|Forever infamous Grace Van Cutsem. She was "over it" before "over it" was cool.|
But enough about them. Let's talk about me. The day before the Wedding of the Century, I celebrated my 11th Wedding Anniversary. (Yes, I got married in the year 2000 so that I would never need math to figure out how long I'd been married. Don't you wish you'd been that smart?)
Anyway, this was me and my hubby way back then:
|We did this so much, his uncle gave us some lip balm at the luncheon. |
Absolutely no little girls made faces in our pictures.
In honor of my anniversary, I thought I'd share with everyone the secrets of a long and happy 11-year (and counting) marriage. If your name is Will or Kate, feel free to emulate our example in your own marriage. The rest of you, just keep muddling along on your own. Nothing else to see here....
- Our Rule #1 has always been "No Sleeping on the Couch." While the spirit of this law (don't go to sleep angry) has been kept, there have been many nights when I've had to wander out of the bedroom to rouse my sleeping husband at 3:00 am, so he can join me in bed. More, "sleeping apart" has happened a lot more than we'd like, with hunting season and various professional conferences taking their toll on our nights together. Still, this is a very good guideline to have. You should never be just roommates with the one you love.
- No veto power. Jerry has lots of friends who call him lucky because I "let" him do so many things. He's on ski patrol, he goes hunting and fishing, he goes out shooting guns and playing lumberjack. Remarkable freedom for an old married man, yes? For my part, I got to drag an Idaho boy out of Idaho for FOUR LONG YEARS so I could finish my education in the BIG CITY of Provo, Utah (poor thing barely survived) and I still regularly ignore him to read, to write, to blog, and to travel to conferences where I sometimes forget to call home (oops). Why do we let each other do these things? Because we have no choice. (Oh, yeah, and because it makes the other one happy, blah, blah, blah.) I don't get to dictate to Jerry what he's allowed to do. He doesn't get to dictate to me what I'm allowed to do. We take care of our family duties as a team, but we accommodate each other when outside interests take us away. We aren't jealous of each other's time.
- Be the Grown-Up. The first two won't work unless you act older than two. Have a little confidence in the one you married. Don't get your feel-bads all in a twist over the little things that go wrong. Take your love for granted--by which I mean accept it as a constant, and not to stop nurturing it--and don't keep checking to make sure it's still there. Paranoia is not attractive. Do the things that make your spouse happy without keeping score (except on the super-secret scoreboard you've hidden under the bed and will never EVER bring up in conversation).
- Forgive, forgive, forgive, and APOLOGIZE FIRST. After every fight, remember this rule: the winner of the fight is the one who apologizes first. The one who can calm down the fastest. The one who can figure out what the heck the other one was saying and realize that he/she had a good point. (A wrong point, perhaps, but certainly understandable.) Once you pull your head out, it's a race to see who can ferret out all the things you personally said that might possibly have been exaggerations, euphemisms, or outright excrement. Once you've figured that out, apologize for your part in the mess. Realize that it would never have become a mess if you'd been just a bit more #3. Then forgive your spouse (and yourself) for not being more #3. Winner gets make-up... um... you know.
- Nothing separates you. Kids don't sleep in your bed. They don't sit between you at church (yes, it's possible to keep them quiet if you have long enough arms). Mom and dad's places at the table are right next to each other, and damn the location of the head and foot. Watching a family movie? Mom and dad sit together. Don't underestimate the value of physical proximity to help your bodies and minds remember who your other half is. Support each other in everything--especially against children, in-laws, and random catty neighbors. Even if you agree with whoever is saying bad things about your spouse, you FIGHT FOR THEM. You defend them against all comers. The only one allowed to put your spouse down is you. In the privacy of your own home. Right before you do #4. If you're ever tempted to complain about your spouse, don't. Not to your mom or to your best friend. As supportive as they can be, those third partiers could hold a grudge against your spouse for the awful, awful things s/he did long after you've done #3 and #4, gotten back to #1, and remembered that you're in love. And that you have very good reasons to be so.
I'm sure there's a lot more, but my big bully of a husband is forcing me to bed (this blog will post automatically at 8 am, but my kids will wake up automatically at 7 am. In seven hours.) before he goes out on a walk to try to get his hip to settle for the night. Hopefully, he'll find his way to bed eventually....
Anyone want to help add to the list?