Twenty years ago this morning, I was feeling kind of crazy wondering if I was, in fact, kind of crazy. Later that day, I married my husband. Twenty years down the road, I’m grateful for going through with my decision. Despite ourselves, our shortcomings, the massive amount we had to learn, our marriage has been crazy beautiful.
In honor of all the folks out there who are working their way through marriage — and could probably teach us a lot, here are 20 observations that I believe have improved the quality of our relationship:
- We both let a lot go. We’ve figured out that there’s little need to get in a tizzy over most things. Life works better that way.
- I still laugh at most of his jokes.
- A sleep study and prescribed subsequent actions have the potential to do wonders for a relationship.
- Sitting down at the dinner table together makes us smile and just makes life work better.
- Developing appreciation for and understanding of the different ways we grew up doing things has helped us form our own blend and approach to family life.
- I understand that he just doesn’t have it in him to listen to everything I have to say! But he does a good job when it matters.
- Consistently doing little things — like pouring him a glass of lemonade — goes a long way.
- He gives me thoughtful and wonderful gifts including a new board game every Christmas, which (call me shallow) matters to me.
- There’s real beauty in going to church together as a family.
10. He is good to and has come to love and appreciate my relatives. I feel the same way about his. We’ve done our best to embrace our mutual families’ stories.
11. He sends me flowers.
12. We’ve realized that sometimes we both overlook the many little ways the other gives to our relationship — and so when we get frustrated, we try to remind ourselves of all those little, unnamed things that really add up.
13. Even though I know he’s always on my team and has my back, I still need the friendship and support of others — and he’s cool with that.
14. He makes great breakfast burritos.
15. We’ve learned to play to each other’s strengths as much as possible.
16. Close calls and major disappointments have happened, and we’ve lived to tell the tale. Time strengthens and heals.
17. He’s done a better job than I have of figuring out which battles to fight. I am grateful and hope to learn from his example.
18. I love to entertain. He’s very meh about it. We entertain less than I’d like, but he supports it when we do. If he doesn’t want to sit and visit, he cleans the kitchen. Everybody wins.
19. He’s paid enough attention to figure out things I’d like in categories he’s not even interested in — like books, movies, pasta. I love it when he recommends something he thinks I might like, and he’s usually right. I try to do the same for him. Just little ways to say, “Hey, I get you, and I’m thinking about you. You’re important enough to me that I want to share things with you that will make you smile.”
20. We both understand what the elderly lady on Passe Partout was talking about regarding her longtime marriage when she said, “When he gets mad, he sits in the swing and rocks till he gets glad — and I do the same.”