How to Stay Married For 37 Years – The Old-Fashioned Way – Tips For Newly Weds and Oldie Weds

THE SPARK!

All rightttyyy then, you have found Mr. or Ms Right- Love of your Life. You think about them every waking moment, pick up their call on the first ring, can’t wait until your next physical encounter (I mean lunch, dinner or a movie); gotta be everywhere they are; your heart just flip flops at the sound of their name. You are sprung and you feel that you cannot live without this person. OK, so you decide to seal this in the bonds of Holy Matrimony…… Believe me I do understand, been there, done that!

REALITY

OK, the wedding is over, all of the bridesmaids have gone back to Chicago, or Atlanta or Birmingham or where ever they came from. All the relatives, friends and co-workers have picked up their casserole dishes from the Bridal Shower and you are back from the Honeymoon ~~~ Now What?? You will soon learn that a big beautiful, expensive wedding does not equal a great marriage.

For the sake of this discussion, I will assume that you had ample time to get to know each other before the big day. However, let me say this – living with someone (as in marriage) is a lot different from having lunch or dinner with someone (as in dating).

During dating you generally have plenty of time to look your best and dress your best and always present well. But as some of you may already know, in marriage it does not always work that way. There are a lot of reasons why you may not be able to look your best (you may be ill, you may be stressed from a day at work, you may have been dealing with the kids all day) or what about just waking up in the morning ~ listen, believe me, people only look good in the morning on TV and in the movies.

Getting to Know Each Other Really

OK, let’s see, some things that are starting to ‘get on your nerves’ (spending too much time watching TV ( especially sports, or playing video games, or bringing work home or spending too much money shopping, leaving stuff laying around, changing the channel on the car radio while you are driving, etc.- oh, the list goes on….)

Now, watch this, I can guarantee you that most of the things that get on ‘your nerves’ now, are things that attracted you in the first place. Just think about it; whatever your ‘nerve’ issue is, I invite you to rewind the tape and see how you were condoning that behavior in the beginning of your relationship. Do you remember how you used to sit and watch TV together or how you used to ‘not’ complain if his ‘game is on’, or favorite show was on. Remember when you bought him that video game for Christmas or his Birthday? Remember how you used to pick up behind him and just chalked it up to “guys are messy like that”? See what I mean?

But You Fell In Love ~ Really

So, here’s the thing – you really fell in love with this person and you can look beyond behaviors and all of the things that really don’t matter anyway, because beyond these things is the person you love. And really, your greatest desire is to please that person, make them happy and make them understand that they are needed and appreciated.

You Will Have Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs are a part of life. As you grow together, many things will influence your relationship such as children, jobs/careers, finances, relationships with family, friends and co-workers, JUST STUFF!! But through it all when you discover that you love this person no matter what, then you will understand what true love is all about. And if you have difficulties in your relationship you will always have a point of reference and that point of reference is the love that you truly have for this person.

Falling in Love All Over Again~Tips for Maintaining and/or Regaining that Spark!!

All of the following examples mentioned here are things that my husband and I implemented and maintained throughout our 37 years of marriage. I realize that everything may not be for your but that’s OK; get ideas from the ones you can and then implement and maintain your own…..

•Candlelight Dinner at Home~ This is truly my #1 favorite. Your dinner can be whatever you want; but we loved grilled steak with onions, mushrooms and green peppers, chilled Chardonnay, old school music in the background and candles burning all around.

Note: If you have young children at home your first step will be to arrange babysitting for them. If you have teenagers in this house, you may want to choose a night that they are staying over with friends or out to a movie (maybe you can create a ‘night-out’ for them).

•Leave a Love Note ~ I did this all the time. If you haven’t thought of this before or if you have not done it in a long time~ this can be one of the most romantic things that you can do for your spouse. I would leave notes under the pillow, stick a note inside of his lunch bag, stick a note right on top of his sock or underwear drawer; stick a note inside of a book that he was reading, stick a note in his favorite section of the Sunday paper (that would be the Sports section). I will tell you this is a great thing to do ~ so let your imagination run wild and stick notes wherever works best for you and your relationship.

•Dinner at Your Favorite Restaurant~ Instead of a dinner at home, go out to your favorite restaurant. This is really great if you do not get out too often. The two of you can enjoy good food and good conversation (and no dishes). However, this also requires making arrangements for the kids.

•Go to a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast (In town or Out-of-town). This was probably my #2 most favorite thing to do. When we were in Europe there were so many little cottages everywhere where you could spend a night and have a continental breakfast in the morning; these were fantastic and so very cozy. These days you can find wonderful cottages almost anywhere in this country (most states have them) where you can spend some great quality time together. On the other end of the spectrum hotels like the Embassy Suites, the Marriott, Ramada and Holiday Inns and Suites with all their amenities make for a fantastic weekend together.

•Guys- Take Care of the Kids and/or Do a/or some Chores and Give your Spouse a Night Off~You should be sharing these responsibilities anyway. But if you feel that doing chores and taking care of the kids is not in your job description – Think Again…On the surface, this might not sound so romantic, but let me tell you it means more than you know. Sometimes just doing a few dishes could make all the difference in the world. Romance and intimacy happen when the two of you are together, alone. If you show your spouse that you understand that she is stressed out and exhausted from dealing with the house and the kids and that she really needs a break, this will indicate to her that how much you really care and how deeply you are connected to her.

•Making Out in the Moonlight ~ Do you and your spouse spend time just ‘making-out’ anymore? I am not talking about a couple of long kisses that lead right into sex. I am talking about just spending time in each other’s arms just kissing and holding each other-often without words- and just remembering why you love each other and remembering the times that you have shared together. When we were in Germany we lived on the 3rd floor and we had a balcony and many nights we would spend the whole night together in our lounge chair just talking and looking at the stars and the moon and really expressing our love for each other.

•Guys~The Age-Old Classic: Flowers and Chocolates ~ Well, you say “who does that anymore”? Bringing flowers and chocolates is such a classic (old-fashioned) move that you don’t see much of these days, except for maybe Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. However, it still works outside of these special days. Flowers and/or Chocolates show that you are thinking about your spouse and that in itself is romantic, and can open up an opportunity for a new kind of intimacy in your relationship.

Commitment is the Key. It will take careful thought and planning and a commitment from both of you to create a marriage that will sustain the test of time. You must work together everyday to build and maintain a strong, healthy, enduring relationship. I know, we did it for 37 years…