Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lessons from our First 30 Years

We started dating when we were 16 years old. We thought we were grownups and knew everything. We certainly knew that we wanted to be together. He was tall, athletic, cute and popular. I had never dated anyone less than two year older (I was just WAY too cool and mature for that). Exclusive dating was new to me, believing it was more fun to keep my options open...but after two weeks with this boy, I didn't need other options. That was in November of 1972. (I feel like a dinosaur even admitting it.) We went to college, got married and now, on our 30th anniversary (May 26th) I'd like to share some lessons I've learned. These are the top six:
  • Husbands need to hear and speak fewer words than wives. He gets tired of listening to the whole story, so get to the point fast and don't fear silence. When he speaks, try to learn his shorthand so you don't have to make him elaborate or clarify. Save that for the really important discussions. Lengthy, irrelevant conversations can be taxing for some men.
  • Wives need to be less critical of themselves and stop complaining. Why point out your inflated butt or deflated chest? Learn to love yourself or shut up about it. (Take care of yourself... stewardship of your fitness/appearance is important!) He doesn't know what to say when you utter these gripes and likes the way you look naked regardless of your complaints.
  • Remember to let him know you appreciate him. (Even if you're going through a time when you don't!) Find something to thank and praise him for; working hard at his job, a good "dad moment," how a shirt looks on him...anything. Let him know you're supportive of his efforts and proud of him.
  • Don't neglect physical intimacy. Sometimes we get tired, bored or complacent about this. I've known women whose low self-esteem causes them to avoid making love and having fun with this significant component of marriage. What a loss!
  • Husbands and wives need to find, nurture and pursue their individual passions and God-given purposes. If we wrap ourselves entirely in our marriage and family there will come a time when things become quiet and we'll be lost. Feed the dreams you have and you'll be more fulfilled, making you a much better partner.
  • If we truly learn to put God at the center of our marriage things come together more fluidly. If both partners put the other first, everyone wins. Forgiveness will come more naturally and may be necessary less often.

I haven't been the best wife in the world. In fact, I've made some grave mistakes and have regrets for my failings. I know my husband has the same humble attitude. Mostly I know that over time, raising two kids together and running a business side-by-side we've weathered the storms and survived the relationship challenges that everyone faces. We're best friends, lovers, and partners for life. That's what I've learned from my 30 years of marriage.

Diane Markins

Whether you've been married a year or 50, or even if you're single and a good observer; you've surely got some relationship wisdom to share below.

*We are taking an Alaskan cruise next week to celebrate. I'll post some pictures on the blog when we return.


Anonymous said...

When my in-laws celebrated their 75th Anneversary, the media caught wind of the occasion and they all showed up to catch the celebration on TV and newspaper. When a reporter asked Mom what her secret to such a long marriage was, she pointed that strong chin straight at him, curved up this side of her little mouth, stopped her constant hand twitching and declared in 4 words "A sense of humor!" Having been married to her "Sonny Boy" for 29years I have to say "Amen" to that!

Pat Williams
Mary Kay Director

Anonymous said...

congratulations!!!!!! and thanks for the great words.....
Diane Zapponi

Anonymous said...

We still fondly remember our excursion to Alaska - and could readily do it again so enjoy! - the scenery, the unexpecteds and just being with each other. I herald every milestone of marriage. Your points were cogent and doable and even after over 50 years of marriage there is more to learn about our spouse.
Rita Puckett

Anonymous said...

Thanks Diane- and congratulations. You had such a concise list, I can't add a single word, expect that it was an encouragement to me. We are on our 13th year and your words come in handy!

Kurt and Theresia Whitfield said...

How wonderful! Congratulations on your faithfulness and obedience to God's call for your lives. Have a wonderful anniversary celebration and a fantastic trip. Excellent post - as always!
Theresia Whitfield

dawn said...

Thanks for the reminders...especially the intimacy piece. I would only add Pasor Allan's words of wisdom that "men are microwaves and women are crockpots". So true... Finding a "stew" you can make together on the "stove" is the key to compromise! ;-)

God Bless and congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Depending on where you're at in your relationship I think sometimes you read or hear something and it just clicks and makes you realize "hey, maybe that's what he needs/wants". Thanks for sharing some of what you've learned over your FIRST 30 years of marriage :)