On my drive in to work this morning, the radio show I was listening to asked their listeners for marriage advice. I didn’t get to hear much, as my commute is a total of 10 minutes when the college kids are on break around here (one of the perks of living in a college town). It did get me to thinking – what advice would I give? And who would want advice from a divorced woman? Obviously I am not the expert at marriage. Or perhaps my insight might help, because I know what it takes to keep one from failing at this thing we call matrimony.
First and foremost, make your spouse a priority. Put down your phone, iPad, gaming system….insert name of the electronic you are always on. My husband is laughing right now, because I am always on my iPad or phone. When you are with your spouse, put down the damn phone. Look up and actually look at your spouse. Make them the first priority. If the person that is texting you, emailing you is more important than your spouse, if you are more focused on answering them….there’s a problem. If the game you are playing is more important than turning around and talking to your spouse…there’s a problem. Your spouse deserves your attention first, before others.
Make time to be alone together. Got out on a date, at least every other week. Be it lunch, or a nice dinner, a movie, or just a long walk…..make the time. If you have kids, someone is pulling at your attention 24/7. Getting away helps to refocus on the core of the family…the 2 of you. And equally important, find time to get away together every now and then. Whether it be a single night in a different city or a week away at a fabulous resort, take that vacation together…alone. Yes, you want to take family vacations and make memories with your kids. But in just a few short years, the kids will be gone and you’ll be staring at your spouse. Take the time to travel together and make your own memories…before life gets in the way and you can’t travel no more.
Never take each other for granted. If your spouse does something you appreciate, tell him/her. When you leave for work in the morning, remember that there is no guarantee they are coming home that night. Accidents happen, lives are changed. Look at your spouse like it’s the last time you’ll ever see them. All of a sudden, all the petty shit falls away.
Never lose touch. And by touch, I mean the physical. Hold hands. Kiss. Brush his arm as you walk by. Hug her from behind to say good morning. And yes, the obvious touch….make sure that remains a priority (won’t spell that one out because I have at least one child that reads what mom writes). When you touch, you stay connected. And by touch, I also mean contact. Talk during the day…if you are apart, which most hard-working couples are during the day, text, chat, message. Just check in to let them know you are there for them if they need you. Its nice knowing that while you are struggling with a project at work, there’s someone out there rooting for you, that has your back, that can’t wait to see you again.
Make time to listen to your spouse. If they are babbling about something going on in their life, no matter how boring, you should be happy that they want to share this with you. Think of the alternative…silence…or worse, them sharing their day with someone else who will listen. Make sure you are the safe zone that they can bounce their fears and concerns off of. Don’t be so quick to negate something your spouse says. If it worries them, there’s got to be a reason behind it. Take the time to try to understand, rather than just blowing them off because it seems stupid to you.
Those are just a few of my thoughts on the subject. Am I an expert because my first marriage failed? Nope. Am I an expert because I’ve now been married 5 years to the love of my life? Nope. Just a simple girl trying to make it work in this crazy world. Take my advice or leave it. But let me know how things end up if you ignore every piece of advice I just gave and do the opposite.