Good marriages require hard work

This week my husband and I celebrate 19 years of marriage.  I know it is not a number ending in zero or five and we have a long way to go before we achieve the 58 years of marriage that my parents have shared.  But considering the fact that we separated for a few months back between years 4 and 5, each year since has seemed like an achievement and a blesssing.

It caused me to reflect upon the things which have contributed to us reaching this milestone, because anyone who is involved in a relationship knows what hard work it is.  I would like to share some of my thoughts on the things which have kept us together.

I think the number one contributing factor is shared sense of humour.  It is what attracted us to each other in the first place and the good news is that sense of humour neither goes gray or wrinkly!  I think it is important to laugh together and also be able to laugh at yourself.

When we first got married, some wise person shared the old addage to ‘never let the sun go down on your anger’.  In other words don’t let your annoyance or anger linger and fester.  Deal with it, resolve it and move on.

There are always little habits that other people have which are annoying, but I think it is important not to make a big deal about them.  Treat them as the minor issues they are.  Has anyone actually died because their partner squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle rather than the end?

I don’t understand why so many women have an issue with the toilet seat lid.  If my husband has to lift the lid after I have used it, then it is ok for me to have to lower the seat after he has used it.  Equality in the bathroom! It’s seriously no big deal.

We made an agreement when we married that while we are both working we would share the household chores 50/50.  That sometimes involves overlooking things which are not done the way I think they should be done and never ever ever going back and re-doing the task.  If you truly don’t want to end up doing it all yourself, let go of unrealistic expectations and be grateful for participation.

I have always made it a rule of mine not to participate in one of those conversations women have where they start relating the list of their husbands failures or inadequecies and then it becomes a competition to see who has the worst husband.  Ensure your comments are always positive and supportive of your husband and if you can’t then say nothing, but whatever you do don’t participate in this type of conversation.  Negativity is contagious.

Spending time together is important no matter how busy life gets.  We have always made sure that we spend half and hour together over breakfast in the morning regardless of whether we are working different timetables or one of us has a holiday and the other has to go to work. In the evening either one or both of us has run out of words for the day.

Respect each other for who we are and give each other the freedom to be our own people without smothering each other or controlling each other. It is ok to have different interests and friends and do things apart from each other.  As well as enjoying spending time together.

Sometimes when you have disagreed about something and you both think that you are right you have a stalemate situation.  Even if you don’t believe you have done anything wrong sometimes it is worth saying you are sorry to break the tension and allow the situation to be discussed and repaired. Don’t forget to forgive and forget.  Don’t bring it up in a future argument.  Let it go.

Marriage involves compromises and finding new ways together of doing things, which may be different from how his mother or your mother used to do things.

My husband’s parents both died young. On the day his father passed away they had disagreed about something trivial and because of this it was the one day they did not kiss each other goodbye or tell each other they loved each other before they left the house for work.  My mother-in law always regretted this and wished that their last words together were loving. Who knows what life will bring and whether or not we will be able to grow old together. I want to make sure I don’t have any regrets.

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