Thirty years ago today my bride and I made vows to live for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to stay together forever. Last night I got the urge to write just how we made it 30 years. I wanted to search Google for what others have done to have it exactly right. Instead, I said, if I can’t come up with 30 reasons off the top of my head how we made it this far, I stink. Seriously, if it is supposed to be my most important goal in life, why should I not be able to rattle off the top of my head those things I strive for daily?
Disclaimer – This really was done on the fly, no change to the order, or going back to some important note all the books taught us in the past would say are ‘key’. I did run it by my bride, who thumbs upped most of it. Those were the only edits (and my typos) So here it goes:
30 Tips to stay married 30 years
#1 – We live selflessly – I dislike camping/fishing, I dislike horses, my wife loves camping/fishing, my wife loves horses. My wife dislikes watching sports and talking politics, now we both love each of these either a little less or a little more. Compromise = Love.
#2 – We are honest and real with each other. – My wife has a gift of reading me like a book, I learned long ago it makes no sense to fake it, so why try. We are who we are but we want to be something different, change takes time, we work with each other to get there.
#3 – We Accept one another as we are – Not that we have an excuse to be a jerk, but we look in the mirror, perfection is far away, so we don’t expect it out of thy spouse.
#4 – Laugh, laugh, and laugh. – Taking ourselves too seriously is boring, and creates a never reachable pursuit of perfection, which is impossible.
#5 – Be stubborn in a good way – We try to never give up on ourselves and especially on one another.
#6 – We provide zero, that is ZERO, exit plans – Divorce is never an option.
#7 – We try to do the little things often and always – without expecting anything, that is anything, in return.
#8 – We do not own – MINE is a four letter word (how a married couple can have separate bank accounts is beyond our thinking). We also have two of some things – two coffee pots because I like mine weak, she likes hers strong, two Ipads, two offices, two cars, two kids, two cats, two dogs, …. some things you learn after a while are better off not being shared.
#9 – It is ok to fail, but not ok to refuse an apology.
#10 – It is ok to fail, but not ok to think it did not matter, leave space and time for healing, especially if I was the heel.
#11 – We try to find out what works and stick with it -everyone is different, just because a book says this is what everyone should do, don’t buy it, I am unique and so is my spouse. Our harmony likewise is different from any other couple, we try to grasp that uniqueness as a couple and hold on tight, it is ours and ours alone.
#12 – We Talk about what is working and do it all the more. We Talk about what is not working, and try to do it less or not at all.
#13 – We accept that we both really are from different planets and speak different languages. It provides hourly opportunities to ask and talk about what we’re thinking, feeling, and wanting. One or Two Rosetta Stone courses is not suffice to know our languages. We must constantly be working to know what every word means, and realize, new ones are discovered that even the other is not aware of.
#14 – We will never buy a house (or someday rent a retirement pad, lol) where the master bathroom has only one sink, ever again. Face it, some things just plain are different between us, accept that fact and deal with it.
#15 – We try to Embrace adversity, it is what makes us and our marriage stronger.
Ok, if you’ve read an Average Joe’s Portico blog, you know by now, I have the practical average everyday advice in the first half, and my spiritual view in the second half on purpose. If you want to stop here, it is up to you, move on and may the practical honest tips so far make your relationships, whether married or not, stronger from here on out. If you want a much deeper view, read on for the next 15 reasons.
And for my sanity sake, if you have never read it yet click on the red line below and see what my blog theme is about (it tells what is a portico and why this line is in every post)
The next 15 tips are ones I strive to achieve, I believe they are God’s standards for a husband. Only by His Grace and with the power to bring heaven to earth, as the power was granted to us, are they achievable. With God all things are possible, with our willingness, gulp, we can come close to some of these. It is easier said than done, but imagine if every Christian did most of these even some of the time, what a different world we would live in today. We have the ability, it is in us.
#16 – Without God being #1 in our life, little else will work out right. All the nice things to do in tips 1-15 takes an effort to do them. I must spend time with Him and seek His view on everything to have the strength and wisdom to carry on.
