There is an audio version at the end.
It’s these fleeting moments that build a lasting relationship, and I’m thankful I can say my husband and I have a lasting relationship. I’m also confident you can create one, too.
I was married at the age of 19, and we’ve stayed married and content for 32 years. Notice that I didn’t say we’ve easily stayed married. This is hard and rewarding work. I can’t foresee anything separating us other than death.
Morbid thought, I know, but I don’t dwell on that. I concentrate on the moments in front of us and remind myself of the moments that got us to this point in our lives.
- Not listening to disapproving parents (mine, not his).
- Patience and compassion with each other through childhood baggage.
- Staying true through two years of our long distance relationship during college.
- His acceptance of my higher paying job.
- Loving each other through two miscarriages.
- Tolerating each other through the toddler stages with two boys.
- Holding onto each other through an Autism diagnosis.
- Holding each other back from pummeling the bullies and their parents during middle school.
- Trusting that we’ll be ready when our boys finally fly away from the nest.
- Knowing he’ll decrease my drama when daughters-in-law enter the family.
- Believing that we’ll weather whatever storms descend on us during retirement.
How can I be so sure our relationship will last through the trials that await us? We’ve built the house on a very strong foundation.
3 Moments You Can Use as Building Blocks for Your Lasting Relationship
1. It’s the little gestures, and appreciating every single one, that add up to big commitments. My man loves working in the yard. I love writing and being social.
My man hates small talk. I hate housework and pulling weeds. There are so many fleeting moments that only we know to do for each other… those moments when words are not needed, because we just know.
I pull weeds when the rain has fed them enough to grow through the bark during Tax Season (he’s a Tax Accountant), because I know that will cut off a day or two of weeding for him in May.
I don’t require him to accompany me to Christmas Parties anymore. I don’t make him suffer because he doesn’t accompany me to parties. I take an ice cold drink to my hard working man in the yard.
He participates in a little small talk when the neighbors stop by to admire my vegetable garden. He empties the dishwasher while I make dinner. He folds the clothes while I’m doing the dishes.
He gets the spider every single time, and he gets a kiss from me, too. When we take these things (and so many more) for granted, we treat them as an expectation, and each of us no longer feels appreciated by the other.
That’s the first step, my friend on that slippery-fast-run-up-to-the-Olympic-Ski-Jump style exit of a marriage.
What do you know that your honey loves and hates, and what do you appreciate that she does for you? When was the last time you told her?
2. Accept that there will be changes and surprises. I thought, without any doubt, that my man would faint dead away when he witnessed the delivery of our first baby.
I even told the nurses and doctor to prepare for it. I told them to catch him when he fainted, lay him on the floor, and leave him there while they helped me deliver the baby.
My man surprised me, and I chided myself for expecting him to be less mature, responsible and capable than he was.
The first time my man disagreed with me, and I considered his position calmly, without sulking, banging around in the kitchen and withholding sex. I can tell you he was pleasantly surprised. He showed me just how much he appreciated my new behavior when the heated discussion turned into an entirely different kind of heat.
Just because you know your honey very well, doesn’t mean she can’t change, and surprise you. Give her the chance to do just that by changing your expectation once in a while.
You might just be pleasantly surprised, and if not, at least you could give her a little surprise with your change in behavior…which may lead to the same result.
3. Know that the person you married is still in there. It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age. I admit to having quite a bit more padding than I had at the age of 19, but that just makes the curves softer, right?! My man has a bit of an ice cream belly, but as long as his strong arms can still wrap around me, I’m happy!
If a few gray hairs are starting to poke through the coiffed hair, and the smile wrinkles stay a little longer after the smile has faded, that’s okay.
Those things are just superficial. The person you knew is still inside. Life may have buried her a little, and it might have buried you, too.
The day-to-day of work, commuting, kids, school functions, making a living, keeping dreams alive, saving for retirement, falling economies, housekeeping, and just plain worry can take it’s toll on all of us.
Look past that, and remember the person you fell in love with. Remember why you love her, and what sparks that love.
When my man looks at me in that intimate moment, and says, “Every time I look at you, I just don’t believe you’re gonna be 52 this year. You look so damn good.”… I need nothing else.
Whether he is remembering my 19-year-old self or seeing me as I am now, I don’t care. I can go all night with that one. Well, maybe not all night.
Just until midnight…after all, I’m almost 52, and I have to get up again at 5 am.
How can you show your honey that you still see the person inside? There is no single solution to a lasting relationship. Actually, it’s a string of simple, daily actions that build up to the long-term commitment.
What are you doing daily to ensure your relationship lasts?
Photo: Flickr/ …your local connection