Thursday, May 31, 2012

15 ways to stay married for 15 years & then some

The moment I read this article after it went viral a month or so ago, I knew I had to both share it and write about it. It is hands down the best relationship of any kind I have ever received.
Here’s author Lydia Netzer’s 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 years—and then my own commentary about each one. (You can click here for her full blog post explaining each point).

1. Go to bed mad.

Hahahaha – I was right the first time! 

2. Laugh if you can.
Laughing is my favorite thing to do. Making me laugh during a supposed fight is Matt’s favorite thing to do.  Approximately 99.9% of the time, I am not actually as mad as I am letting on. Having him there to diffuse the situation is always so great.
3. Don't criticize. Ever.
Even non-verbally?? Dang, I guess I should stop “subtly” poking Matt’s belly. Being married has not good for either of our diets. Super bummer coming into swimsuit season!

4. Be the mirror.
Mirror, cheerleader, same thing. Matt has been awfully busy at work for awhile now. His new position has required him to learn a lot of new things and perform in a much more fast-paced environment, so it’s my job as a good wife to tell him he’s awesome, he’s best employee ever, etc, etc. You’d be surprised what I come up with sometimes!

5. Be proud and brag.
Ok, so like, he IS awesome and probably at least among the best employees they’ve got. But also, even with his ever-growing midsection (haha, one last jab), he’s hot. And good at volleyball. Oh, and baseball. Even listening. Really, anything he does. J  He better be out there right now telling everyone how cool and pretty I am!

6. Do your own thing.
Speaking of baseball...that’s Matt’s “thing” – as long as he can, that’s what he’ll drive drive more than hour to twice a week to play. I have my own leagues of softball, too. Our interests are shared but we still have our own time away from each other to be ourselves. It gives us something to talk about for the brief periods of time between sports that we do get to hang out.

7. Have kids.
Next, please.

8. Get really good at sex.
Also skipping this one.  
9. Move.
Does travelling count? Because we have done plenty of that.  In fact, we went to the Kentucky Derby this year! [The fact that I had too many mint juleps and passed out in the infield during the actual Derby race is beside the point].  Back to the point, unless something *CRAZY* happens, we’re not going anywhere in terms of actually moving away.
10. Stop thinking temporarily.
I couldn’t have said anything better than what Lydia did, so enjoy: Marriage is not conditional. It is permanent. Your husband will be with you until you die. That is a given. It sounds obvious, but really making it a given is hard. You tend to think in "ifs" and "thens" even when you've publicly committed to forever. If he does this, I won't tolerate it. If I do this, he'll leave me. If I get fat. If I change jobs. If he says mean things. If he doesn't pay more attention. It's natural, especially in the beginning of your marriage, to keep those doubts in your head. But the sooner you can let go of the idea that marriage is temporary -- and will end if certain awful conditions are met -- the sooner you will let go of all kinds of conflict and stress. Yes, you may find yourself in a horrible situation where it's absolutely necessary to get a divorce. But going into it with divorce in the back of your mind, even in the way way way back of your mind, is going to cause a lot of unnecessary angst. Accept that you're going to stay with him. He's going to stay with you. Inhabit that and figure out how to make THAT work, instead of living with the "what if"s and "in case of's."

11. Do not put yourself in trouble's way.
My ex-boyfriend of five years, from about 10 years ago, recently tried to add me as a friend on Facebook out of the blue. It didn’t even cross my mind to accept because of this very point. If Matt played with social media, I’d expect the same from him.  I don’t want to be in a place to even  be able to touch temptation with a 10-foot pole.

12. Make a husband pact with your friends.
I don’t do much criticizing of the hubs, but ok, friends, if I do – don’t judge him for it. It’s probably me that’s the problem.

13. Bitch to his mother, not yours.
“To,” huh – not “about?”

14. Be loyal.

15. Trust the person you married.
100% without a doubt. If any doubt, don’t do it. Call it quits. If you can trust each other, not just in terms of being unfaithful, but simply trust yourself around each other to not say that mean thing you’re thinking, that’s not a good sign. If you’ve got trust, then you’ve got loyalty in the bag, too. Now, I’ve never climbed up and then jumped off a 6-foot ladder with my eyes closed and asked Matt to catch me, but I do still trust the guy.
By no means is this a end-all-be-all of marriage advice, but I found it pretty comprehensive from what I know so far--though I couldn't believe saying "I told you" as often as possible didn't make the cut. In fact,  reading Lydia’s version made me smile and think about things in a different light, and I even made Matt sit through my reading her article aloud, as well as my on the spot live commentary. We had some good laughs and discussion that way. I hope my version allows you the same self-realizations and smiles. If not, go "bitch" to your mother about me then, I guess.

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