#17 – The best way to learn how to have a giving relationship, is to spend it with the Master Giver. When I see how much He gives, the easier it is for me to give.
#18 – The best way to learn how to have a loving relationship, is to spend it with the Master Lover. When I see how much He loves, the easier it is for me to love.
#19 – The best way to learn how to have a forgiving relationship, is to spend it with the Master Forgiver. When I see how much He forgives me, the easier it is for me to forgive my wife.
#20 – The best way to learn how to forgive my wife for anything she has done is to see how I have been forgiven by God. When I see how much He forgives me, the easier it is for me to forgive my wife, and vice versa. If I do not see my part in any disagreement, or maybe I really screwed up, and need to get God’s forgiveness for that first, until I get right with God, there is no getting it right with my wife. Let me repeat that again for my own sake. If I do not see my part in any disagreement, or maybe I really screwed up, and need to get God’s forgiveness for that first, until I get right with God, there is no getting right with my wife.
#21 – My role as a leader and husband is to represent Jesus as if I were the bride of Christ. Holy and blameless, and most importantly, be loving as God is, ALL the time. In other words live as Christ lived – If my spouse sees no need for the God I believe in, I better go to Him on bent knees and ask how I blew it, and then return to her on those same knees and beg for forgiveness for falling so short of passing on and being the example of His love.
#22 – Ok, If I am forgiven, sanctified, washed of past, present, and future sins then that means I have technically already passed through judgment, correct? So I need to see God’s Love and His goodness above all else. For Me.
#23 – Ok, If my spouse is forgiven, sanctified, washed of past, present, and future sins then that means they have technically already passed through judgment, correct? So I need to see God’s Love and His goodness above all else. For your other half. They are perfect, that is how He sees them. So should I. Not when they get their act together, then I’ll really love them, NO, now in all the imperfection. Actually, in all the perfection He sees before it has happened that has been given to them through His grace.
#24 – If I believe God is good, and He is never angry at me, how can I who carry His light in me, not be good and never angry with my spouse? Ok reality check – I am not Jesus and my wife is not Jesus and she who lives with me knows I am not, no doubt. So we have to lighten up with each other. Tip #24 Lighten up!
#25 – Stolen from #4 – Laugh, laugh, and laugh. – Taking ourselves too seriously is boring, and creates a never reachable pursuit of perfection, which is impossible in the flesh. So have fun behind closed doors, laugh at our faults and know God has a sense of humor. He is not holding fast every mistake we have made. God, we’ve been married 30 years, my list of mistakes is now in the 100,000’s easily.
#26 – Make a huge effort to remember all the good things and forget the bad. Constantly talk about the happy and great memories of your life together. Even more so, talk about the amazing things God has done in your lives, so they are not forgotten.
One Biblical reference only in this list; Joshua 4 4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”
Rough times come in any relationship, that is the time to pull out the happy memory book.
Rough times come along in our life and the relationship with God will be tested. That is why remembering the great and awesome things He has done have to be remembered. When we need that extra boost of faith, we have a rock of remembrance to stand upon to hold us steady to remind us, He did it before, He will do it again. (If that has never been your experience – go to my story titled – Is Religion Evil and read where this Average Joe had his first stone laying experience. One that I do not want to ever forget.)
#27 – Share common dreams and let the other live the dreams of their heart. Help each other fulfill those dreams. Be the giver and motivator that helps make it happen.
#28 – Colossians 3:27 says ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men’. Remember, even if your spouse does not appreciate what you are doing for them, do it as if you are doing it for God, not for them. The urge to say screw this I am not going to do it because they do not appreciate it, will go away. We must often do things we do not feel like doing.
#29 – Work on not being negative and dragging the other down. If bringing anything down, be sure it is bringing heaven’s thoughts and presence, down to earth.
#30 – Finally – Work hard at being positive, as God is good and in a good mood all of the time, so we must try to bring each other up and speak and act as if we heard it straight from heaven.
Go to the source for all good that is carried, otherwise, keep it in a place that is best kept buried.