Today, my wife Andre' and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. Yes, she must be a saint to have put up with me for that long... I hear ya. Looking back I asked myself, what has kept us together? Keep in mind, I am no saint and I have made many serious errors over the last 15 years. But, saint or not, I feel there are many foundational things that have kept us together for the long haul.
Here are the 10 things I feel have been most important to our success.
1. Never go to bed mad. Yes, I did fall asleep once in the midst of an apology, but you get my drift. Even if you have to work the next day, stay up late and get it resolved.
2. Say I love you when you hang up the phone with your spouse. I never, ever hang up with my spouse with out saying, love you bye.
3. Go out on dates. Dating does not end in college or at the age of 20. I am amazed at the number of people that tell me they have not gone to the movies in 10 years. Go on a date with your spouse. If you have to set a date on your calendar, do it.
4. 1800flowers.com works great! Set reminders and never forget flowers on all major occasions.
5. Be willing to uphold your spouses hobbies no matter what. My wife loves horses. I will concede that I do not really love horses, but they make her very happy and thus they are a part of our marriage.
6. Work hard. Get a job and work hard. But, remember this... work to live... do not live to work.
7. When criticizing your mother-in-law, be ready to take jabs about your mom too. Turn about is fair play.
8. Enjoy God's greatest gift... kids. Have some, love them and teach your kids by example that love between a husband and wife is very special. Plus, the practice it takes to make those kids can keep you alive too. Important note on the bedroom... be fair, be realistic and be romantic.
9. You are wrong a lot. Remember that. Humble yourself, say you are sorry and move on. Ask yourself, in the end, will this really matter? Probably not.
10. Always make decisions together.
Final thoughts... the above 10 are not a one way street. Both of you must adopt and live by the same rules. If you are in a bad place right now, I would encourage you stop and look back on what was the "thing" that you liked most about your spouse on day one. Find that "thing". Re-connect. Sit down and make some plans to go out on a date.