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The McShane Secrets To A Successful(ish) Marriage | FNBB 83
I’m excited to be back with you after a month totally blog-less. I wish I could say that I was able to relax, but I took the time in September to really focus on some other things that needed to get done. Writing, even though it goes fast, takes a long time. September was FULL of all kinds of things – weddings, bike races, concerts, COVID, and most importantly, the 26th Wedding Anniversary of our successful(ish) marriage.
Of course it feels like forever on certain days, but just a nanosecond others. But in the scheme of things, is 26 years a long time? Is it long enough to be able to give out “secrets” to success? I know many couples that have been married much longer than we have, including former guest Peggy Tojo, who was married to her beloved Jim for 61 years when he passed 5 years ago. 61 years.
So 26 years sounds like baby numbers compared to 61. But I think that all successful marriages are built early in their early years. A rock solid foundation must be built in the first years. Over time more floors are added as the experiences, good and bad, begin to shape you as a couple.
There are more, but I think the following three things are absolutely necessary if you want to remain married 10, 26, or 61 years.
You’ve heard me say it a MILLION times for all relationships and it is never more important than in the one with your spouse. Communication is the absolute number one key to success. This pertains to what you DO say AND to what you DON’T. Lying and half-truths are not an option in a successful relationship. And that should be obvious. Honesty is the quickest way to resolution and builds a solid bedrock of trust.
Feelings and thoughts should be shared freely. Words are magic and can be used to build up or tear down. There should be no fear of judgement, nor should there be any assumptions that your partner knows everything that you are thinking, especially if you aren’t using your words. And the most important thing – the words “I love you”, even when it think it’s a no-brainer. Again, words are magic.
Blood is thicker than water, except when it comes to your chosen partner. As you are married longer and longer, you will learn that you are a truly a team. A team that should be fighting the same fight together. This requires conversation about who you are as a team, what is important to you, what dreams you both have for the future. You aren’t the same person, but you can put yourself in your spouse’s shoes to gain clarity in who they are at their core.
Even if you are mad at them from time to time, which is normal, you must always be willing to come to the defense of your person. Never seriously belittle or make fun of them at their expense in front of others. Every time you do that, you chip a little bit off that trust that you worked so hard to build in the beginning. Never complain to others about your spouse without being willing to communicate the same thing with them. Always remember how lucky you are to have found this person in the huge ocean of people.
You start out as single people, then you are a couple, possibly followed by becoming mom and dad. We have separate work situations, perhaps some separate friends, and different interests. Our kids develop their lives and the job of growing your family requires you to divide and conquer. But at the heart of it is the need to develop something that keeps the two of you tied to each other, BESIDES your children.
You could develop a love of an activity together – like biking or hiking. Put a bucket list together and work to get things marked off. Have a date night every week where you choose a movie or new restaurant together. Schedule and prepare yourself for a night for sex if it isn’t as spontaneous as it used to be. Be close and remember small gestures go a long way. If you want attention, be sure to give it first.
When you share your WHOLE life with another person, it really does seem impossible to be able to spend it with anyone else. It doesn’t matter how it started, all that matters is that when you are both in it to win it, nothing can stop you – not financial issues, not sickness, not kid issues, not anything.
After 26 years, I can definitely can say that Mike knows me better than anyone. I would say he knows pretty much everything about me – I am an open book to him. And he loves and accepts me despite all of the mistakes that I have made along the way. And I love him despite his. He drives me crazy some days, but I would much rather be driven crazy by Mike than to not have what we have. I look forward to continuing in our successful(ish) marriage for many years to come.