Thursday, June 9, 2016

How We Stay Together (Without Killing Each Other)


(A version of this post was originally published by Mamalode on June 9, 2016.)

My hubby and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That's a lifetime compared to Hollywood marriages these days. It's like 126 years in dog years. Just saying.

Marriage is not easy. 

It takes work-work-work-work-work (in my best Rihanna voice). And trust me, we've had our fair share of arguing. Of name-calling. Of slamming doors. Of knock-down, drag-out fights. We've learned through the school of hard knocks what it takes to make a marriage last.

I'm certainly not the most qualified individual to be doling out relationship advice. But I AM a hopeless romantic. I'm in love with the idea of forever. I'm in love with the idea of two people who never give up on each other. No matter what.

So, here are 7 lessons in loving that I've learned the hard way:

1. Be Nice to Each Other.  We are often nicer to people we don't even know than we are to our own spouses. We take them for granted. We take out our own frustrations on them. Over the years, many crooners have sung the line, "You always hurt the ones you love," and the unfortunate reality is that in most relationships, those lyrics ring true.

2. Don't Nag.  No one likes to be nagged. Do you? My point exactly. So, exercise the golden rule on this one and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's just good old plain common sense and common courtesy.

3. Disagree IN FRONT of the Kids. Don't try to keep up the charade that everything between mommy and daddy is always perfect. Your kids need to witness you having an argument and watch you work toward solving it right in front of them.

4. Make Each Other Laugh. The longer I live, the more I realize that laughter really is the best medicine. Life is hard enough as it is, so do your best to not take it too seriously. Provide some comic relief to help keep each other ROFL!

5. Give Each Other Freedom. If you love something, set it free. We've all heard that old adage, and it couldn't be more true. No one likes to feel trapped in a corner or pinned down beneath someone's thumb. Allow one another the freedom to dream new dreams and pursue them, even if it's not what you originally signed up for. Support and encourage each other along the way.

6. Don't Say the D-Word.  And, by that, I mean divorce. If you really want a marriage that lasts, then don't even throw that word out on the table. Not even if it's just a threat. Divorce is not an option if you want to stay together, so don't even mention that word. All other d-words are perfectly acceptable. 

7. Forgive. And Forgive Again. This one speaks for itself. Love always hopes. Always perseveres. Always endures. So, unless you or your kids are being emotionally or physically abused, keep forgiving one another. Seventy times seven. And never, ever stop believing that you two are going to make it. 

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