I reached out to a few of my blogging friends to write some posts while Lindsey and I are away on our honeymoon. Today’s post comes from Greg Howley, who gives us some great advice on how to have a successful marriage. Thank you Greg for the great post!
I’ve been married now for 11 years, and my wife and I have gone through a lot together during that time. We met at a dance camp in New Hampshire, had our first date in Manhattan three days after 9/11, moved to Colorado together and then back to the East Coast after the disaster that was 2008, and we came through with two kids to show for it.
Twenty years ago, I remember writing a college paper on mate relationships, and the research I did for that paper yielded three key components of a successful relationship: Affection, Respect, and Support. Keep these three things in mind.
Focus on your common interests. Now, I don’t know you well, Josh, but I’ve got to think that you and Lindsey have a number of things that you enjoy doing together. Don’t let these go, and when you take up new interests, try to take up at least some of them together. There will come a time – I promise you – when life is so hectic that you have nearly no time at all to unwind. If the things you do to mentally recharge are the same things, and you’re able to do them together, then that can only bring you closer.
Try to have common friends. While time apart is important, and I expect that you’ll each always have separate groups of friends, having at least some friends who you both enjoy spending time with is important.
Surprise each other for no reason. Josh, bring her home flowers randomly on a Tuesday. Have a nice dinner ready when she gets home from work one night. Lindsey, plan a weekend trip to a place he likes. Clean up that messy room unexpectedly. And do this even after ten years. A lot of these things are easy at the beginning, but the honeymoon doesn’t last forever. Making these things into habit can be a very good thing.
Appreciate each other. It may not feel like it now, but there will be a time when it’s very easy to take each other for granted. Don’t.
Do not expect life to always be easy and/or good. You just bought a house, you’re getting married, and things are probably pretty awesome right now. But it’s a sad truth that people hit hard times, whether it’s due to financial difficulties, health problems, or alien abductions. It’s not impossible that you’ll be one of the lucky few who coasts through, but don’t count on life always going the way you want. Weather it together.
And lastly, I can offer a few logistical tips. Have a shared calendar and use it. A Google calendar on your phone that you can both access from anywhere is amazing. When I schedule a dentist appointment, my wife can check her phone and she knows what’s up for Monday night. Ditto for a shared grocery list. When I run out of shaving cream, I add it and if my wife happens to hit a grocery story she’ll pick it up. Also, get two separate bank accounts and have both names on each account. Then have only one person’s name printed in each checkbook, and get just one debit card or check card for each account. It’s exactly like having two separate accounts so you can manage your own money and split the bills, but if you need to get to the other person’s account in a pinch, it’s much easier.
Congratulations and Happy Honeymoon!