We are celebrating 24 years of married life this month. And like all married couples we sometimes get on each other’s nerves. There are days when if I said it’s sunny out, he would swear it is cloudy. And if he says something is white, I make it my life mission to say it is black.
We are also empty nesters and know that these are supposed to be the best years of our lives winding down towards retirement. Finding our selves without the kids, we have been spending more time reflecting on our marriage.
I recently came upon this passage by an anonymous author – “most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for: companionship, intimacy, friendship. The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage. Love is in people and people put it into marriage. There is no romance in marriage; people have to infuse it into their marriage. A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising- keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty. ”
This gave us a framework for discussion. Marriage will essentially bring two people together. Love for the most part initiates this union except in arranged marriages. But in either case, every couple starts with an empty box and the life we build over time, is what we fill the box with.
So what is in our box?
We have filled our box with respect, trust, communication, friendship and compromise.
Marriage is not easy and being married for 24 years has certainly not been smooth sailing. There has been ups and downs but at the end of the day what makes it work for us is that we both want it to work.
We have always said divorce is not an option.
While we are not marriage experts, these are some of the things that we came up with that works for us.
⭕️We make time for each other but still give each other space to have different interests.
⭕️We make each other and our family a priority.
⭕️ We compromise often and are not in competition with each other.
⭕️ We support each other’s hopes and dreams
⭕️ We are not afraid to say ‘I am sorry’
⭕️ We listen and accept critique knowing it comes from a place of love.
⭕️ We talk to each other not at each other.
⭕️ At the end of the day we are each other’s best friend.
⭕️ He alone knows all my secrets and where the bodies are buried and vice versa.
Marriage is most definitely not for the faint of heart. If anyone ever told you it was easy, they lie. Being able to live with another human that was not raised in the same household as you takes a lot of work and effort on both sides. And I would go on record to say that a lot of divorces can be prevented only if people were willing to put in that work.
As we reflected, we concluded that we have veered off course for a minute. We have recently made work and outside activities and social engagements a priority over us.
Does this mean we need to stop working, socializing and not have outside interests?
Well, no, it does not. It just means that we need to shift our priorities a little bit.
Our date nights need to be set in stone and not cancelled for work or anything else unless we absolutely have to.
We need to not take romance for granted. As people get older, romance can often stall or become stale. It requires constant work and fanning. We will re dedicate to texting or talking to each other during our work day to check in. We also find that getting back into the habit of giving your partner a random compliment and sending occasional sexy text messages or leaving notes is very important.
And at the end of the day, it is important to sit or lay down side by side with your partner and recap your respective days.
Marriage is hard work. We know this and are both willing to put in the work as we know the rewards are so worth it!
I think it is important for married couples to reflect together from time to time on where they are in their marriage. What is working or not working? And how and what can you improve? You should always make sure you are not taking more out of your box than you are putting in.
Please comment below and share what’s in your box.
As always, thanks for reading.