Til Death Parts Us
That was the last line of my wedding vows which was 4 years 4 months and 9 days ago. Since then we have dealt with a lot (as any couple does) which includes cancer (he was diagnosed 4 months after our wedding and beat it!), buying a home, having a baby, changing jobs, money issues, personal endeavors, and sick parents. These every day things can really weigh on a marriage and if your foundation isn't strong it can crack and even break...this happened to us. Despite being together for 5 years before we were married we never really had to deal with much stress until after we got married (oddly enough), we then realized we're not as strong of a team as we thought we were. We got comfortable, complacent, bored, and stressed...in other words we let real life take over and said bye bye honeymoon period. Now what?!
About a year and a half ago I left. With a 4 month old. I just couldn't do it anymore and didn't know what else to do. I'm not going to go into details but it was a wake up call for the both of us. For the last year we have bounced back and forth from being together and separating leaving us currently in a separated (but working on it) stage. We are finally talking to a family/marriage counselor and it seriously has worked wonders but we definitely still have the days where we struggle. You fall back into your bad habits and in our case that creates a volcano that blows! BUT this time we both have made a conscious decision to stick through it. We will make this work. Forever.
Today was one of those days. Voices were raised, names were called (which is never helpful) and fingers were pointed. We both were at fault for our actions. It made me stop and think why do we do this to each other?! So in an effort to salvage some hope that marriage can work I put out a question to my personal Facebook and my Sally Stitches fan page
"If you could give a newly married couple realistic advice about how to make it work for a long time what would it be?"
The response was overwhelming. So here are some of the responses I received...I will be listing just first names so you know whether men or women wrote it. Please share with me your comments and ideas!
- Communication is key --Nate S.
- Being happy is more important than being right --Dave S.
- For better or worse - see it through!! --Jean S.
- It's okay to go to bed angry; sleep it off and generally once you're rested things don't seem that bad. Often they seem stupider than you thought the night before, and you can laugh at it. --Megan F.
- When upset with each other tell each other one reason you love them - "even though I am upset with you one thing I love about you is..." --Melissa A.
- Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. In most cases they're not acting out of malice, and you'll avoid a lot of arguments if you don't assume they are. --Eowyn C.
- If you cannot talk about a hot button topic to resolve an upset in the moment, give it some time. Respect for each other will keep you together, the ability to let something rest until cooler heads prevail will keep love lasting. I don't always like something my spouse does/says but I've never lost love or respect for him and I try to remember that in those moments where life tests me. --Nina S.
- Don't be a**holes to each other. Haha. How's that for honest. --Kari B.
- Financial peace does wonders to prevent stress and fights --Lee W.
- Don't take everything so seriously! Allow each other to have their own space, not everything needs to be done together. And get rid of any ideas that come from books or movies...neither are realistic nor practical. Have fun! (Works for us...almost at 28 years!) We must be lucky, I can only remember maybe three arguments over the last 28 years, otherwise smooth sailing...gotta let the small stuff go. --Karl S.
- Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff --Nikkie S.
- Communication!!! And remember that not every couple communicates the best the same way. Some do better writing things down, some better in the moment in person, some better after cooling down away from each other for a few minutes then talking in person. Every couple is different but knowing how each other feels about things and figuring out how to work with each other on those things will help a lot!!! --Farren G.
- Treat each other kinder than you treat others. Most folks resort to the opposite. If you wouldn't talk to your boss or a new friend that way, don't talk to your spouse that way. Also, wake up every day and think of one thing you can do to make your spouse happy. It doesn't have to be big, or romantic... Clean off the kitchen counter, pay the bills, wear that shirt he likes. --Jen P.
- Learn each others love language. We all give and receive love differently and most times we show people love in the way we need to receive it ourselves. --Chloe C.
- My mom and dad have been married for 49 yrs and I just asked my mom the secret to their success not long ago and she said Forgiveness, but whole hearted ..when you forgive you let go and move on. My dad says if you can figure out money and sex it's smooth sailing because somehow you'll never have enough of either one. --Tammy R.
- Don't think your spouse can read your mind. Talk, don't assume. --Elina S.
- Laugh together --Katie S.
- Forgiveness, don't wait for him to apologize or make a big show of being sorry. Just remember you love him and forgive and forget. --Leah O.