Last week my husband and I celebrated our 7th anniversary. We ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Skylight, located in Mannheim. The restaurant sits on top of a TV tower and revolves around the city once an hour.
We are not marriage experts but we have experienced 7 happy years of marriage. If you have been married for any length of time, you know being married is one of the most challenging things. Here are some of our secrets to a happy marriage.
1. Be best friends. When you consider your spouse your best friend you consider their feelings and are concerned about their well being. So many times couples seem to get married but are not best friends much less act like friends half of the time. If your spouse is not your best friend at least treat them as you would a good friend.
2. Have an allowance. Money problems are very common in marriages. We have always had one account. However, several years ago we decided to each get an amount of money each month we can spend however we choose. When we lived in the States we took this money out in cash. This has helped us keep arguments about money at bay as we both have freedom to blow money on something we want if we choose without "asking" or "disappointing" the other person. For large purchases we can either save up our allowance or talk to each other and decide if we want to add that to the family budget.
3. Agree to disagree. My husband still struggles with this because he is more at peace when we resolve disagreements. However, sometimes you will just not be able to agree and that's okay. We are still individuals and it's important to have our own thoughts about things.
4. Stand up for one another. I cannot tell you how important this is. If someone is to be disrespectful to me, my husband stands up for me. Same for me to him. I think it is so sad when a person is getting dissed and his or her spouse is standing there joining in rather than standing up. Marriage is a partnership, you are a team. Stick up for one another.
5. Share household chores. Even though I am a stay-at-home mom, I am not a maid. I am sometimes busier and a lot more tired than I ever was when I worked full time. And while I do most of the day-to-day chores such as laundry and cooking, my husband is always willing to help clean, wash dishes, fold laundry, etc.
6. Be nice to each other. We try and encourage one another and treat each other better than we would a stranger. Sometimes this is difficult but as we heard at a marriage conference once, we are not each others enemy.
7. Put God first. This is the most important secret for us. Having the same beliefs has been such a blessing. in our marriage The fact that we are both Christians makes it easier as far as how we live day-to-day and how we act and respond to one another and raise our child.
While marriage is not always easy, there are some awesome things about it. If you are struggling in your marriage, I encourage you to seek help. There is hope for a better marriage and sometimes it starts with you being willing to make changes first. I'll leave you with one of my favorite passages from the Bible.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.