This month I will celebrate my marriage anniversary.
We are often asked about our relationship and what has kept us together since we first met in 1988. From my experience, it takes two people to create a great relationship. One can’t bring it without the other. Both people have to do the things required to make it work successfully. My husband and I live unusual lives and have very high standards for our relationship. We enjoy a different lifestyle, and live in what we consider a better way for each other and our family. We WANT to live different, to live better, to see how wonderful, exciting and great we can make our lives together.
Here are some guidelines that have worked well for our relationship:
Take Exceptional Care of Yourself
Most Americans gain a pound a year over their adult lives, but not us. We still weigh what we weighed in our early 20’s. Taking care of yourself and wanting to remain healthy for each other is something we prioritize.
Many couples, especially couples that have been married as long as us, don’t spend intimate time together. We have rituals in place, like taking an evening walk around our garden and 3-4 times a year taking a trip alone together. Traveling, especially to exotic places keeps a sense of excitement and adventure in our relationship. If health conditions around the world are precarious, we revisit our favorite places in our home state of California.
Teach Your Children Well
Some parents are obsessed with and paranoid about their children and pour their lives into their kids in an excessive, unhealthy way. We are not “helicopter parents”. It is not good for the kids and takes a huge toll on a marriage. We parent around our lives together – not the other way around. We want our kids to see our relationship as the strong and stable nucleus of our home. We let them know that they are not the only people on the planet.
Many parents had difficult relationships with their teenage kids, but not us. We had honest, open, loving relationships with our wonderful kids. We are their “go-to people” for any challenge. We live in a three generational home, which can be challenging for many couples. Our children witness our caregiving of their grandparents and benefit from their daily interaction with them.
Inspired Living Space
We also appreciate having our own space and interests. We have a spacious home, and each of us has a place to call our own within it. We appreciate giving each other space, and just because we want to spend time away from each other doesn’t mean we love or cherish each other any less.
Being married to someone for over three decades creates a braid of love, steel, and trust that just gets stronger until its unbreakable. Love requires action. Deeply care about each other, have empathy, kindness, support, compassion and be reliable and honest. How truly fortunate I am to have a deep devotion, respect and admiration for someone who makes me a better me.
And for those of you still looking for love, remember to chose wisely and then treat kindly.