My Dan and I have been married for over 27 years, actually have known each other for almost 30, in those years we've had so many ups and downs it really has been like a roller coaster. Whenever people ask me how you stay married that long I imagine they want it summed up in one little word but it's truly not that simple is it? Of course if it was simple people would never get divorced, everyone would stay married forever, but marriage takes work....lots and lots of work, anything worth having in this world takes work and marriage is so worth it.
There are some words that come to mind to describe our marriage:
Putting your spouse first
Biting your tongue
Knowing when nothing is the right thing to say - in other words 'shut up'
Overlooking faults - we all have them, why point them out?
We went to a marriage seminar at our church years ago and it was an incredible insight into the marriages of the other couples at our church. One couple, the wife was our music director wanted to know how to make your husband clean out the garage. Another lady wanted to know how to make your husband do what you tell him. But the most interesting was a friend that talked about how lazy her husband was and how he wouldn't do what he was supposed to do to take care of their home, yard, etc. Just sitting there I found it incredible that these people could be so very selfish, they were thinking of self, not their spouse and to criticize your spouse is horrible but to do it in front of others is simply unacceptable!
When we walked out of the seminar after going through the booklet and listening to the teaching couple talk I asked Dan what he got out of it. He said "That I'm not a very good husband"...I laughed and said I was thinking I'm not a very good wife!!! Instead of looking at the faults in the other we were noticing how much we were not doing for the other, I think that says a lot about how we treat one another in our marriage. The other always comes first.
We've never been people that make a big deal out of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We have always told our kids that we treat each other special every day of the year, putting gifts on credit cards that will take years to pay off is not something we would dream of doing. Not only does our budget not allow for such things but this is just another way of complicating life. We've watched so many friends marriages break up over money problems, we don't have a money problem in our marriage because we don't have that much money anyway!!! We've always lived on one salary and that has to stretch, these days it's stretching tighter and tighter!!! (but that's another post altogether!!!LOL)
I believe a huge part of marriage is to sacrifice for the other, in this I mean that I want Dan to have the nicer automobile and he wants me to have the nicer one, by nicer I mean the newest, we always buy used and drive as little as possible and keep them until they are beyond mechanical repair without a huge amount of money and then we donate them to Goodwill. Our goal is not have a car payment at all but if we do it will be a small amount monthly and paid off as soon as possible. Having every new thing that comes along is not something you can do on a tight budget so we wait until something is years old before we get one, I just got an ipod but it's a hand me down from my son after he got a new one with his birthday money, not a big priority with me
but I'm tickled to have one now, it's kind of old so may not last long but I'll just wait until one of the kids buys a new one and once again be happy with my hand me down.
My final thing is that we laugh every single day!!! There has always been much laughter in our home, not in making fun of someone but just laughter because these people I live with are funny!!! Dan has been making me laugh for almost 30 years and my prayer is that we continue for 50 more years!