My Mom and Dad have been married for over 50 years years. My sister married her high school sweetheart and they have surpassed 25 year of marriage. I married my middle school sweetheart, and we've been married for now 30 years. I'm surrounded by other couples who have been together for a long time. These are my ten observations for sustaining a healthy partnership.
- Understand the other person. Remember Stephen Covey's "Seek First to Understand" principle? Whenever your partner snaps at you or is irritable and angry and you're not sure why, ask these questions. Did something upsetting happen recently? Is he/she tired for some reason? Is there something going on that is overwhelming? Pause and ask these kinds of questions before reacting the same way.
- Laugh everyday. You fell in love because you shared some common interests and enjoyed each other's company. Watch a funny video together! There are so many now on social media! I love puppy videos! Or clips of our favorite comedians! Or share one of your inside jokes to stay connected. Laughter changes anyone's mood for the better.
- Sacrifice and give. So you don't particularly like action movies or sushi, but your spouse does! Be generous and sacrifice for your partner. Observe what is happening in your partner's life with work, the kids, life activities. If there is a way to release some of the responsibilities and stress for your partner, do it! Do the laundry so your spouse's work clothes are ready. Pack the lunches when your spouse has a grueling work week ahead. Allow your spouse some quiet alone time and have their favorite snack ready and waiting. Just give.
- Don't argue in public or in front of the kids. Don't make your fight, EVERYONE's fight to see. Protect each other and keep things private. Let twenty-four hours pass to see if you still feel angry the next day before starting a conversation. Hurtful things are said in the heat of the moment.
- Fix the problem. Share with your partner what you would like him/her to do to fix the problem and what you are also willing to do to fix the issue. Then follow through.
- Never stop courting. Text your spouse a love note. Let him/her know that he/she is the most special person to you. My husband picks my car up at work without me knowing and has it washed and filled up. I love when he does that! He has my favorite snacks packed when we go on road trips. When he comes across a show that he thinks I'll like, he records it for me. He buys me lotto scratchers too! This is how I know he thinks about me. My husband likes to cook but sometimes I'll pick up his favorite food on the way home and let him know dinner is taken care of! I'll also ask him if he wants to check out the latest event that he might be interested in and we'll calendar it! Do these type of things for each other to keep your love flowing.
- Hug every day. If you have fur babies, you know that they like to snuggle and be next to you and get affection. Humans are the same way. A kiss, hug, hand on the back, shoulder or foot massage is great coming from your loved one. It demonstrates that you are a unit!
- Plan your future! There's nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than reaching a goal that you have planned together. Planning your future is a conduit to working and staying together. Make your bucket list today!
- Be apart sometimes. This gives the opportunity to recharge and think about ...
- Be thankful. Thank them for what they do to make your life better. Every day, be thankful.
When you keep your spouse in mind and on your mind, you keep your relationship rich and long-lasting.