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Sixteen years ago today I lucked out BIG time and nabbed me an incredible husband. I was just a young dummy, so I can’t take much credit for any part of the deal, but God blessed me immeasurably.

Not to imply my man is perfect, or our marriage has been an effortless nonstop parade of rainbows and lollipops, but he’s still the one I’d rather spend any day with, and along with three amazing kiddos we’ve birthed a relationship to be proud of, an entity all it’s own.

The following’s a quick sampling of lessons I’ve learned the hard way, tips to pass along to perhaps bless other marriages:

#1) Get cozy with the word “sorry“. Major in apologizing, minor in forgiveness. Admit when you’re wrong. Super fun, right? As Firstborn Type-A control-freaks who LOVE to be right neither of us particularly enjoy apologizing, but we’ve gotten pretty good at it from constant practice. “You were riiiiiight.”

#2) Mute the haters. Surround yourself with folks who are FOR your marriage, ignore/silence the rest.

#3) Save your drama for your mama. No pretense, no poker face, no games at all. Get real, put all your cards on the table. Honesty’s the best policy, so bare your soul, don’t hold back, be vulnerable.

#4) Be besties, enjoy each other’s company. Like each other. Spend time together, share hobbies. Pick him first.

#5) Adventure together. A little excitement & adrenaline never hurt anybody, add your life partner to that mix and you’ll have memories & inside jokes to last a lifetime.

#6) Smooch often. Be affectionate. Physical touch and all that jazz. PDA? Who cares– model a healthy, happy marriage to your kiddos and gross out your parents/siblings. You were designed to be touchy-feely, so embrace it (pun intended).

#7) Consider love languages. Become fluent in your spouse’s. Or give him a sampler flight of the whole lot o’ them– just keeeeeeeep talkin’.

#8) Forget 50/50, give 100%. Double down. Seek to bless and serve sacrificially. Give your best and your all in lieu of stale, lukewarm leftovers.

#9) Be his cheerleader, get in his corner. Be on the same team or at least pay attention to the freaking the game. Be his #1 fan, president of his fan club, captain of his team, his ‘ride or die’.

#10) Be humble & quick laugh at yourself. Your partner is your safe person, so don’t take yourself too seriously.

#11) Let it go. Overlook the offense. Does it really matter how you fold the towels, anyway? Isn’t your marriage more important than how high he hangs that mirror on the wall?

#12) Counselling is for winners. Why is there a stigma for seeking wise counsel? Even when working through ugliness, one can appreciate marriage counseling as a fruitful, illuminating endeavor. Counseling requires personal introspection, but is especially edifying when done in tandem.

#13) Some things are worth fighting for. Be willing to go “all in” for your marriage: potentially forsaking finances/careers/people if necessary. Be willing to face financial ruin before marital ruin and invest accordingly.

#14) Leave & cleave. Forge your own way, start your own family. Establish boundaries and protect them. Sometimes physical distance aids in that quest. Sometimes it’s more posture than geography.

#15) God first. Elevate your spouse atop a pedestal & they’ll surely topple. Expect them to fill God’s role in your life & heart you’re begging for a let-down. Are you worshipping him because you hope to be worshipped in return? That’s not his job nor yours (speaking from experience, mon freres).

#16) United we stand, divided we fall– the enemy of our souls loves to make a mockery of marriage as it’s the earthly illustration of our relationship with God, even your precious offspring might inadvertently pit you against each other… don’t buy what the world’s sellin’.

Here’s to the next 16! Anyone been married 32 years? What advice would you pass along?

Being A Wordsmith
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