I was watching the news this morning and they referenced an article in the New York Times that intrigued me. To Stay Married, Embrace Change.
18 years into my own marriage, I couldn't agree with this sentiment more! Marriage is hard and full of change. Both of you will grow so much - I mean, let's be real. Let's say you get married in your late 20's or early 30's; do you really want to be that same person in your 50's or 60's?
Life brings you adventures and heartache and you each will have experiences apart from each other as well as the ones you have together. You are different people and will respond, react, and learn from those experiences in different ways. You will both change.
You will both become different people over the years, it's inevitable. The thing about marriage, the thing that makes it marriage, is that you make a commitment to stay together and work through those changes.
And it's fucking hard.
"I've had at least three marriages, they've just all been with the same person."
One of the reasons I prefer to work with couples who are a little older is because I feel like they have a better idea of what they are getting into. They aren't just here to plan a wedding, they generally get that a marriage is more than just that one day and they have the ability to look beyond the wedding celebration. They have a bit more life experience to understand the enormity of what that means, and that's important to me.
I want you to win at this marriage thing.
Photo by Jane G Photography
I ran across this article from Mark Manson a few months ago that I want to print and hand out to everyone I know who is married or getting married. The article is called 1,500 People Give All the Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Need and I think that's about all you need to know to jump right in. He asked his readers, "anyone who has been married for 10+ years and is still happy in their relationship, what lessons would you pass down to others if you could? What is working for you and your partner? And if you are divorced, what didn’t work previously?"
Seriously, you guys. I am obsessed with this advice too. I nodded my head and verbally agreed to numerous points in this article (is it weird that I have conversations with myself while I read?). This is the advice I would give almost two decades in. The tl;dr version of this boils down to a few points that I want to reiterate to you (but for real, read this post!):
Be together for the right reasons.
Have realistic expectations about relationships and romance.
The most important factor in a relationship is respect, not communication.
Healthy relationship means two healthy individuals. "Understand that is up to you to make yourself happy, it is not the job of your spouse."
Give each other space.
You and your partner will grown and change in unexpected ways; embrace it.
Get good at forgiving. "In marriage, there is no such thing as winning an argument."
Sex matters. A lot. "You know how you know if you're slipping? Sex starts to slide. Period. No other test required."
The one that sticks out to me the most is the respect line. And my other two cents, be with your person because you WANT to be with them. Because you like them. Not because you NEED to be with them. This has been the saving grace in my relationship. To me, the most powerful words are "I like you" and I love when that feeling comes out of me. There are times he drives me batshit crazy, but there are overwhelming times that we're in the middle of a normal day and I look at him and think, "Man, I still like him."
And that's pretty cool.