You know the saying “happy wife, happy life”? I hear it nearly every weekend at the weddings I photograph, it’s the go-to ending for every father’s toast. While that saying always gets a good laugh, it’s true. But that’s only half of the equation, it’s a happy marriage that makes a happy life.
In our 8 years of marriage and 14 years living together Mark & I have learned a thing or two about marriage. As an added bonus we’re business partners so we have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to test the strength of our bond : )
I think the single most important thing I’ve learned so far is that marriage is a partnership. Sometimes 50/50, sometimes 70/30 or 30/70 but always, always a partnership. No matter how your opinions or interests may differ from your spouse, you should always whole-heartedly be their biggest fan. Their loudest cheerleader. While life may sometimes feel like it’s the two of you against the world, marriage should never feel like a battle against each other. I remember Mark telling me years ago about a conversation he had with a good friend that was on the brink of divorce. His friend said “every time we fight, she wins”. Mark’s sentiments were mine exactly, when in a disagreement with your spouse, no one should be going for the victory. One person scoring the “win” is a lose-lose for the marriage. Marriage is about finding harmony between two people so that together you may enjoy peace and happiness in life.
I often hear people say marriage is work. I’ve never felt like that is the right word. It shouldn’t feel like work. But it does takes constant nurturing and care, thoughtfulness and attention. A healthy, happy marriage means making your marriage top priority every single day. While you may not have the time to sit down together every night and hatch out your plans for the future or go on a play date every Saturday, the least you can do is take 30 seconds out of your day to stop and say to your spouse “I appreciate you”. While we may sometimes speak negative words that we wish we could take back, no one ever wishes they could take back the good stuff. No one ever gets sick of hearing that they’re loved and thought of.
Mark & I are always making our marriage and each other top priority and our lives thrive because of it. When there is friction between us we address it immediately because life’s simplest tasks become more difficult when we aren’t living in harmony. We believe marriage is one of life’s greatest adventures, an adventure that can feel like either a constant struggle or a perpetual win depending on how you approach the ride.
Our 14 years together is modest compared to many. Have you been married for one, two, three decades? There’s nothing I love more than hearing happy couples explain what makes their marriage flourish. Please chime in below, I’d love to hear from you!
(photos of us by Carl Zoch)