22 Years Of Marriage – Our Secrets Revealed – Part 2

Here is what you’ve been waiting for… Part 2 of Our Secrets Revealed.  Are you interested in knowing what has kept my husband and I together for 22 plus years?  The first part was published on Friday and can be found on the right by going to the category section.  I hope you find part 2 equally as helpful.  Please keep in mind that I will not be listing everything here.  I will be including more at a later time.

My husband and I have had our problems, learned from them and have been married for 22 years.  He asked that I go ahead and finish part 2 and after he reads it he has promised too make a comment with what he thinks I missed.  (He has one thing specific in mind and he thinks I won’t include it.  Let’s see if he’s wrong.)

These next 2 paragraphs should be repeated because they are very important…

I think the most important thing to realize is that love is not that “butterfly feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach.  If you believe that, you will never sustain true love.  Love is not a fairytale and (because you don’t want it to end), doesn’t have a “happy ending.”   Butterflies will come and go.  It is in the times when they are not there that the most rewarding part of love is found.  If you can keep this in mind, you are off to a great start.  Those butterflies may last for just a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years.  But as soon as things aren’t going as you planned, they may disappear.  It doesn’t mean you stopped loving the person and it doesn’t mean you can’t get those feelings back.  It just signifies a change in the relationship.

Love is found in your thoughts, not your heart.  It is constant work, as with anything worthwhile and it requires effort.  So, without further delay, on to those tips I promised:

  • Give the other person space and TRUST!  The guys need a guys night or time alone playing video games and girls need time with their friends and by themselves.  Respect that and trust them.  Don’t put ideas in your head about what could happen when they are out with friends, just trust.  Treat it as a great time to explore your hobby or spend time with the kids or your family or even do nothing at all.  Being together all the time is not good for a relationship either.
  • Do not take things personally.  This part took a long time for me to learn.  I had to unlearn a lifetime of personal self talk where I took things personally.  I learned that sometimes, who am I kidding, a lot of times we take things out on the people closest to us in our lives and this is our family.  It doesn’t make it right but we are conditioned in our professional life to hold our tongue and keep things in so when we get home, if we’ve had a bad day, we express it.  When we tell the stories we can tend to give them a lot of emotion and that could come across as yelling or being angry at our partner.  Be careful that if you are guilty of this that you try to curb how you say it and what emotions you give to.  That’s also important for you own health if you are a continual offender.   If you are the recipient. don’t take it personally.  They had a bad day and sometimes just having someone listen is all that is needed to get rid of the stress.  Try to respect that.
  • Never have one person in charge of disciplining the kids.  Again, yours, mine ours, it doesn’t matter, you need to both be the bad guys.  Remember you are the adult, not their friend, although there will be time for friendship.  You goal should be to raise those kids so they can be functional members of society.  That means that they should learn young that their actions have consequences, good and bad.  You must stick with the punishments you dish out and neither of you can be the “softie.”  As I mentioned above, write out that list of punishments to fit the crime and post it on the fridge.  Make sure it is reasonable so you can stick with it.  And never favor one child over the other, even with an age difference.  the punishment should fit the crime.  Being on the same page together will show unity between you and it will also ensure that your children will trust that what you say, you mean.  When you show unity, they will be more apt to gravitate toward having that in their own  relationships when they are old enough.  They learn from us.
  • Stay best friends.  Do not talk behind each others back.  If you have a problem with your spouse, don’t run and tell a friend before you talk it over with your partner.  It will get blown out of proportion and your friend will always side with you.  The friend will often times add fuel to the fire and bring up past times when your partner acted the same way or their own partner did.  Everyone has a story to add as well as an opinion.  It’s not advice you need, its a solution that has to come from the two who are in the relationship.  In the same respect, stay out of other people’s arguments.  Once you hear someone else’s complaints about what is going on with them you are sure to start noticing it in your own relationship.
  • Love and respect each other.  This should go without saying.  Respect their opinions, choices, decisions and ways of doing things.  Every one of us is different and we should not expect others to be just like us.  When you show love and respect, you will get the same in return.
  • Compromise.  Focus on the solution, not the problem.  As mentioned several times in part 1 and 2, you come from different backgrounds, of course you will do things differently and have different solutions.  Listen to each other.  Hear all the other has to say then come to a compromise.  You can either meet in the middle or realize the other person has a better idea.  Other times you will see that when you put both ideas together a third one will develop that was greater that the originals.
  • Know and discuss your coping mechanisms.  I’m the type that can only discuss something for so long in the heat of the moment before I have to leave, gain my composure then come back to talk rationally.  I am aware that if I stay I will make the situation worse and my walking away for a bit is not me giving up or running away, it is gathering my thoughts and composure so I can handle the situation more calmly.  My husband knows that and understands that when I leave, it is not a personal attack on him and I will be back soon.
  • Be intimate.  This is obvious in the first few years of your relationship but as time goes on, we stop spending as much time together.  The kids are always around and take up much of our time and energy or we get caught up in life or work.  Hold hands, flirt, joke, snuggle, and the rest is obvious.  But sometimes just getting back to hugging everyday with a sincere kiss can bring the spark back.
  • Talk about your future, your goals, where you see yourself as a couple in 3 years, 5 years, etc.  This is of course, after the relationship has gone past the dating stages.  This will give you common ground, goals to reach together.  When you invest in that, you focus on seeing the two of you together and that’s where the focus should remain.  Even if it’s a trip together or growing old sitting on a porchsipping lemonade; whatever that dream is, keep dreaming it together.
  • Don’t give up on each other – ever.  Depressions can set in and it can seem sometimes that the other person is being neglectful.  That may not actually be the case.  They may be holding something in that they need to find an outlet for.  Pay attention.  If you notice the other person becoming distant, schedule an event or outing that you both like to do, alone and talk.  Connect.  But never think it’s because they no longer care.  In doing that, you set the relationship up for failure.  Never give up on them.

