10 July 2007

Woman to Woman: Keeping your marriage alive


"Whether you've been married for 38 years, 8 years or are a newlywed, you've probably picked up a few of the keys to a happy marriage, one which is nurturing and continues to grow. Maybe your marriage has struggled, but you've found a road back to each other and have insights for those in similar situations. What would you say are the three most key elements in your marriage that keep the romance alive and the heart aflutter? "

My husband and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe that much time has passed. In fact, if I didn't have so much to show for it, I wouldn't believe it. But we have been extremely blessed, and I have listed here a few (3 of my own, 3 of my husband's) reasons why.


- We never go to bed angry. I remember receiving this bit of advice at my bridal shower, so it is probably the first thing I learned about keeping my marriage alive. One of the little "games" we played was that each guest had to give me their best pearl of marital wisdom before I could open their gift. This suggestion has really stuck with me, and now I truly cannot fall asleep if I am feeling bitter about something. It must be resolved or it will either eat away at me all night long, or get buried and just rare its ugly head again at some point in the near future.


- When I asked my husband what he thought the best keys to keeping your marriage alive were (and I know that I am jumping around here), he said regular date nights, setting aside a daily time to talk, and keeping your sense of humor (to which he smartly added "and lots of wrestling"... women's wrestling was on the television at the time... turd).
It's true, dating does wonders for our relationship. It makes me feel young and in love again when I am holding my husband's hand as we walk into a restaurant, or laying my head on his shoulder during a movie, or displaying my affection towards him in public. Not to mention, it gives us a break from the children, who never fail to notice when we've slipped out of the room to steal a private moment.
My husband is the one who's encouraged our "nightly talk". Me? I'd like to just talk whenever it strikes my fancy or whenever I have the urge. Unfortunately this usually occurs in several short spurts throughout the day (he works) and just as my head hits the pillow at night. It is far easier for him if we have a specific time set aside to talk than it is for me to lie down next to him at 11 o'clock at night and begin venting just as he's drifting off. There is also a greater chance of him reciprocating in the conversation if he is awake for it, and I prefer that. :)
As for the sense of humor, I think it is our greatest asset. There's nothing better than getting to the climax of an argument only to meet each in the eye and begin laughing hysterically. Why is not usually known, but it is certainly a good save for us. Laughter is good medicine. It is rejuvenating and a natural way of relieving stress.
- Another important key is romance. I really enjoy making a fancy dessert for after the kids are in bed, opening a bottle of sparkling cider, lighting some candles, and listening to Sade or Chris Botti. My husband enjoys curling up under the covers whenever there is a late night rainstorm. Occasionally, I will revert back to my college days ritual of making him a mix tape of sappy love songs, or write him a love letter. Terms of endearment. Letting our children see us hug and kiss. All these things reignite the passion in our marriage. After 10 years of weathering, they are no longer the primary focus of our marriage, for sure, but they definitely add to it.
- The key I have found to be most beneficial to our marriage is prayer and scripture study as a couple. Our marriage seems the most stable when we are regularly doing these two things (I would even dare say that they could replace all the aforementioned things and achieve just as good results, because it is a very effective preventative measure). I believe it is one of our most important obligations to each other, and sadly the most challenging one to keep. Down time becomes such a precious commodity when you have children. Normally, we just want to collapse in the evening, and think/do nothing, but we really need to make the time to feed ourselves spiritually as a couple.
Having an ever growing, ever strengthening marriage can be really tough. It is easy to get caught up in other things, like your children, your job, yourself. But you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you do not put your marriage first. That union supercedes everything else if it is to last.
Thank you all for joining us today. We have had quite a few new faces come around, with some questions and confusion, so I want to go over a few basics to reacquaint everyone with the process here. There is no need to sign up for "Woman to Woman". Anyone who wants to participate may do so... and that can be once, or every time. "Woman to Woman" occurs on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. A schedule of topics (which is subject to change, so always check mine or Morning Glory's blog on the Thursday preceding the challenge date for a verification of the upcoming topic) can be found in this post. All you have to do on the designated day is sign Mr. Linky below, linking us to your post on the designated topic. We ask that you try and sign Mr. Linky on both mine and Morning Glory's blog, as we are co-hosts on this project and we blog in different circles. This also increases the awareness of "Woman to Woman", which is a good thing. :) Then, please leave us a comment and we will in turn visit each of your posts as well. There is a choice of two buttons we've provided that you may use to label your post and/or place in your sidebar. The html code for these buttons can be emailed to you by myself or Morning Glory.

