Friday, October 12, 2007

Married 17 Years

Today's guest article is about what makes a marriage work.

When I first wrote this article, I was married for 14 years. Now, I'm a happily married woman of 17 years! Sometimes I just need to pinch myself. With a family curse of divorces, I never thought I'd find myself married this long, let alone happily married. We've come a long way in 17 years. It hasn't always been a smooth ride, but it's been a good ride.To be honest, I never thought we'd make it this far. While my husband's mom and dad are a great example of what it means to make a commitment and make your marriage work (they'll be celebrating 53 years in November!), my side of the family has a hard time staying married to each other. In fact, I was so afraid we'd be divorced before we hit our one-year anniversary that I kept my maiden name hyphened with my married name for the first 6 months of my marriage.Today, I can honestly say that I don't worry about divorce and haven't for many years. I think hitting the five year anniversary mark and renewing our vows really helped me put things into perspective. But it was my mom's words that really locked things in for me. One day, while talking about how long I've been married and my initial fears, she said to me, "You broke the family curse. I'm proud of the two of you. You've worked so hard for your marriage. You're a good example. I hope your sister will one day find the kind of love and marriage you have. That is my hope for her."

Why has our marriage lasted 17 years?

Only God truly knows the true answer, but I've come up with a few good reasons:

1. We made a commitment to work things out no matter how hard life gets (and believe me we have had some very rocky and treacherous terrain).
2. We took out the word "obey" in our wedding vows and refused to replace it with something else. We believed we were not each other's property, but a team of decision makers.
3. We take the time to apologize—even when we don't want to. And even if it takes some working up to get the apology out, we work on making it happen.
4. We lift each other up to others because lifting each other up reminds us of why we fell in love with each other in the first place.
5. We accept the fact that we both have baggage that we've brought into this marriage and we've agreed to work through that baggage together.
6. We've learned to listen to one another—even when sometimes it's a boring thing to do.
7. We learned to joke about ourselves and each other.
8. We don't intentionally go around hurting each other.
9. We vent to close friends who can keep our vents in confidence and not hold them against our spouse.
10. We've learned to let our guard down with each other.
11. We trust each other and do what we can to keep that trust.
12. We have faith that the Lord brought us together.
13. We love each other and remind each other of this, often.
14. We understand that marriage takes work and commitment and are willing to do our part to make our marriage work until death do us part.

In 17 years of marriage, I've learned that marriages aren't fairy tales made up of bubbly, happy go-lucky days and nights. They are roller coaster rides with lots of ups and downs. But if you really want to keep that "new puppy-love" feeling alive just toss in some one-on-one time, a little romance, and a lot of forgiveness.

Forgive each other for driving each other crazy, for the little wrongs you've done to one another, and for anything else that isn't a "big deal" in the larger scheme of things.

About The Author:Alyice Edrich is the editor of The Dabbling Mum®, a free parenting publication, and the author of several work from home e-books designed to help parents earn extra cash while spending more time with their children. To learn more, visit

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