When I sat down to think of a way to celebrate our upcoming nuptials on this blog, I could think of no better way than by inviting some of my fellow bloggers to write guest posts about their own marriages and relationships. One of the first people who popped in my mind to ask was Russ from A Grateful Man. Luckily, when I contacted him about the possibility of writing something for the blog, he responded enthusiastically. And a few short days later, I had a 20 page document in my hands full of words of wisdom, sincerity, advice, and an overflowing amount of love and appreciation for his wife “Beloved” and the life they have built together over the years. It was nearly impossible to narrow it down to one favorite…so I didn’t!
Which is why I’m very excited to say that this is just the first of several guest posts you’ll see from Russ in the upcoming weeks! Today’s post is particularly fitting for Captain America and I, because we also know what it’s like to not have any musical tastes, hobbies, etc, in common with your significant other! But if Russ and his Beloved are any example, it sounds like we’ll do just fine, after all :)
Keys to Our Marital Happiness by Russ Towne
A friend commented something to the effect that it sounds like communication is a key part of what makes our marriage successful.
I thought I’d share my response with all of you and augment it in this post:
Yes, communication is a key part of it, as is mutual respect, encouraging each other to get together with our own gender at least once per week (i.e. Girl’s Night Out/Boy’s Night Out–if we have a place to vent outside our home we’re much less likely to feel the need to vent inside it), focusing on improving ourselves and our relationship instead of each other, shared values about all the stuff that is important to us (such as how to raise and discipline our children), agreements regarding money and budgeting (that took a LONG time to work out and was the source of a lot of disagreements over the years), knowing the minimum and maximum amount of time we should be together each week (we’ve learned that if we drift outside either boundary we tend to grind gears instead of mesh well together), fidelity, and trust.
They weren’t listed in order of importance, just in the order I thought of them. The last two are at the end because they are so much of a given in our home that I almost forgot to list them.
I used the word “Happiness” rather than “Bliss” in the title of this post. That was accurate and intentional. Our relationship has two major imperfections: Beloved and me. (In fact, our wedding rings both contain two intentional imperfections to remind each other that we’re both imperfect and will make mistakes–and that we went into the marriage fully aware of that. Our eyes were wide open. No “Love is blind” for us.)
You probably noticed that shared interests and hobbies weren’t mentioned in the list above. While we both agree that it would be nice at times to share more interests and hobbies, we give each other the space to go our own way a lot. We tend to be loners in same ways. Heck, we don’t even have similar taste in music–and I’m a lyricist for goodness sake!
Beloved has ZERO interest in investing (the primary thing I do for a living), she is a big NON-fan of the types of genres I mostly write music for, and has NO interest in reading what I write on this blog and elsewhere. She’s never read it. Her passion for teaching Special Ed children is wonderful but after about fifteen to thirty minutes per night of hearing what happened in her classroom, my eyes start to glaze over–as do hers when I talk about my main passions.
We’d both love it if we were enthralled with hearing the news of each other’s day, but after nearly 33 years, most such talk begins to feel like re-runs. Very OLD reruns.
But we make it work pretty darn well despite the imperfections. And that reminds me as to another key to the success of our marriage:
We focus on what we LOVE about each other rather than the imperfections. Being grateful for all the wonderful qualities of our spouse goes a long way toward staying happy with each other.
In fact, I find that focusing on what I love about any situation, community, relationship, and organization goes a long way toward maintaining my own happiness.