of balance. And that’s ok. It’s almost always temporary and eventually, things start to balance out. If it’s not temporary, we come up with a plan for how we are going to make it work together.
Think before you speak
It’s so important to be kind with your words. My husband and I have made respectful communication a priority. No matter how upset we are, we never speak harshly to each other. I always take time to think about what I am going to say before I say it because I never want to say something I will regret. Once it’s out there you can’t take it back.
So there you have it—what I know for sure after 20 years of marriage. Looking forward to the next 20 years together!