25 Lessons I’ve Learned From 25 Years of Marriage

Paula and I25 years ago Paula and I proclaimed our love for each other, said some vows, kissed and started our life as husband and wife. A lot has happened to us since that day. As I recall, we knew a whole lot more about marriage back then. After all, we were college students who had taken classes, read books, gone to seminars, been through pre-marital counseling, and spent hours talking marriage. We pretty much knew how to handle every thing about every situation we would ever face. Oh the blessings of naivety. Now that twenty-five years have passed, I would like to share some of the lessons I have learned along the way. 25 lessons just off the top of my head.

  1. I know nothing about marriage. I remember a movie where an older cop was speaking to a young rookie. “You know nothing,” he said. “If you knew you knew nothing, that would mean you know something, but you don’t even know that. So, you know nothing.” So I would like to start there: I know nothing about marriage, but at least I know I know nothing. So what follows are lessons (perhaps suggestions) based on current experience that  I think I’ve learned.
  2. Commitment reigns. Appearance changes, trust is broken, patience is lost, emotions are fleeting, communication fades,  and it doesn’t always feel like it is in your best interest to stay together. Commitment pulls you through when all else fails.
  3. You can’t always rely on family and friends to help you keep your marriage together. Divorce is so accepted these days that even Christian parents and family members don’t have much of a problem with a marriage splitting. When difficulties come, family and friends usually pick sides in an effort to encourage and support their loyalties. They can’t be depended on to help hold the marriage together.  PAINFUL LESSON.
  4. Trust can be repaired. Once a cheater; always a cheater, and once a thief; always a thief. is a lie. However, don’t make light of this. You break trust; you break hearts. It takes years to rebuild what can be thrown away in one moment of stupid selfishness.
  5. Differences compliment a relationship. They fill gaps, and there are always gaps.
  6. The needs of the relationship trump the needs of either individual. This means you have to do things that you don’t feel like doing for the sake of the relationship.
  7. Emotions fade, but they also come back. You don’t always feel the passion side of marriage, but it never completely leaves either.
  8. When you get frustrated with your spouse, remember your own mistakes.
  9. Expectations can ruin your relationship. We all have needs, and it is completely foolish to not know and try to meet the needs of your spouse. However, it is self-destructive to expect your spouse to meet yours, or to make your needs a condition for your marriage. The key word is “expect.” If you expect it, you get angry when it is not done. But when your spouse does something unexpected, you are grateful.
  10. Give more than you take.
  11. Listen more than you talk.
  12. Sometimes you need space, but never “stay”  in that space. Be sure to come back together.
  13. Be grateful and communicate it. Everyone needs to be appreciated.
  14. Be there when your spouse is wounded, either physically or emotionally. There are times when marriage demands a cease fire to patch up wounds.
  15. Your children need your diversity, and they will seek out the parent that meets that need for a particular situation. They also need your unity and strength. So stick together.
  16. Your marriage should never be dependent on your children. Your marriage needs a life of it’s own.
  17. Every couple needs time together, and every person needs time alone.
  18. Be considerate of your spouse. Your spouse does not see things the same way and may need to be convinced. Likewise, you may need to be corrected. Try seeing things through you spouse’s eyes.
  19. Forgiveness is essential in marriage. You will need it, so make sure you give it.
  20. Communicate thoughts, feelings, fears, ideas, and desires. When you stop talking, the relationship is deteriorating.
  21. Be creative. Some of the best gifts may not cost much. Sometimes, they just need to be out of the ordinary. Be creative in what you do as well. Marriage needs to stay interesting.
  22. Hold hands. The simplest way in the world to say, “I still really like you.”
  23. Your never too old to make out. Well, at least I’m not too old yet. Plus, this is a great way to get the kids to leave the room. It’s good to gross them out once in a while.
  24. Be humble and don’t start bragging. Comparing your marriage to somebody else’s is never a good idea. I’ve been married for a while now, and I’m grateful. But it’s been a challenge and I couldn’t not have done it without a person who is willing to put up with me. Not everyone is so lucky. As a product of divorce, I despise the practice and what it does to children. I think many people give up too easily. However, marriage relies on two people, and when one is determined to leave, there isn’t a whole lot the other can do about it.
  25. Don’t quit. I may not be able to stop my spouse from quitting, but I can determine for myself, I’m gonna stick with you as long as you let me.

About Ken Sayers

I’m just a man on a journey somewhere between Heaven and Hell. I seek acceptance and meaning in life just like everyone else.
This entry was posted in Things I believe in and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 25 Lessons I’ve Learned From 25 Years of Marriage

  1. eeyore031370 says:

    Reblogged this on Paula's Journey and commented:
    My hubby’s blog on lessons he has learned in our 25 years of marriage. I agree with him on all of them.

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