24 comments:

Morning Glory said...

Your last paragraph carries the zinger: "But you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you do not put your marriage first. That union supercedes everything else if it is to last."

When the basic foundation crumbles, there isn't enough strength to hold all the other pieces together. Wonderful words, Lei, as usual.

Thank you for your very kind comment.

Jen said...

Lots of wrestling, a sense of humour, & romance! Good advice!

I enjoyed your post!

Susie said...

You offer advise here that is good for all couples, no matter how long they've been together. You're doing many of the things that we've done during our forty year marriage. A date night is still fun for us too!
:)

Montserrat said...

Love the wrestling part! It's so hard to narrow the list down to three things.

MommyK said...

I read an interview in a magazine once with a celeb who had just had her one year anniversary (Sandra Bullock, maybe?) and she was asked what the one secret to happy marriage was. I agree with Montse that it's hard to narrow it down to three things, much less one! Nice post!

Lana G! said...

Prayer and scripture reading - key elements for sure!

Of course lots of "wrestling" - priceless!

SingForHim 94 @ Real Life said...

I totally agree about the scripture and prayer. It is truly the most challenging thing, but the most rewarding.

Michelle said...

I agree with you when you said how important having a sense of humor is. It's very true, especially when you have children. :)

Husbands and wives do need to put each other first. Everything else falls into place after doing so. It's hard at times, but worth it.

Thanks for co-hosting WtoW. I've really enjoyed it.

Michelle said...

Lei, I tried to email you for the html code, but I keep getting an error message. Could you post a comment on my blog with the code? Thanks!

Sue "Sioux" Seibert said...

I'm glad you young gals have figured out the date night thing. I don't that I occurred to people when we were raising children, and I think it's a great idea. Love the photos on you blog!

Myrna said...

Lei
I did not get a post up this time around. I will be back for another topic--Just too much going on the last few days.

I did link to you and Morning Glory today to remind people who drop by that you are having WTW today.

Have a great day!

Lei said...

thanks myrna! we'll catch you next time!

Sunny said...

I like your initial picture Lei ;)

You have such wisdom for 10 years marriage - thanks for sharing with us all!

Belladonna said...

I absolutely agree on the importance of dating in marriage! It can be fancy or plain, but that "special time" outside of the routine really keeps the magic going, doesn't it?

As for putting marriage first - someone once wisely told me, "there is no greater gift you can give your children than the absolute certainty that their parents love each other. That will help them feel far more secure than complete devotion to THEM."

Myrna said...

Very wise ideas and suggestions. I enjoyed reading!

The Woman said...

Taking notes... ;o)

mumple said...

I'm sure my husband would agree with the wrestling part--but he thinks that will fix everything that ails ya! lol.

At my house, we firmly believe that God had a hand in plunking us together--and He'll certainly do more than we will to KEEP us together. Faith in God, and in that, helps whenever we hit those potholes in life.

K 3 said...

An insightful post. Since I am new mommy, I will try to remember to keep my sense of humor through the next years of our marriage! :)

Gran - (Angela) said...

What great words of wisdom to share with women of all ages. You always inspire me.

Angela

SharonB said...

Wonderful! So many put their marriages last. We need to remind one another the importance "keeping the flame going".

I totally forgot about our nightly talks! Hummmm when was the last time we did that...probably too long ago! Thank for the reminder!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am bummed I missed this Woman to Woman, but I was in the middle of a road trip when the time came to post.

I loved the ideas you shared. Life is all about balance and moderation.

The Newlywife said...

I just found this site tonight and already I feel addicted. I cannot wait to participate in Woman to Woman!

aterhea said...

what u are sharing here is so nice. a marriage does last when both couples still find a meeting point despite all the wrestling in life

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