A very special post today…my wife and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We must be having fun because it has sure flown by!
Our 10 years together have been filled with amazing highs and crushing hardships but we have clung to each other in good times and bad. In an era of ‘conscious uncoupling’ I think that the love, work, sacrifice, and dedication of an enduring marriage deserves its due too.
If you missed the headlines, an L.A. life therapist believes we have evolved past the point of needing lifelong relationships and has coined the idea of ‘conscious uncoupling’ to bring an amicable end to marriage. This effort is complete with divorce vacations and uncoupling ceremonies.
I guess ‘conscious coupling’ would be pretty much the opposite. Two people making purposed efforts to build and grow a marriage relationship with the honest observation that a relationship requires ongoing and sustaining effort.
Before we head off to celebrate 10 years together, allow me the opportunity to share 10 conscious decisions we have made that have gotten us this far and will carry us on for as long as life allows…
1. God First. My wife and I try our best to put God first in our marriage and our family. We’re always falling well short of where we’d like to be but we make the effort to filter our decisions about life and family through a God first mentality. Living lives that are pleasing to God has kept everything else in place.
2. Have Fun. In our 10 years we have had many adventures. Pre-children we traveled extensively, enjoying trips all across our great country and a great trip to Japan. Children have been our greatest (and most exhausting) adventure so far. I married my childhood friend because we have fun together in just about everything we do.
3. Cling To Each Other. In the good times and the bad, we cling to each other. There is no one on this earth I enjoy spending time with more than my wife. When life gets hard I hold on to my wife, look to God, and don’t run to others. When I married my wife I pledged to confide in her and be there when times got hard. Looking for a shoulder to cry on has gotten many a spouse in trouble.
4. Listen. I am constantly having to work on this, but the value of listening cannot be underestimated. Time can make us hard of hearing but a spouse who can truly and actively listen is a spouse who is working to build a strong relationship.
5. Think It Through. There are a lot of decisions that we make that can have unintentional consequences for our family. Every choice that we make will have a reaction and we need to try our best to think things through before we speak or act.
6. Little Surprises. When I go to Sam’s Club I almost always pick my wife up a bouquet of flowers. Through all these years and all the bouquets of flowers my wife is still surprised. There’s not a lot of money involved, or even much effort, but a simple surprise clearly communicates my affection and appreciation for my wife. Little surprises all along the way add up!
7. Anger Ends Before Bed. I can think of two times where my wife and I have had a real disagreement. She could probably think of a few more Together we have committed to the importance of making peace before we rest. Things often seem much clearer the next day when minds are at peace during the night. No one has to be right. No one has to win. We simply affirm our love for each other and lay the difficulty aside.
8. Respect For Each Other. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has heard me say something bad about my wife. The same would be true if you tried to find someone who has heard my wife say something bad about me. You definitely won’t find our dirty laundry on Facebook. Life is hard and we don’t need passengers on our voyage who are poking holes in the boat from the inside.
9. Kisses and Hugs. Here’s an easy one. Who wouldn’t want to give the one they love a smooch or a hug. Foot and back rubs are often quite appreciated too. The emotional and health benefits of touch are clear and easy to understand. Kids deserve to see parents who kiss and hug.
10. Be Home. We keep a busy schedule as a family but we make sure to be at home and together as much as possible. We have adjusted work schedules, spending priorities, and other commitments to make sure we have plenty of time together as a family.
Bonus: Pre-marital Counseling. “Huh?” you say. That’s right, we sat down with a counselor before we got married and worked through some of the bumps and bobbles that can trip people up in the first few years of marriage. I strongly encourage everyone to find a good counselor who can help ease the transition into married life.
Honestly the list could go on well past 10 things…but I have other things to do today. People were made to be together for a lot longer than just a handful of decades. Some conscious thinking and decision-making before and during marriage can lead to a lifetime of joy and love.
Thanks for reading along today…and I’d be curious to see what you’d add to the list in the comments section below…