5 Steps You Learned in Kindergarten to Create a Happy Marriage

by Diane Sweeney on May 1, 2014

Couple

Don and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week! How blessed and lucky I feel to have shared all of these years with such a loving and faithful man.

The life we have created is incredibly good. It’s been built day by day, week by week and year by year. Through hard work, lucky breaks, winging it (many, many times), a bit of tact on both our parts – knowing when NOT to say something (which admittedly, he’s much better at!), and lots and lots of humor, we’ve reached this milestone!

According to Wikipedia, milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance traveled or the remaining distance to a destination.

So what are the reference points in a marriage?

Each anniversary, birth of your children, purchases and sales of homes, moves, job changes, and loss of friends and family are milestones.

Many of those memorable occasions help to reassure us that the proper path is being followed.

For Don and I, the birth and lives of our children were a defining and grounding assurance that life was progressing the way that it should for us. Having children and raising a family was a purpose and core value for both of us.

Yet the distance traveled does not necessarily assure any marriage will go the remaining distance. 

Situations change and life throws us plenty of curve balls.

As the nest begins to empty, the dynamics begin to change. There is no one else there to divert your attention or to use as a reason to divert your attention.

(C’mon – we all do it!)

Now it’s just the two of you.

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” – Barnett R. Brickner

This new time alone allows you as a couple to remember what brought you together, reflect on the life you have built and it also brings to light the parts of one another’s personality that might not always make you feel warm and loving.

To go the remaining distance in your marriage, to enjoy the fun and freedom that maturity and mid-life bring, and to grow old together, “For the best is yet to be”, wise couples follow these simple rules, most of which we all learned in kindergarten:

  1. Enjoy one another. Remember what brought you together; the fun things you enjoyed doing when you were dating. The parts of the other’s personality that have always made you laugh and smile. Embrace them and find ways to enhance those parts of each of you!
  1. Handle differences creatively. You will never be in 100% agreement on certain issues. Recognize and accept these differences. If it’s in regard to restaurant choices, movies to see or vacation spots – take turns. Learn to see what the other likes about what they choose. You may expand your comfort zone in the process!
  1. Be humble. Admit when you are wrong. Don’t try to control everything. Recognize that not all things can go your way at all times. Admit it might not be your way, but your spouse’s way is not necessarily the wrong way for a particular situation. It’s just a different way. 
  1. Find a good balance of time alone and time together. Being number one in each other’s lives is very important. Being together all the time is not. Pursuing individual interests allows for each of you to bring new and interesting topics back to your together time.
  1. Be nice. No one ever said it was easy. But if we go back to what our mother’s taught us when we were young, everyone will be much happier! Follow the golden rule: Treat your spouse as you would want to be treated.

The distance you and your spouse will travel to get to any milestone will be filled with reference points of joy and sadness. Good days and bad days. Much laughter and many tears.

As in all relationships, there have been times in our 25 years of marriage when one or the other of us has been less than humble, nice, balanced, or creative in handling differences, but there is always that check in point in between the laughter and the tears where we are each certain that the proper path was being followed.

Approach this new phase of life and marriage with the excitement and hope that first brought you together with your spouse. Check in on those reference points; celebrate the milestones, and step by step you will continue to follow the proper path to a destination of a happily married life!

Want more tips on creating a good marriage and a focused life? Click on the right for an instant download  of 5 Steps to Get Focused!

 Share in the comments below the milestones and reference points that have kept your marriage on track!

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