On October 9th, my husband Thom and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. When we got married so many years ago I never imagined what it would be like to approach an anniversary date that signifies so much time together. I’ve heard younger people worry about sticking it out with one person for so long, because they might grow tired or bored with one another. But as I’ve said before, I think our experience proves that love and the depth of a commitment can just continue growing and deepening as years go by. And while I’ve been privileged to know some couples married far longer than us, I thought it might SMART to share 25 things I’ve personally learned about a happy marriage after 38 years.
- A man can be your very best friend.
- Just like with any good BFF (Best-Friend-Forever), you won’t always agree on everything and that is actually a good and healthy thing.
- There is never your side and his/her side—in the best relationships, you are always on the same side.
- Making the effort to do things together strengthens the relationship.
- Making the effort to learn things together strengthens the relationship.
- Celebrating your experiences is always better than accumulating a bunch of possessions.
- Finding a way to communication/talk to each other about what really matters is critical.
- Making love after 38 years together is WAY-AY-AY better than at 1 month.
- No amount of money will make a bad relationship good.
- Knowing someone has your back NO MATTER WHAT brings tremendous peace of mind.
- Kindness and tenderness are usually not listed as qualities of a sexy man but they should be.
- A man who gets your weird humor and laughs with you is priceless.
- When the person you love tells you that you look beautiful and sexy – why would you ever worry about your wrinkles?
- The size of your lover’s heart is much more important than the size of his bank account.
- Kids or no kids?—What matters is that you both agree and that you both honor that agreement.
- Where you live should have nothing to do with what other people think, and everything to do with how happy and free your home and your community makes you feel.
- Your partner should ALWAYS come first before others in your life—your children, your parents, your friends. If not, they aren’t really your “partner” are they?
- If it isn’t working, do everything you possibly can to make it good—if not, get out. Don’t ride a dead horse.
- Tell your loved one “I love you!” a dozen times every day. Trust me, it’s the payoff is worth it.
- The daily touch/hug/caress of a loved one can make everything all right.
- Texting is wonderful if you send love and good thoughts to your partner more than anyone else.
- If you don’t respect your partner for who they are and what they do, then you don’t belong together.
- If your partner doesn’t respect you for who you are and what you do, then you don’t belong together.
- A kiss and a hug to say hello and goodbye are more important than they sound.
- It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together, saying thank you and sharing your appreciation needs to happen every day.
It’s pretty obvious to me that this blog post is a love letter to my husband after 38 wonderful years. So maybe that leads to my 26th suggestion: If you haven’t told your loved one (or others you care deeply about) how much he/she means to you, why not do it today? A SMART person never puts off something like love and gratitude until tomorrow.
Okay everyone—now it’s your turn! Any SMART relationship lessons you’d like to share in the comments below?