Jessica and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary on February 24! A few years ago I came up with this acrostic, the ABCs of a happy marriage. I was inspired to update it for our 10 year anniversary. Below you can read my advice as a married man of 10 years. . . enjoy!
Some wisdom/advice after 10 amazing years of marriage:
-APPRECIATE your partner; appreciate everything that s/he does for you and for the relationship from the daily mundane of unloading the dishwasher or picking up the dirty clothes to the big stuff like supporting you when you get laid off or your family is falling apart. ALWAYS express that appreciation.
-BE there to support your partner. Sometimes that means just listening at the end of the day. Jessica doesn't always want me to solve her problems, sometimes she just wants to get them off her chest.
-CUDDLE. Physical contact has amazing powers of healing and connection.
-DELIGHT in each other. Really take joy in your partner and look forward to the time you get to spend together.
-EAT meals together. You really have to be intentional about this. Sit at the table and turn off the TV, the cell phones, the facebook. Look into each other's eyes, hold each other's hands and connect over the breaking of bread together. There is something sacramental about sharing a meal together.
-FIGHT FAIR. Sounds strange, but be comfortable with having disagreements and arguing about it. That is healthy. But don't bring up past events and don't keep something bottled up inside until you blow up. Bring it up when it makes you mad, fight about it, but fight fair.
-GO on dates. Again, be intentional about this, but make the time and space to reconnect. It doesn't have to cost a lot, but it has to be an intentional time for the two of you to do nothing but focus on the two of you.
-HOLD HANDS. Back to that amazing power of physical contact.
-INVEST in the relationship. A good relationship is truly an investment of time and energy, but it is so worth it. Small, intentional investments in the relationship can pay long-term dividends.
-JOVIALITY Staying cheerful to each other in spite of what life may throw at you
-KINETIC. We are always in motion, but working at moving together. Synchronize your actions.
-LINE-ITEM VETO. Ok, this may take a little explanation, blame the political scientist in me. When your spouse is critiquing or criticizing part of an idea you have, don't immediately get defensive and take it as a criticism of you or of your whole idea. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and allow them a "line-item veto" while not undermining or feeling criticized about your idea as a whole or you as a person.
-MIND YOUR Ps AND Qs. Just because you are comfortable with your spouse, that doesn't give you the right to stop being polite, saying please and thank you, and being respectful
-NOSTALGIC. Don't forget the good times. When the going gets tough, it becomes easy to focus on the negative, but be nostalgic for all the positive parts of your relationship and work to recreate those
-OPEN-MINDED to the possibilities God may have for you and your partner.
-PRAY together, and pray specifically for your relationship, even when it is going well, don't forget to thank God for that.
-QUEEN, treat her like one, not the band, the royalty
-ROAM together. Traveling together strengthens a relationship
-SIMPLICITY. The most important relationship in the world is the two of you. It is that simple.
-TAKE TIME for each other and your relationship. This is a recurring theme, but be intentional about building, supporting and protecting your relationship by making and taking time for it.
-UNDERSTANDING is so key. Really work to understand your partner and what s/he needs from you to be the best s/he can be. Then provide that.
-VENTURE to new places and try new things together. Keep it fresh by sharing new experiences together and build your life around what you learn about yourself and each other from those experiences
-WAIT for each other. Sometimes you and your partner will not arrive at the same place together, so be patient and wait for each other. (both metaphorically and physically) Also, WAIT ON each other, serve your partner with no expectation of anything except for the joy you should get from serving your partner.
-XOXOXOXO Lots of hugs and kisses, need I say more?
-YEARN for each other. Yearn for the success of your partner, the happiness of your partner and the love of your partner. Yearn together.
-ZANINESS. Described as foolishness or passion, be comfortable being a passionate fool for your partner.
In the "better half" equation, there is no doubt that Jessica is my "better half." She moderates me in a good way and loves me more than I could ever hope for. Thanks for 10 great years, and here is to 100 more!