Greg and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on Sept 23. This year, it was a Monday. He suggested we both take the day off work and spend it together. I suggested the MN Zoo! It was a gorgeous autumn day, with the sun streaming in at that so-bright angle, a tiny breeze and perfect temperatures: just like our wedding day!
It felt like we had the Zoo to ourselves: no field trippers. We laughed, walked in silence and chatted about myriad topics from world news to our families: just the tone that reminded me he’s the most fascinating, engaging person I know, who always makes me think–and especially laugh.
Most of all, each step reminded us of some things that have served us well. So, 19 pieces of advice from this old married lady.
1. Stay busy. Find a career, workout plan, hobbies and other passions that keep your mind and body active. Make some the same so you can be busy together. Appreciate your spouse’s career and interests (as a writer, I think the sexiest calls I get from my Executive husband are grammar questions. Seriously.) Have other activities that are just your gigs.
2. Save. Store away not just money, but good memories, sad times and especially the dizzying feeling of your first days together.
4. Be curious. Ask questions, continue to learn about each other. Ask how your spouse is doing first before you dump about your lousy day. Be curious and ever-learning about others and the world around you.
5. Ask for help. If you get in a bind, don’t panic, just ask for a little assistance.
6. Help. Even before asked, lend a hand. Or a dollar. Or an ear. Or all.
7. Notice. If he gets a haircut, compliment it. Make note of the beautiful changes in your spouse.
8. Cool off if needed. I don’t subscribe to the “don’t go to bed mad” advice. Go to bed pissed. You won’t sleep well, everything will seem worse in the dark, and you’ll wake up with a clear view of how you could have handled things better. And guess what? You will work it out before bedtime next time.
9. Snuggle up. Hey, it may even *ahem* lead to something…
10. Stick together in crowds. Or even in your own home. Stay close-by and you’ll both feel bolder, more beautiful and more secure. Again, I don’t subscribe to the “you-got-a-guys-weekend-so-you-owe-me” theory. Grow up.
11. Expect rain. Know where to find your shelter, understand that you will not melt, and have faith that God will always shine the sun on you–sometimes even at the same time as rain.
12. Travel. Whether it’s just a new restaurant or global tour, experience new places together.
13. Build your nest. Whether it’s a tent or a mansion, make it distinctly yours, and entertain others often. Filling your home with those you love makes it a loving place.
14. If you have kids, keep them close. Immerse yourself in their lives at every stage. Watching your spouse as a parent is very, ahem, entertaining and so heartwarming. Don’t let your kids see you argue; show them how to treat people you love. Remember, your children will become exactly who you are. Be the person you want them to be.
15. Rest. Take time to feed your spirit. Rest allows you to dream, pray, and just rejuvenate.
16. Soak up the sun. Really relish the good times. They will carry you through darker days.
17. Take time to smell the flowers. Better yet, create a garden together. Landscape. Prune. Harvest. And plant anew. Don’t hire anyone for things you can do yourself. Washing windows together can be a joy. And you’ll appreciate the clear view so much more.
19. Remember. He’s the fish in the ocean you chose. Swim together as far and as long as you can.
Now I have a year to contemplate #20. Cheers, sweetie!