Most of the married couples in my family get married and (the most important part) they stay married. I’ve got more than a handful of 30-year-plus marriages to draw inspiration and lessons from. Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learned from watching these marriages up close:
You won’t be married long if you…
…decide you will only care as much as your spouse cares. Marriage requires us to be selfless. And this can be scary, I’ll admit. This requires a vulnerability that can unnerve even the most loving spouse.
…decide that being introspective is a waste of time. Marriage is a partnership. Each person is supposed to bring their best to the relationship for the benefit of all. Problems erupt once the blame for everything (lackluster s*x life, piss-poor attempts at quality time, upside finances, etc) get pushed onto your spouse. Acknowledging the role that you play in certain situations is crucial to a marriage that is balanced and fair.
…can’t humble yourself enough to give or receive a genuine apology. Guess what? At a certain point in every marriage, one or both of you is bound to mess up. Someone will tell a white lie, or spend money without consulting the other, or otherwise do something to disappoint the other. That is life and that is marriage. The hallmark of a good marriage is how well you move past these incidents. Can you sincerely say “I’m sorry” without being prompted or being beat over the head about it? Can you accept when your spouse says “I’m sorry” without questioning their sincerity for the next week and a half?
…are okay with having two different life plans. Before you got married, did you talk about what you hoped the future looked like? Did you want your spouse to be a stay-at-home parent while you had the high powered career? Did you want to raise your children Baptist, while your Catholic spouse thinks their religion is more suitable? Getting married doesn’t mean that you lose your individual identities, but if there is no room for your spouse in your future, why are you married?