Happily Ever After
It may seem odd, but after all the ages I’ve spent married, my number one tip is to know who you are marrying. That means no little-white-chapels-while-you’re-drunk in Las Vegas weddings; no getting married to spite your parents, and no getting married after a few weeks to a few short months.
Being Friends: People who marry, and stay that way understand what their personalities are like through an extended friendship; through knowing the family role models; and what the family members are like. If any of them want to break newly married couples up, that’s a tough hurdle to get over. Being friends means knowing how to stick up for each other. Being friends means having each other’s back. It helps immensely when both spouses have planned their new life to be out-of-state, or announcing any other life changing event to family members who resists change.
Communicating: Because romance, sexual attraction, and love brought a couple together, and a deeper type of attraction set in [including intimacy and love] neither noticed the difference in guy/girl communication styles. It was only after the honeymoon period ended that the difference was noticed; or merely that something was different, without being able to pin-point what.
That “difference” is that guys talk in short sentences all in one breath, and women talk in long, flowery sentences, then take a pause FOR a breath before finishing the thought. For a guy, one of the tips to a happier marriage is allowing for that pause, then letting her continue.
And women should realize men don’t use short sentences as a way to start an argument, or to be brutally rude. It’s just who they are, and how they’re made on a genetic level. It’s amazing how knowing these differences creates a sense of peace within a marriage.
Drifting: Both husband and wife will develop new interests once married. Some will be interests they take up together, [surfing maybe, or hiking], and some interests will take them in different directions. Perhaps her into gardening, and him into golf. The opposite sex knows enough to carry on a conversation about the other’s interests, showing respect and caring about how the other feels. It means that on occasion, they can do either hobby together, and not feel left out. Ostracizing one’s mate is never a good thing.
Sharing: Sharing entails a lot of things, from chores, to handling kids, to feeling the need to do everything, to feeling out of control. It means allowing a husband to help when he wants, and not push him aside. As a woman, allowing the husband to help [or even take control] can be a little scary. Mainly because women are brought up to be the care-givers.
Giving up this control is especially hard on wives when they fall ill. Ironically, that is when a husband is needed most. He can alleviate any issues she may have with taking the kids to school, grocery shopping, cooking, and chores. Wives may protest at first, but not spreading her flu germs everywhere helps the whole household stay healthier
Role models: Which brings me to role models in all their shapes and forms. There is being a role model for kids; parents as role models for their now adult kids, and the role each couple shows the world in general.
For example, all the kids and teens I interact with show me affection and respect, because that’s what my unspoken personality warrants; my parents were married 44 years, until the day my mother passed, and my husband and I are quietly confident in ourselves as a couple because of our upbringing.
“Divorce” just wasn’t in my family. Grandparents? Married 66 years. Mom and Dad? 44 years. Me and hubby? 32 years. My sister and her husband? 33 years. The fact is, the longer a couple stays married, the better they get to understand the ins and outs of a smooth, loving marriage.
Intimacy: It is a wonderful part of marriage; much more than sex or the act of making love. Intimacy is being vulnerable around your spouse, and feeling comfortable with it. I love the back rubs I give him, the special hugs at the door when he comes home; the touching his face before kisses.
We both love a warm fire when it’s snowing out, a movie with popcorn in the dark [he makes the popcorn, I choose the movie]. And our snuggly couch. Playing Scrabble, where I always beat him, or grilling hot dogs in the summer, with catsup on his face. Or foot rubs, drawing a bath with candles, watching TV with wine. If it’s just us, it feels just right.
Love: All wrapped up in a silver bow, is love. It encompasses all my tips above, and more; it absorbs any arguments, or forgotten special days, it takes in human flaws and frailties, and fits in that place where couples walk, holding hands and smiling, no matter WHAT their age. They are couples who have developed their own secrets for a long lasting marriage.
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