(Mondays are Lynn Miles Peisker days at The Daily Blur. Lynn’s the Executive Sister and Chief Plate Spinner at the Imagination Advisory Group. Check out her growing archive of posts here.)
My children are leaving the nest. Flying the coop. Hitting the road.
In a matter of three Fridays, one by one, they’ll be gone. Grad school research. Last semester of college. First semester of college.
All of them. For the first time in 26 years, it will be down to just my sweet husband and me. Call us crazy, but we think we’re going to be okay.
On Tuesday, we’ll celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. How does this happen? It is not in sweeping big gestures or grand events; it’s in the everyday life that commitment happens.
So here are 30 ways to stay married 30 years. And it just so happens that most of them are also pretty good ways to improve your customer’s experience at your owner-operated business, too.
(Except for the kissing one. That would just be weird.)
1. Treat everyday as a fresh start. Offer forgiveness and grace. Accept both in return.
2. Mind your manners. Say please and thank you and excuse me.
3. Smile. Especially in the car. Have you ever noticed how people in cars are rarely smiling?
4. Take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise and get some sleep so you can be around for the next 30 years.
5. Assume the best. Chances are he/she meant to do the right thing even if they messed it up.
6. Take turns with the Netflix queue. And restaurant choices. And the TV remote.
7. Go out for breakfast. Even if it’s just for a 90 cent doughnut. It’s important to carve out time to talk together.
8. Be a team. Keep your fights in the locker room.
9. Be spouses first. Then be parents second and children third.
10. Cultivate separate hobbies. Be interested in things you can talk about other than the kids and the house and your parents.
11. Travel together. It brings out the best and worst in you, so you can work through the worst and enjoy the best.
12. Put your phone down and make eye contact. I am terrible at this one.
13. Kiss more.
14. Dude. It’s not about you.
15. Believe he/she is the most fascinating person in the room. At one time you thought so and it’s not fair to change.
16. Be on time. It conveys respect and honor.
17. Love his/her family. No matter what. Love is different than like. If you also like them, then consider yourself lucky. I am extremely lucky.
18. Be amazed. Your spouse is unique. Like no one else God ever made. And they chose you. And you chose them. Be amazed.
19. Be thankful. Gratitude changes everything.
20. Have some inside jokes. Repeat your stories. Create traditions.
21. Stay in the room when you fight. If you have to leave, say, “I have to leave, but I promise to come back.”
22. Do what’s important to your spouse. Even if it’s not important to you. At least every once in a while.
23. Clean up after yourself. Seriously.
24. Be a grown-up. Life is hard, yo. Don’t whine and complain. Suck it up.
25. Stay childlike. Play. Wonder. Explore.
26. Communicate gracefully. Be honest without being hurtful. Be both truthful and tactful.
27. Agree to a budget, stick to it and review it frequently. We have financial night every Monday night. We know where every penny goes. I hate it, but because a saver married a spender, it has saved us.
28. Be kind in word and gesture.
29. Commit. No matter what. Stay in it. Don’t allow the “d” word to cross your lips.
30. Pray. I believe a fulfilling, successful, happy marriage is impossible without God’s help.
On our Saturday morning walk after breakfast, my husband added one more. So here’s a bonus for next year.
31. Never make sweeping blanket statements. No one does something every time or always.
We don’t do all of these things every time or always, but we try. Trying matters. It has mattered since August 13, 2013, and, if we are so blessed, it will matter for the next 30 years, too.