25 Secrets of a 25 Year Marriage
My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this summer. We’ve survived 7 years of post-college education, 3 children, 3 dogs and 6 addresses (including our current and on-going “fixer-upper” of 11 years). We’ve done a lot of things right and a few things wrong. I would like to tell you that I know all of the secrets to a successful marriage, but I can only offer our 25 Secrets of a 25 Year Marriage and pray they are an encouragement to you as we all navigate through the ups and downs of married life.
25 Secrets of a 25 Year Marriage
- We met young. Very young. 18 years old to be exact. We had both just completed our first week of college. Meeting young means you don’t bring a tremendous amount of baggage with you to the relationship.
- Meeting young also means you grow up together. You don’t bring baggage, but you bring immaturity.
- Despite our immaturity we both seemed to know where we were headed and it was the same place. So, we hooked our boats together and started rowing.
- We are both particularly talented at “chipping.” We’ve been the type of people who know that getting up and showing up is half the battle. Not giving up is the other half. Whether it was medical school, 5 decades of wallpaper or saving for retirement, we have chipped away at almost everything we have accomplished.
- Our greatest joy has been our children. We have both loved every minute of being parents.
- We have always come to agreement on major decisions.
- I like that we naturally agree on most things involving our faith, politics, and the world in which we live. We are not the same person, so there are variations on our opinions, but we share core views.
- Perhaps we have thought alike on so many things because we share a very similar background. I took a marriage class in college. The professor gave us a list and said that the more of the items on the list shared with a future spouse, the better chance your marriage had of surviving. It did not make sense at the time, but now it does. The list included things like closeness in age, religious background, education and various other family demographics. We nailed the age thing – he is only 3 days older than I am.
- Our backgrounds were not exactly the same, though. He grew up hunting and fishing and around horses. I had never fired a gun, never really been fishing, and I was not big on animals of any kind when we met.
- Despite warnings that you can’t change a spouse, we have changed each other. He now eats Chinese and other ethnic foods that he swore he did not like when we met. I now love dogs and am open to petting a horse (still don’t want to hunt or fish, though).
- We’ve both learned not to say “never.” The Lord takes that as a challenge and we have done many things we said we would “never” do. (See my guest post from my 24th Anniversary at Trueagape.net.)
- Our biggest relationship challenge may be that he is a morning person and I am a night person.
- We also don’t have any hobbies in common and his idea of exercise is cross fit or running and mine is yoga or Pilates.
- We are both kind of “homebodies.” Many times when we have an opportunity to go out, we will stay home and watch a movie together.
- Which is probably one of the reasons we have not exactly followed the advice about having date nights and time away. It’s not that we never have date nights or take trips without our kids, we just have not done it as much as we probably should have. We are looking forward to that aspect of our empty nest.
- One of the best things we have done is not talk about our “issues” with others.
- We once tiled a bathroom floor together and did not kill each other or even argue. Ballroom dancing did not go as well, but no one died, so I consider it a success. The teacher did not seem to understand that we were not trying to learn contest-worthy steps. We just didn’t want to look like idiots at weddings. We still look like idiots at weddings.
- Some days I’m grouchy and he still puts up with me. I appreciate that.
- He works a lot. We did not choose the easiest of careers/family earning arrangements. He is an internal medicine physician. I am a stay-at-home mom. His job is demanding. He is on call one weeknight a week and one weekend a month. He is also on call every 4th holiday. Sometimes it is hard to always be in two cars so he can go to the hospital if he needs to. Sometimes arranging holidays and other events is hard. Sometimes it is hard that once he is home, he pulls up all his charting and lab results on the computer and continues to work. Sometimes it is hard to share so much of his time, but I know his work is partly a ministry and I am blessed to be able to hold down our fort, so he can take care of people in need.
- I do all of our finances. I was a CPA in my previous life before children, so I am suited for the job. He trusts me completely. I do our taxes, choose our investments (including everything in his 401K), pay our bills and make most of the decisions about how the money he works so hard for is spent. I appreciate his trust and do my best not to invest or spend stupidly.
- We are absolutely not perfect. We argue about ridiculous things, usually when we are tired or otherwise out-of-sorts. Then we cool down, talk it over and make up.
- We meant our marriage vows. We’ve never given up on each other.
- My husband is my hero. There is nothing he can’t do. I wish I were as talented and smart as he is. I wish I could live on as little sleep as he gets and still be as productive. I wish I had the drive he has. He is absolutely amazing. Sometimes he is like a whirlwind swirling around me. Some day I am going to find out he is either a vampire (they don’t sleep as you recall from the “Twilight” books/movies) or is on speed, but trust me, he is like the Energizer Bunny: he just keeps going when I am long past having any energy.
- For some reason he seams to admire me too. He says lots of really nice and kind things to me. He compliments me and provides for me in a way I could never deserve.
- A day in our life: This past June we celebrated our 25th anniversary with a trip to Hawaii. Following our usual travel custom, our luggage did not arrive with us. Promises were made by the airline to deliver our bags to us later. Weary from the effects of a 5 hour time change, I fell asleep long before our bags arrived. My husband received our bags around 1 am only to find that my bag was not among them. Of course, the delivery van had already peeled out of the parking lot and no one at the airline was answering the phone. He hopped in our rental car and drove around the island all night long trying to talk to someone at the airport and then finding an all-night pharmacy so he could write new prescriptions for my medicines that I had foolishly packed in my checked luggage. He finished off his joy ride by running in Wal-Mart and purchasing a lovely outfit for me, which fortunately I never had to wear out of the condo.
There have been many days that our relationship has consisted of texting back and forth to figure out who is picking up which child and where. Then there are days where my husband stays up all night while I sleep doing everything in his power to make my next day comfortable. Those are the days I know how a marriage lasts 25 years. Thanks, honey, I love you! Praying for 25+ more!!
Photo copyright: Tom Wang