As my husband and I approach our silver anniversary, there are two things that keep me wondering.
- How can this be when we, obviously, aren't that old?
- Why are we still so in love after all these years?
Seeing so many people my age who've been through the wringer in relationships, I feel very blessed in mine. In many ways, I know it was pure luck that the guy I fell in love with at 21 — when I had such limited life experience — turned out to have the very traits most necessary for a long-term, loving relationship. But there are a few things we've done right by design, as well.
I recently read an interesting post about what it takes to stay. When compared with the constant drive many of us have to find the best new thing or experience, this post focused on how to sustain the goodness of what you've already found.
In particular, this is meaningful in marriage. How do you take what was a good relationship and continue to have a loving, caring marriage for the rest of your life? How do you stay in love for the long haul? The post lists six ways to stay. I'd like to add three more.
#7 Be Loyal
When I was a kid, there was a young man in our neighborhood who married a young woman who lived on the same block. After the wedding they moved into an apartment only a few miles away.
Whenever they had a disagreement, each of them went to their parents' homes to complain. Later, they went home and made up. Unfortunately, the families were only part of the complaining.
When you take your personal problems to others, the problem is magnified.Â How you would you feel if your husband or wife went to his or her friends to rant about you and describe all your failings? I'd feel deeply betrayed.
Following the golden rule is good guideline here. Unless you are in an abusive situation, your problems with your spouse should stay between you and your spouse. Work them out together, not in front of an audience.
#8 Give Service
When I had my first daughter nearly 23 years ago, I was utterly unprepared for the feelings that took over me. I had never been one of those girls who adored babies. They didn't much interest me.
So when this tiny little bundle of girl was placed in my arms, I expected it to be an analytical exercise. Instead I was overwhelmed with responsibility and awe. And it was through the days and nights of caring for her — without any expectations in return — that I grew to love her so completely.
The same, I think, is true of all human relations. We love those we serve. In spite of what modern culture says, giving service is not demeaning. It does not make us less. It does not make us doormats. Serving the person you are married to isn't enslaving. It is pure, liquid love.
#9 Make Out All the Time — Preferably In Front of Your Children
This is only partly in jest. Yes, it's great to gross out your kids by being mushy in front of them. But apart from that, try to remember that your husband was once your boyfriend and your wife was once your girlfriend. Keep it that way.