It probably took the better part of 30 years for us to realize that we are the only people who matter.
Early on, we allowed parents to get a vote, our peers managed to put their two cents in when conflict arose, and even siblings weighed in. It is imperative in a marriage that the two key decision-makers are husband and wife, or any variation of marriage partners. Too often, we either give away our power or place weight on opinions from those who don’t crawl into bed with us every night nor wake up in the morning with us.
I believe maturity comes in long-term relationships—maturity individually and as a couple. As with wine, aging can make it fine. By the time 30 anniversaries have been celebrated, much of what matters has found its proper place.
I encourage you as a reader, if you are in a significant relationship, to make a list of the things it has taught you. We pick partners to learn from, whether we know that or not, it’s true. Here are the first 30 things that rolled off my tongue and I chose to share. I hope it gets your brain warmed up. From my heart to yours, here’s my 30.
Thirty Things I’ve Learned in 30 years, January 9, 1988 to January 9, 2017
1. Remember why you fell in love. It started with just the two of you.
2. When things are bad, look for the good.
3. Require a parenting (v.) partner. They need both of you. You need each other.
4. Tell him you love him every time you say goodbye.
5. Make his oatmeal even if you’re running late. Not too many raisins.
6. When you’re lost, find a compass. Ask for directions.
7. The grass isn’t greener. You’re where you’re meant to be.
8. Tell him what you love about him, especially when he’s not that lovable.
9. Be willing to walk away from conflict sometimes agreeing to disagree. Get to the other side. Learn from your mistakes.
10. Make what matters to him, matter to you.
11. Have each other’s back when it comes to your kids.
12. Be a mirror. You picked each other to learn.
13. Show up for the relationship, even when things suck “for better or worse.”
14. Check your ego at the door. Love with your heart, not your head.
15. Remind him who he is when he’s forgotten.
16. Have defined roles in a relationship. He’s the roots, I’m the wings.
17. Lay beside him on the floor when he’s had back surgery twice, “in sickness and in health.”
18. Speak your truth. Give him time to simmer when you’re boiling.
19. Take out the trash when it’s full, even though it’s his job, and don’t mention it.
20. Give your marriage what it deserves. It’s a 100/100 commitment. Don’t keep score.
21. Belly laugh. Cuddle. Hug. Be silly. Have sweet nicknames.
22. Know who he is and who he isn’t. Know who you are and who you’re not.
23. People fall asleep at the wheel. Keep each other awake.
24. Know what you need. Ask for it if you’re not getting it.
25. Hold hands when you walk. Reach for his hand first.
26. Be willing to listen when he registers a complaint. Give it due consideration.
27. Grass is green where it’s watered. Take care of the relationship.
28. Love out loud.
29. Be best friends.
30. Live by example. Show your children how to love.