So, as I mentioned, there are many more.  I wil write more on this. For now, I hope I have helped some of you or that you will pass part 1 or 2 on to others.

Please comment below and let us know which one is your favorite and why.  Remember, I have more to follow but you may also leave one of your suggestions that has helped you with your marriage.

(Please check to the right to read the first part of this by checking the post listings or categories and also look for other tips and techniques that will reduce your stress and give you greater inner peace and happiness.  Thank you as always, for stopping by and THANK YOU FOR SHARING!)  ❤

22 Plus Years Of Marriage – Our Secrets Revealed – Part 1

I have been thinking about writing this for a while now.  I have been asked by so many people what our secret is to being married for over 22 years that I figured now was a good time to divulge a few of those secrets.   I hope you will find these tips helpful in your own relationship.

I started writing this with the intention of sharing a few of my top favorites but the more I wrote, the more I added.  Therefore, I will make this part 1 of 2.  What I (we) have learned over the past 22 years could probably fill a book.  But today’s list will definitely get you started.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2, I GUARANTEE!!  Therefore, I encourage you to sign up to receive notifications of when I put up new posts so you don’t miss part 2.  I would also like to invite you to share this with everyone on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.  You can do so easily by clicking one of the buttons at the bottom of the post.  You never know who’s lives you may improve with this information.  I appreciate it.

I think the most important thing to realize is that love is not that “butterfly feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach.  If you believe that, you will never sustain true love.  Love is not a fairytale and (because you don’t want it to end), doesn’t have a “happy ending.”   Butterflies will come and go.  It is in the times when they are not there that the most rewarding part of love is found.  If you can keep this in mind, you are off to a great start.  Those butterflies may last for just a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years.  But as soon as things aren’t going as you planned, they may disappear.  It doesn’t mean you stopped loving the person and it doesn’t mean you can’t get those feelings back.  It just signifies a change in the relationship.

