DW and I are coming up on 13 years of marriage in July. I know that’s not long in the whole scope of things. However, when the 15 years we’ve known each other is held up to other relationships we’ve been in, the others pale in comparison. Each of us were in 4 year relationships before. The one we’re in now is over three times as long!
Being a member of male species meant I had a lot to learn. While I didn’t necessarily learn it quickly or even on the first try for that matter, I did learn some valuable lessons on how to keep a marriage strong, healthy, and fun.
In the beginning, I wasn’t too good at many of these. Marriage has a learning curve, after all. Eventually, we learned how to be married and it has made all difference.
A simple “thanks” goes a long way…
Was supper cooked and it was edible? Perhaps it was even delicious. Thank them for for their time and effort to keep you alive. It lets them know you appreciate it and perhaps they’ll do it again tomorrow. They washed your dirty clothes? Perhaps they even put them away for you. Thank them for it so you won’t have to go naked, or worse, wear stinky filthy clothes in public.
Kiss your spouse before you leave for work…
It’s a proven scientific fact that spouse who kiss each other goodbye live longer.
A study conducted during the 1980’s found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work live longer, get into fewer car accidents, and have a higher income than married men who don’t.
~Joshua Foer NY Times
While getting married certainly isn’t a get rich quick scheme and having kids a certainly a get poor quick scheme, it will help you live longer. I suppose it gives us a reason to come home. If home is where the kisses (and suppers) are, I’m coming home every day. Perhaps it has something to do with wives not killing husbands for being ignored in the morning.
Scare the living shit out of each other…
Jump scares are hilarious. However, be cautious because this has a negative effect on the kisses that lengthen your life. At least once in the marriage scare your spouse while they’re in the shower. Or while they’re drying their hair. From my experience, only attempt this once. Kisses and life are important; a second attempt could put you in the intensive care ward. Also, be prepared for immediate retaliation. While my mom was drying her hair my dad sneaked up behind her with a wooden spoon and a pot.
I’ve never seen anyone in an electric chair, but I now know what it looks like.
Keep the competition alive…
Board games. Video games. Games with friends. Made up games. Fitness challenges. It keeps the competition alive and when the two of you are trying to best each other you are also besting yourself. By competing against each other you make yourself better, too. Be that at Scrabble, Cards Against Humanity, Fitbit, The Punch Buggy game or whatever challenge floats your boat. And if you lose, suck it up. It’s just a game. Shake hands, kiss and try again next time.
Know how to argue…
There’s no need for screaming matches. The kids provide enough of that for everyone. Besides, once you’ve started screaming, the arguing has ended. And just because you’re right doesn’t mean you get to rub in. Unless it was just a playful argument for the sake of arguing. Then you get say “I told you so”. Also, using past offenses is illegal unless it directly applies to the current argument. Someone once said that DW and I likely never argue, that we’re THAT couple. While we may not argue any more, we do have some lively discussions. Like that one about what that student’s last name was. Turns out she was right. Again.
Find the time, the humor, and the love…
A couple who can laugh with each other and at each each will be a happy couple. You’ve got to find the humor, even if it’s just in the little things like the way I dance like a dizzy June bug and sing like a drunk donkey. Find the time for each other, too. Find yourself without the kids for an hour? Go to lunch or for coffee or a climbing wall. Make it date, even it’s just to school for a parent/teacher conference. Find the time to be married. Find the time where you don’t have be Mom and Dad, but husband and wife. Give head scratches or back scratches or ear rubs or whatever it is to help your bed buddy fall asleep. Give kisses on the forehead, too. Kiss them good bye. Kiss them hello. Kiss them good night. Kiss them good morning. And grab their butt and call them beautiful.