Tom and I have been married for 7,665 days! I'm not sure which sounds longer, 7,665 DAYS or TWENTY-ONE YEARS. How do you do THAT?! Here is my tongue-and-cheek answer about how to stay married for life...
1. You have GOT to have a sense of humor, and it really has to be compatible with your spouse's sense of humor.
For example: Tom says I pass gas in bed at night. I say it's him, because this is something I would NEVER do. Even in my sleep. As a result of trying to "pass the buck" as it were, upon waking up at night because of a "fwwwp" or because of a god-awful smell, we both just turn over and pretend like it never happened. It is kind of like an extension of the whole 'if a tree falls in the woods and no one's there to hear it, does it really make noise when it hits the ground?'
2. Marry someone whose company you really enjoy. After twenty-one years, I can honestly say I would rather spend the evening with Tom than anyone else. Even if we are just making popcorn and watching a movie. Strike that...ESPECIALLY if we are just sitting at home watching a movie. You know it is true love when he really likes action flicks, but will only watch them while he works out so he can watch sappy love stories or romantic comedies with you every week. Bonus points if he is willing to sit through some Dr. Phil episodes as well.
3. The desire to climb mountains together. Literally and figuratively. Tom and I have a new-found love of hiking (sure wish we were going to Phoenix again this spring...), we both like to push our bodies and our minds to see how much we can accomplish. It seems the older we get, the more we want to push.
We also push each other in other ways. Tom knows how much I want to continue to work towards my LCDC licensure. There are days when I don't think I can continue, and he always encourages me to keep at it. He does the same for my writing. In turn, I support and encourage him when he is frustrated with his sales numbers or he runs out of ideas on how to generate new leads.
4. Share a similar vision for all things "kid related". This is not necessarily something you can plan ahead on...BUT, my suggestion is to discuss things like discipline, when the kids aren't around. Never let them (the kids) see you at odds about how to handle something. Work it out first and present a united front. That way they cannot divide and conquer.
5. Respect one another. A number of years ago, I had a real problem respecting myself because I had been an at-home mom for many years and felt way too dependent on my husband (not only financially, but for a sense of identity as well). The less respect I had for myself, the less respect he showed me.
We had some years of serious ups and downs. Then, when my life hit some major bumps, I developed the backbone I needed to respect myself more. There were definitely some tense moments when I began to assert myself and "come in to my own" as it were. But, with time and consistency on both our parts, Tom began to respect me more. And because he began to look at me in a different light, our respect for one another really blossomed.
The best part of our marriage is that we both have bad days when we feel overwhelmed, or frustrated, or sore, or unhappy, but that NEVER happens on the SAME day. Which is the most beautiful thing about our marriage. When one of us is down, the other is up and encouraging. We take turns building each other up on those days when life seems to be too much.
I really love the lyrics to the song we danced to at our renewal last summer, so perfectly describes our marriage! I love you Pumpkin, looking forward to another GREAT year!