Love is found in your thoughts, not your heart.  It is constant work, and as with anything worthwhile, it requires great effort.  So, without further delay, on to the first set of tips:

  • Bring up any issues immediately.  There will be plenty of issues, I guarantee.  Both parties were raised in different environments, by different people who had different rules, values and parenting/role model techniques.  Therefore, expect to see things completely different from your partner.  When feelings arise, talk about them.  Don’t let them fester.  The more you dwell on something, the bigger it gets.  Focus on the solution instead.  Approach the other person with kindness with hopes of a resolution, not to lay blame or “call them out” on something.  This has been big for me over the years.  I think too much and sometimes assume there is an issue when there really isn’t.  I get it in my head that he feels a certain way and I’m usually wrong if it’s negative.  Getting it out in the open dispels those theories of mine or helps to come to a solution if I’m right.  The discussion is not heated when it is recognized immediately.
  • Listen!  If you have something that needs to be addressed it’s a good idea to “schedule it.”  I know, that sounds strange, but think about it.  Do you really want to bring something up when the other person is caught up in watching sports or their favorite TV show or perhaps in deep thought about a work-related issue?  Respecting that the person may need time to get to where they can give you their undivided attention goes a long way.  They are more apt to hear you, listen attentively and commit to the conversation and a solution.  If you are approached with something and it is not a good time for you, let the other person know politely that you need 5-10 minutes, even an hour so you can be sure the person has your attention fully.  Never bring something up in front of other people.  There is a time and place, and in public is neither of those.  Make sure you discuss this in advance so neither of you are angry when the person mentions they need time so they can focus on you.  You will really come to appreciate the honesty and the respect.  When that time arrives, make sure there will be little to no distractions (sometimes you may have to wait until you put the kids to bed.)
  • Forgive, don’t hold a grudge.  If you keep bringing up a situation that happened in the past, you will never move past it.  Forgiving, if necessary, gives you both freedom.  You no longer focus on the negative and the problem disappears.  It’s in the past, let it stay there, don’t revisit it.  If the same issue resurfaces, address it as a new situation, not a continuation.  Holding on to the negative will keep you in a negative state.
  • Have patience.  Jumping in with both guns blazing will set you up for failure before the issue is ever resolved.  If you’re angry, the other person will automatically get defensive and then it just becomes a battle over who has better come backs or arguing strategies.  When you show patience toward the other person, there are also less struggles.  You see the person with love and whatever the battle is becomes minor.  Remember that love is not war.  It is not about who wins; it’s about solving things and moving forward toward a better, trusting relationship.  Patience will also help you forgive faster.  One more thing, when you have patience with someone, they are apt to have more patience with you.  We all need that.  When we are patient with each other, there is more room for loving emotions.
  • Speak kind words daily.  Find something nice to say to the other person.  It’s easy to find the negative, like nagging over the toilet seat being left up or the toothpaste lid being left off.  After time, those little things turn into big things if you don’t let them go.  They are not important in the scheme of things.  Finding the good things in your partner will remind you why you are together, make the other person feel more confident in themselves and they will want to be that person for you all the time.  Recognize the little things they do and compliment them.  My husband and I will randomly write each other a poem or tag each other in a cute photo on Facebook.  If one of us accomplishes something, even small, in our day, the other one will mention it with a verbal pat on the back.
  • Find a common interest.  My husband and I used to have favorite TV shows.  We would set the DVR to record them so that we could watch them together, not separately.  This would give us quality time together and show each other that we cared enough to wait for the other person to watch it together.  More recently we started exercising together.  He took up kickboxing, which started to take up a great deal of his free time, and our time together.  So, after much encouragement from him, I tried it.  Now we go together.  It is a common point of interest.  We are spending time together, getting healthier together and it gives us time during the drive to discuss our day, our future and anything that is going on that we may need to get off our chests.
  • Be forever mindful.  Notice which situations set you both off and come up with a plan to catch it before it becomes out of control or ensues in a full blown argument.
