This week my husband, Scott, and I celebrated 36 years of marriage. Whoop! Whoop! I can honestly say that I love my husband more than the day I married him and our years together have been joyful ones that have flown by.
Actually, studies have shown that getting hitched is good for our happiness. In general, married people report greater happiness than those who have never been married, and those who are divorced, widowed or separated.
Not to say that you can’t be happy if you’re not married. In my personal opinion, it is much better to be single than unhappily married. If you are using your life for a greater purpose, I absolutely believe you can be happy as a single person.
That being said, if you choose to marry, how do you find happiness?
When people ask me how my husband and I have stayed happily married for so long, I have to credit Bible principles. Here are five that we have lived by:
- Be considerate and care for your mate’s feelings. Instead of always looking out for your own personal interests, look out for the interests of your spouse. Choose your words carefully before speaking and communicate with kindness, respect, and love.
- Be realistic. When you get married you may think everything will be easy and perfect. However, since we’re all imperfect, that standard is too high. Expect problems. When confrontations arise, listen carefully with an open mind. Be patient, forgiving, and understanding.
- Focus on your spouse’s good qualities and remember why you chose to spend a lifetime with your mate. Work as a team. Learn to be united in your thoughts and feelings.
- Make your marriage a priority. Remember that your marriage is one of the most important things in your life. Make sure you regularly spend quality time together and give each other undivided attention. Make your spouse feel needed and appreciated. Look for ways to make each other happy.
- Take your vows seriously. Do not look at divorce as an option “if things don’t work out.” Be loyal and determined to make your marriage a success.
Of course, it helps if you choose the right person in the first place. I am very fortunate that even though I was young, I chose someone with the same values and goals. Scott is my best friend and we are extremely compatible. As Dr. James C. Dodson said, “Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.”
Of course, Scott and I don’t always agree on every single thing, so we try our best to follow the tips I’ve outlined above. However, I do not feel like our marriage has been “hard work.” It’s been way more fun than that!
Each anniversary is a celebration of love, trust, loyalty, partnership, friendship, shared laughter, joy, new experiences and adventures – as well as determination and tenacity.
I wholeheartedly agree with a quote by Andre Maurois, “A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short.”