Two days ago I returned from a spectacular Anniversary celebration on the Island of Maui with my husband of 30 years ~ it is a trip I am very, very grateful for. To be able to celebrate 30 years of marriage; to still enjoy time together, to laugh, to adventure, and to love, makes me feel so fortunate.
Marriage takes work, relationships take work. That being said, it’s not ALL work. Marriage takes a whole lot of different elements to go the distance. Here’s what I’ve learned in my marriage “journey”.
1. Communication~ It was lack of communication that almost caused an ending to our marriage almost 15 years ago. Both of us spent our time reacting and talking over one another. We would offend one another and one of us would always shut down. Obviously this was not fruitful. With the help of a wonderful counselor, Greg and I learned the art of active listening. Learning to actually listen, hear, and learn empathy–even if we didn’t always agree–made all the difference. We are still learners but we have come a long way!
2. Having a relationship with God and sharing it with one another~ In marriage you learn early on the your partner cannot meet every need in your life, fill every hole, fix every challenge. It’s simply impossible. To know that there is One, our Saviour, who knows you deeply, and loves you, absolutely makes such a difference in the area of expectations and personal confidence. Sharing that rich faith together helps to bind your hearts and values. Together you can take your needs, concerns, and difficulties to Him. A shared faith makes a huge difference.
3. Laughter ~ Life can feel very serious; often time it IS serious. It’s super important to remember to laugh. Allowing yourselves as a couple to grab times of light-hearted playfulness makes a huge difference. Greg and I have learned to play games together, listen to 70’s music (singing along, oh my!), and many other activities that allow us to focus on simply being friends.
4. Ask for help ~ over the years Greg and I faced challenging turning points that could have stolen our 30 year anniversary from us! There is a trail of amazing people who stood with us, encouraged us, challenged us, and walked us into greater relational health. We are eternally grateful! We couldn’t have made the changes that were needed without the love and support of good people!
5. Making an effort to be the best version of yourself ~ None of us are perfect. However, I believe that if we are taking care of our health, emotional well-being, and spiritual depth, we will be a healthier life partner. Challenges come in all of these areas without being invited, BUT if we are living a life where we are personally addressing these key areas we will walk through the uninvited challenges better. Insecurity, exhaustion, and fearfulness can play a real negative role in our marriage relationships.
6. Build a good posse of friends/family with strong marriages ~ Having couples around you who are growing in their marriages, who are honest about marriage challenges, and who value their spouses makes a big difference in your ability to go the distance in your marriage. As couples we can learn from one another, stand with one another, pray for one another, and celebrate with one another through the season of life! This has been key for us!!
7. Dream together ~ if you can’t dream with one another WHO can you dream with? It’s fun to think about the future, consider ideas that are “out of the box”, share your crazy ideas, and even take risks to make that dream come true! Life can feel awful dull without dreaming…….. 🙂
There are so many elements that go into a marriage that can stand the test of time; to go the distance. I’m sure I’ve left some out. But these are my thoughts as I ponder our 30 years of marriage. I’d love to hear your ideas too!! 🙂 and perhaps you’ll celebrate YOUR anniversary look out at an amazing sunset just as Greg and I did last week! Best to you and YOUR marriage.