  • Don’t place blame.  You are a partnership.  Seek to solve, together.  Placing the blame on the other person as I mentioned earlier, sets them on the defensive.  It will not get you any closer to a resolution.  If you are being petty, it will make you feel better in the moment but really, think about it, when you place the blame, then you become at fault for something.  Is that where you want to be?  As well as not placing blame, do not belittle the other person or throw shortcomings in their face.  They are who they are.  You fell in love with them for the good but agreed to accept the not-so-good.  I’m sure you can come up with a list of examples a mile long but try not to.  I’ll just give you one of mine so you get the idea.  My husband usually has a hard time waking up on his own.  He forever sleeps through his alarm or hits snooze for the umpteenth time.  He is due to get up at least an hour before me.  Do I enjoy being woken up to several alarms and being half awake for an hour longer than I need to be?  Not really, but I make sure I don’t let it affect how I treat him.  I recognize this about him and I have found that if I simply say his name, my voice is enough to wake him up so he can hear the alarm and start his day.  He also knows that if I sleep through it, he has to face whatever consequences there are for him being late.  He just deals with the natural consequences and I never bring it up.  I know he doesn’t do it on purpose to make me angry.  These are the types of things you need to understand will happen and you just need to come to a compromise or help the other person to the best of your ability.
  • Laugh together.  I cannot stress the importance of this.  Laughter is crucial.  We must be able to laugh together, laugh at each other and laugh at ourselves.  Finding the comedy in everything around you relieves stress and when you do it together, you share the lighter side of life and it seems a lot less serious.
  • Don’t try to change the other person.  Again, you fell in love with who they are.  Love them for that.  If there is something they are doing that could damage their health, then I would say, yes, that’s a change that may need some instigating but always approach with love and from the heart.  Otherwise, this leads back to you pointing the finger and finding fault with them.  No one likes to feel attacked for who they are or the things they do.  They are unique.  Support their differences and stand up for them if necessary to anyone else who may want to put them down.
  • Ask for help.  Have this conversation with your partner early on as well.  There will come a time when things will be overwhelming for one of you.  If you have discussed that this will happen before it does, no matter the circumstances, asking for help will be a lot easier.  Give each other permission in advance to ask for that help and assure them that you will not see it as a sign of weakness, but as strength to admit they are human and cannot do everything on their own.  Then agree to help in any way you can when they do ask so you maintain their trust.
  • Have preset rules with the kids!  Whether the kids are yours, theirs or both of yours, discuss each of your views on certain situations involving your children.  Lay guidelines.  Post rules on the fridge for all to read and clearly state what the consequences are for each infraction.  It may be necessary to have separate lists for different age groups.  That way, there is no running to the other parent for salvation.  The rules are the rules.  I have to admit; this is something we learned that we wish we would have done.  We never actually incorporated it and regret it.  It would have saved many struggles between us and with the boys.
  • Take turns!  We had our first child a year and a half after we got married.  Who was going to change the diaper next always turned into a screaming match for us.  Don’t let this happen for you.  It’s not something to fight over.  Be courteous and take turns.  No one likes it.  If you work as a team on this and other things that are not pleasant, they will get done and the teamwork will provide a stronger bond and a greater respect between you both.

I feel like I have taken up enough of your time for now.  I have written most of the second half of this and look forward to sharing it with you.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2!!  Please watch for it by signing up to receive notifications.  They don’t do anything with your information except use it to send you my notifications.  It takes very little time and effort.  In the meantime, while you await part 2, please share this with everyone you know.  Let them know part 2 is on it’s way.  My husband and I would love to hear that because of these tips, others have made their relationships into what they dreamed it could be.

Please comment below and let us know which number is your favorite and why.  Remember, I have more to follow but you may also leave one of your suggestions that has helped you with your marriage.

(Please check to the right to see if the second part of this has been posted by checking the post listings or categories and also look for other tips and techniques that will reduce your stress and give you greater inner peace and happiness.  Thank you as always, for stopping by and THANK YOU FOR SHARING!)  ❤