Wednesday, October 17, 2018

20 Sweet Years

Today is our 20th wedding anniversary.  This is another "I can't believe it" moment for me (see last week's discussion about being a grown up).  Marriage is not easy but it's worth it.  We've come so far and learned so much.  Today I'd like to share the top 5 things I've learned by being married for 20 years.

1. Ask for what you want/need. I learned this one right away.  When we were first married we lived in a tiny L shaped apartment.  After dinner Ryan would sit on the couch and watch TV while I flitted back and forth doing nothing but looking very busy at it.  Of course at the time I felt I was very busy doing very important things and that he was doing nothing.  One day I finally said "Are you going to do ANYTHING around here?" to which he replied "Are you ever going to sit down and watch TV with me?" A light bulb went off in my head. We both wanted the other to do something but hadn't asked. So, I started asking. When Ryan was working nights, I told him I needed help with chores.  I taught him how I wanted the clothes washed and he took over the laundry.  To this day he does all the laundry!

2. You don't have to do everything together.  When I was in grad school I wanted to bid on golf lessons in a department silent auction.  My would be coach asked me why I wanted to learn.  "To hang out with Ryan."  She marked my name off the list and told me "I'm not going to teach you. It's the only time I fight with my husband. Let him go golf, you go do something else." One time a newlywed friend told me that she and her new husband were fighting at the grocery store. They were fighting about the brands and what to buy and, in my opinion, a bunch of other stupid stuff.  It never occurred to me to take Ryan to the grocery store with me. Luckily, he's not a picky eater and is not too particular about brands. I shop and cook. If he doesn't like it, he'll usually let me know and then I don't make it again.

3.  Know what your partner needs to refill their energy.  Ryan knows I need LOTS of sleep.  He also knows that I need time with my girls.  I know that he likes to watch TV.  As a result, whenever I say "I"m going to bed" he kisses me goodnight and doesn't hassle me about it.  The flip side of that, I try to make sure things are handled and settled before I go to bed so he can just sit and watch TV.  Similarly, if I'm going to be gone for the weekend with my girlfriends, I talk to him and make a plan for him and the boys while I'm gone.  I don't just say "peace out" and leave them high and dry.   I used to make dinner for all the nights I'd be gone but I don't do that anymore.

4. Know your love language, know his and do something about it.  One of my love languages is receiving gifts.  Ryan's does not share this love language so it's not always easy for him.  I'm not always great at this but I try to let Ryan know when I'm expecting a gift.  And sometimes I give him a list or options. He's very good and often will buy what's on the list and surprise me with something else.  I do love to be surprised and he often does surprise me. But if it's a big event and I want a gift I try to let him know so I'm not disappointed.

5. Recognize what the other person does in the relationship and family.  Ryan recently gave me a big compliment "Being you is not easy.  I've been you a few days and I struggled. You make it look easy but it's hard." (that may not be a direct quote but that was the gist).  It was really nice to hear that he understands what I contribute to our family and that he appreciates it. Ryan works very hard on our yard. It matters to him and it shows.  I try to make sure to acknowledge his hard work.

So there you go, my top 5 marriage tips.  I didn't let Ryan read this first so I'm interested to hear his take on these things.  What's your tips for marriage?

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