While our guests were busily chatting at Costa Coffee and while there were only a handful of shoppers in the mall, Jesse and I sneaked out just ten minutes of our time to quickly take our “10th Wedding Anniversary pictorials” with our good friend Jose. The photos revealed that as a couple, we were simply happy and excited on our special day.
But, looking back again at these photos, something come to my mind and associate these wonderful captured scenes with the wise tips for a happy marriage which Jesse and I share to our friends over the years. You see, we are both advocates for a blissful and happy marriage. We want to be a good example and perhaps an inspiration for other young couples, like us, to draw and bring in something good into their relationship and work a lot of effort for it to last a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong – our marriage isn’t perfect, but our failures and disputes in the past years have shaped decisions we make about the way we treat each other and uphold on what we believe in. I’m so glad I went through it. Because we grow, we compromise, and we connect. We’ve learned better, so now we do better.
So in a nutshell, we write down some things that we both learned in the last ten years and come up with our own advises that most couples need to know, and hope, they will also follow.
–Yes, this may sound too cheesy for couples in a long term relationship but, hey, it’s very important! No matter how long you’ve been together never ever take your spouse for granted. They deserve to be treated as special. Even if you can’t afford for a dinner or to a movie, even for a simple flower you hand-picked in the garden or spending some regular intimate time with each other is essential. Jesse and I often daydream about our future, our kids, our dreams, and vacations. We connect emotionally and often learn something new about each other. Sometimes, we let the kids babysit by my sister for one hour and just go to a nearby Turkish Restaurant and grab a bite of Shawarma.
TRUST is fundamental for any relationship. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING be it on money matters, obligations, and even your darkest secret. Once you have the courage to reveal/share it all, you will experience the full dimension of what love can be and earn respect. Many times we have expectations from our spouse and out of his/her decisions/actions we ultimately give our respect. When respect is given even when he/she doesn’t deserve it, it will motivate him/her to earn it. But, sometimes we feel frustrated and disappointed when our spouse fails us or makes mistakes. Take it from me – no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, and if you FORGIVE immediately you will keep resentment from growing. Don’t let past mistakes holding you back because it will gradually ruin your relationship. Eradicate the hatred, accept your differences, and always choose to love. Jesse had a big trust on me as the keeper of our family wealth or “our finances”. Other than that most decisions in our life, like where to live, what to buy, and where to go, he always put his BIG trust on me. In return, I also RESPECT and support his goals in life, especially with his extreme outdoor adventures. And when we both caught in an argument even on simple household chores like laundry, we both give each other space, and if we calm down, we talk and make deal, then FORGIVE each other.
Don’t be persuade with fancy things and luxury lifestyle that others think will make you a happy couple. Don’t fantasize your spouse to be like someone that he/she is not. Live the life you’ve have been blessed with, and BE THANKFUL. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, love your family dearly, but keep a special space in your heart that only your spouse is entitled to fill in. There will always be bigger, faster, stronger, or shinier – but you’ll never be satisfied with more until you’re fulfilled with what you have now. Jesse and I always make it to the point to live within our capacity and fulfill our dreams within our own capability. We don’t dream so big that we only get discouraged in the end. And we only listen to the people that we know are very sincere and honest to us. Who know us so well and whose only happiness is for us to remain strong throughout the years.
There many ways a person express his/her feelings and in the same way you want to feel important, validated, and cherished. Learn your spouse love language – learn it and use it. Is the word of affirmation brings smile to his/her face or does a simple touch provides him comfort? Fill his/her soul everyday and make her feel loved. Jesse has this habit of kissing the back of my neck while I am washing dishes or feeding the kids. It is so natural and very sweet! It surely bright up my mood every time he did that.
They always say that “the only thing constant is change”. Well, as couples, you will constantly change. You’re not the same people when you first met each other, got married, and have kids. You are not the same person you are today. Sometimes you feel you are not in love anymore. But choose to love anyway. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. Choose to love anyway even if you don’t feel attracted to your spouse anymore. Because this is how love will always endure, “in sickness and in health..for richer..for poorer”, on sacred vows that you both promise to fulfill until your last breath.
In the end MARRIAGE is a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. It isn’t about Happily Ever After. It’s about work and through that work, the happiness will come.
These are the lessons Jesse and I learned throughout our ten years of togetherness. We know there will more things/trials to challenge us in the years to come. But, the truth is, with God’s providence and with these lessons, we continuously build the foundation of our marriage that will endure any storm and any amount of time.
Thank you for reading this post and see you again!
Riah – The Blissful Wife and Mom