Longevity in Marriage
By Darlene G. Snyder
How does a couple in today's busy, high-paced
world keep our relationships from fizzling?
What does it take to keep us out of divorce
court? I learned a long time ago that it takes
considerable effort and willpower on the part
of both parties to build a long-lasting and
I chose to emulate my parents as well as
my in-laws. Their loyalty to each other taught
me what true commitment really is. They also
taught me through their actions and experiences
that while it is true it does take the two
of you to work together, at some point in
a relationship one of you will have to be
the first to "give". Both will have
to be willing to release, let go of or give
up something in order to save the marriage
and somewhere along the way, this question
will have to be answered, Is this relationship
important enough to me to sacrifice something
in order to salvage it?
The following are ideas that I have gleaned
from my parents and in-laws, as well as experiences
in my own marriage. Some of these ideas may
seem outdated - but they work.
Talk to him. Write notes. Let him know
how you feel. When we had only been married
for fifteen years, my husband and I were
at a place in our marriage where we were
not talking. Each had issues with the other.
I even considered leaving him. One night
after I returned home from a conference,
he picked up a note pad and pencil and began
writing. He asked in his note if I was going
to leave him. hat note lead to several pages
of annotations written back and forward
to each other. We poured our hearts out
on paper. This written communication led
to the healing in our marriage.
Leave short notes in his car, lunch box,
bathroom or other areas. Surprise him with
the declaration of your love to him. Often
when my husband returned home from work
he would tell me where he was when he read
my note and who was there. His lopsided
grin melted my heart.
Say I love You
Notes are nice; however, the spoken words
I LOVE YOU are necessary. Voicing your adoration
lets him know how you feel. We all like
hearing those words.
Lower your expectations
No one is perfect, including you. Don't
expect perfection in your husband. Be tolerant
of each other's shortcomings. Don't pick
at everything your spouse does or says,
and avoid nagging.
Take a "Q" from old sitcoms
Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best
may seem silly to us now, but notice how
nicely the wife dressed. I am not suggesting
you dress up to vacuum, but your appearance
is important in other areas of your relationship.
Throw out those sloppy, stained sweatpants
Learn to forgive
Holding onto grudges and grievances has
no place in a marriage. You must be willing
to accept apologies.
Ask for forgiveness
Not only is it important to forgive, you
must also be willing to accept responsibility
for your shortcomings, to say the words,
I'm sorry, and to seek forgiveness when
Be there for him
Don't get so wrapped up in your work, children
etc that you miss opportunities to be a
strength and support for your husband when
he needs it. This may require that you lighten
your load If you belong to so many clubs,
organizations or other activities that you
are consistently tired and irritable. It
may be time to give something up.
Love his family
For some, this one may seem impossible.
I've seen many relationships end because
one of the parties didn't like, couldn't
tolerate, or continually fought with their
partner's family. You may not like his family,
but do your best to be considerate of his
feelings and show them respect.
Take care of yourself
Your health is important. Don't miss mammogram
or gynecologic appointments. Have annual
physical exams and do self-breast exams.
Don't ignore warning signs for possible
Enjoy family mealtime together
This is a good time to talk about your
day, listen to your family and enjoy one
another's company. A quick meal in front
of the TV is all right on occasion as long
as you take time to sit down together as
Learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take
yourself so seriously. Laughing is a release
and can lighten your mood. It can break
the tension in a stressful situation. Be
careful not to laugh at your partner-laugh
Spend one-on-one time with each other
It is important to spend time alone with
each other. Light the candles and have a
quiet dinner together, or dance, or walk
hand in hand down a sandy beach or along
a country lane.
Share in decision making
Neither party should purchase large or
high priced items without first consulting
the other. You need to be united in decisions
regarding your children, money and plans
for the future.
Encourage each other
Don't put each other down. Lift each other
up. Use encouraging words in your conversations.
Respect each other
Respect his job, his family, his likes
and dislikes. Respect his sports equipment
or anything that is sacred to him. My husband
loves music. He has guitars, mandolins,
a harmonica, a banjo and all kinds of equipment
to go with it. I used to quip, "You
can put down his wife, just don't put down
his music." He is very particular about
his music instruments.
I am quite sure you could think of other
steps or thoughts on making a marriage work.
Some of these suggestions may not work for
everyone. Every marriage is different, but
every marriage requires mutual kindness, love,
and respect. Marriage is not a mystery. It
is a relationship, which requires nurturing.
Now, go nurture yours.
Darlene G. Snyder is a freelance
writer who lives with her husband in Richmond,
Kentucky. She also works for the local courts.
She has one adult married son. She writes
occasionally for newspapers. Darelene can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org