Marriage Tune-Up

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. If you’d told me 17 years ago that today, I’d be happily married to Dale, sporting a new pair of diamond earrings thanks to my thoughtful husband, I wouldn’t have believed it. You see, when I met Dale I was already engaged to another man. I even moved away to marry that guy, but I knew in my heart that he wasn’t the one. I broke up with my fiancé and came home to Dale. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

After 17 years, I like to think I’ve learned a few things about love. Today I’m sharing my top three tips for a happy marriage. They’ve gotten me this far, and maybe they’ll help you too.

  1. Mary Monday Anniversary EcardMarry someone you like hanging out with. This year, Dale and I celebrated our anniversary on the road, driving from Alabama to North Carolina. At the stroke of midnight, we were crossing the South Carolina border. Romantic? Maybe not to you. But for us it was perfect, because we were together. There is no else I’d rather spend time with (unless Matthew McConaughey is available!) Most of life is made up of the small stuff, so make sure the person you marry is someone who makes the small stuff fun.
  2. Know when to go big. Remember those diamond earrings I mentioned earlier? Exactly. Now I’m not saying you need to buy each other expensive gifts for every single holiday, but splurging once or twice a year is a nice way to show you care.  He’s come a long way in that department!
  3. Laugh at jokes, laugh at life – and laugh at each other! Dale and I are always laughing. Sometimes it’s because we’re telling jokes. Sometimes it’s because I fell down the stairs, or because Dale dropped a can of beans on his feet. (Note to self: make sure your spouse is okay before you start laughing…) Being able to laugh together and see the humor in every moment makes a happy marriage and a happy life.

As I sit here thinking about all the ways you can “tune up” a marriage, I’m reminded of a story I once heard about a couple whose relationship needed some work.  They booked an appointment with a marriage counselor to help them get back on track. After a few visits, a lot of yelling, and a little bit of crying, the counselor announced that he had discovered the source of their problems. He walked across the room and asked the wife to stand up, then gave her a big hug.

“See?” the counselor said, looking at the husband still sitting on the couch. “This is what your wife needs, at least once a day!” The husband frowned, thought for a minute, and finally replied with resignation: “Okay. What time should I bring her back tomorrow?”

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