In September we celebrated our 17th anniversary.
I guess that means we have some idea of what makes a good marriage work. After all, I’d marry Josh all over again (in a heartbeat!), and he says the same about me.
A friend asked for advice of what makes a marriage work. We spent some time coming up with things that we’ve found to make the time together successful and enjoyable.
1. Don’t try to change your spouse. You married them for who they were, so don’t try to change it later. It will just cause frustration to both of you.
2. Make each other happy. Learn their love language and practice it as often as possible. Doing so will virtually guarantee they’ll do the same in return.
3. Marriage does take two. You can’t have a strong marriage unless you both want it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight for it if your spouse is floundering, but you can’t make it succeed all in your own.
4. Be each other’s biggest fan. Believe in your spouse even when (or especially when) they don’t believe in themselves.
5. Don’t let anyone else be more encouraging or speak words of life to them more than you do.
6. Keep a positive attitude. I’ve never considered being married to be a struggle because I’m walking through life with my best friend. In the good times or struggles, we remember that we’re better together than we ever could be apart.
7. Keep it fun. Whatever “fun” looks like to you, make sure you keep doing that. It could mean theme parks or haunted houses, building LEGO or going to the beach…fun brings you together.
I want to add a couple caveats to the above list.
1. Marriage takes two. If you’re in a marriage and doing all the work, this won’t work the same way. Your spouse has to want to have a successful relationship too.
2. We both have generations of successful marriages to build on. Our parents and grandparents were all married once, for life. That really does make a HUGE difference. Yes, we do follow the list above, but honestly we don’t have to think about it most of the time. It just happens, because that’s what we watched our parents do.