Recently we’ve celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, as is obvious from the name of the post. Some of the things I mentioned in my post, 11 Things I Learned In 11 Years of Marriage, I knew before. But only after a long time, you can fully understand the impact these things have on the marriage.
1. Encourage each other.
It doesn’t matter if he is trying out a new hobby or doing something Earth-shattering like changing his career after he already has one it’s important to encourage him.
My husband has spent hours talking with me about recipes I’ve wanted to make and that didn’t turn out as I’ve envisaged in the first place (or the second or the third). These small things matter.
2. Say something when the other one is making a mistake.
Speaking negatively about your spouse will harm the relationship. This is something I would never do. Also, never talk about a mistake while others are present. That wouldn’t be helpful because it will make one seem petty and the other one embarrassed. The whole idea is to help the loved one to do better, make more desirable choices.
me, on my way to get married
3. Having the same views on big things is crucial for a happy marriage.
Big things include those topics I don’t usually talk about on my blog: politics, religion, parenting. I mentioned this in What makes a happy marriage… happy.
My husband and I vote for the same party. That might not sound that important, as we do vote every x number of years. But the reasons we are choosing a specific party over another, even from the same wing, those reasons are with us daily. It might be expressed in views about economy, benefit system, immigration, foreign aid. Those ideas are talked about when we are looking at the news in the morning. This is why it matters.
With religion is simple. We both feel strongly about this subject and neither of us could ever had a partner that would have a different view on religion.
We don’t care when it comes to our friends and acquaintances if they are voting left or right (mentioned in alphabetical order), are atheists/agnostics or believe in God/Gods/Karma. But, we didn’t make a commitment to leave our lives with those friends, we are not sharing everything with them, so, in a couple, these things matter.
The last big thing I mentioned was parenting. We don’t have children, but we do share the same views when it comes to child rearing.
If you wouldn’t say that to a stranger or neighbour, don’t say it to your husband/wife. This should apply to “funny” cards, pet-names, and so on.
5. People change over time, is natural, embrace it.
New experience create new ideas, new hobbies, new ways of wanting to live your life. From when that picture was taken, I’ve become vegetarian, I’ve become even more interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle. My husband first accepted and after that embraced those changes. Now he is a vegetarian too, making the transition gradually, because it was something he wanted. Now we are both making eco-friendly choices as much as we can, because we both care.
6. Talk about our interests. See TV shows together.
I love history, psychology, and economics. These are the things I read about the most (see Coffee&Books) and the things I like to see on TV. So we watch shows like She-wolves, No more Boys and Girls, 1066, movies like The Tudors. My husband knows quite a lot of history and psychology for someone that is not that into these things.
He likes Science like Physics and Astronomy. So, we talk about these subjects too. We watch TV shows like those of Brian Cox too. It’s not something I would look at myself, but this is something he is interested in, something we chat about.
On the other hand though, we have something in common, even if our interests are so different. We both like reading and watching documentaries.
7. Be a team.
Take decisions together. From small things like what detergent we want to buy to big things like a new car, we talk about everything.
8. Share things together, like cooking or walking the dog.
From less pleasant chores to things we both enjoy. Walking the dog is sometimes a task that needs to be done, other times (many times) is a fun thing to do, as Festus might do something funny or we would see birds. It’s a time when we chat about things or we just enjoy nature.
Neither of us likes cleaning, but it’s something we have to do because we like living in a clear, fresh, beautiful home. So we clean together sometimes. I might start cleaning the windows and he will do other tasks, or he will start doing something and I do a bit of cleaning too.
9. Is the most important relationship.
Marriage is more important than friendships, parents, other relatives, work. Of course, that doesn’t imply neglecting the other aspects, but only when it comes to priorities.
10. You need to have trust.
We lived for a few months apart, in different countries. Trust was vital then, as anybody can imagine. Trust is just as important when you live in the same house.
11. Marriage is not a competition.
We both like competing, but we’ve discovered that we shouldn’t compete with each other. I’ve seen couples that say that if their partner spent that amount of money on something, then they can spend money on what they want too. That is hardly a way forward to family finance.
These are the 11 Things I Learned In 11 Years of Marriage. Are you married? What would you add to my list?