My lovely wife and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage this week.
We’ve had a fantastic journey, with our share of ups and downs, plenty of romance mixed in with rocky times, lots of joy, and a few painful challenges, but all in all we are delighted with the life we’ve shared together so far.
We are continually amazed at how each year finds us closer and more in love than the year before, and although it is hard to imagine, we both feel that the best years of our marriage are yet to come. That’s how I think it should be.
Sadly, I often see marriage portrayed as all downhill after the honeymoon. I hate to hear couples reminisce about the early years of young love, mourning as if the best days are over and gone. I was further disturbed by several articles I read recently that suggest the seven-year itch has now become the three-year itch.
So is less sex, more fights, poorer communication, and drifting apart really the inevitable? With a nod to the movie Date Night, is it really just a matter of time before couples settle for becoming just “excellent roommates”?
I say no!
Whether you have been together six months or six decades, it is possible to see your future as one filled with excitement, passion, and great potential. I would like to share with you a few key principles that my wife and I have discovered as we have endeavored to keep our relationship vibrant and fresh over the past 30 years.
1. Look at Your Past Thankfully
Stay in awe of your spouse, the love you share, and the life you have built together through good times and tough times. Remain thankful for who your spouse is, and remind yourself of the reasons you were drawn to him or her in the first place. Gratitude keeps you focused on what is good in your relationship and helps keep resentment from building up.
Thankfulness is a habit that has to be cultivated rather purposefully. It is pretty easy to find problems to complain about, to fixate on missing components of your marriage, or dwell on your frustrations. However, you can totally shift the atmosphere between you by keeping your mind on the positive and by daily telling your spouse something you are thankful for about your relationship.
2. Look at Your Future Expectantly
It is great to fondly reflect on the good times of your past, but it’s not healthy to fixate on some idealized notion that things would be better if you could somehow go back to how it used to be. Instead, choose to believe that the best is always ahead of you. Whether you have been through rough patches or have sailed through blissfully, expect your future to beat anything you have had before.
It really is possible for you to have more passion, deeper intimacy, new levels of trust, and an infinite variety of untried adventures ahead of you. Just decide to go for it, and then relentlessly pursue each other for life.