Communicating for a Successful Marriage
Happy Anniversary to my Husband
This past week, my husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. People, upon hearing that, will turn to offer us congratulations. For some though, there is a questioning look. As if to ask, how did you make it work?
There are no easy answers to a question like that. People have written books upon books on the subject of how to stay happy in your marriage. To tell you the truth, I don’t have the solution for anyone looking for those answers. But what I can tell you is what worked for us.
I knew my husband for 10 years before we married. That’s not a prerequisite, just a fact. I did not know him very well for most of those years. Once we became exclusive, of course, we called it going steady back then; we really got to know each other. And I’ll tell you how. We talked.
We talked about anything, everything and nothing. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that great minds talk about ideas; small minds talk about people. I guess my husband and I, fit somewhere in the middle then because we talked about ideas, people, politics, religion, and anything else we could think of.
Throughout all of the talking, we got to know each other. I mean really know each other. I learned what it felt like to grow up in a home with no boundaries and how that can slant your opinion of life, which is something I knew nothing about. I was brought up in a strict Christian home with lots of boundaries. He learned sometimes life needs boundaries. Neither one of us had any idea that the grass was not greener on the other side of the fence.
That simple fact of life meant our lives were headed in totally opposite directions. I was the good girl whose rebellion was just enough to notice but not enough to cause serious trouble. It was the 70s after all. He was the bad boy who doesn’t even remember the 70s, well, maybe a little bit. Nothing was off-limits to him, so he sampled everything that life had to offer.
So I mean it when I say we came from opposite ends.
Through our constant communicating, he learned that I wanted to be less restrictive and I learned he secretly wanted more structure to his life. We shared our life stories, our likes and dislikes, but most of all, we shared our dreams for the future. When we realized that our future dreams were so similar; it connected us in a way that made our differences seem less significant.
We didn’t agree on a lot of things at first. Politics? Religion? We were at opposite ends. Oddly enough, we worked hard to prove the other wrong and by doing so, we learned about each other and we learned that we were both wrong. We studied together to learn truths in politics, religion and life. Granted, what we learned may not be the truth for everyone, but it is for us. It is where we found common ground. It is where we built the foundation of our relationship and our family.
We used communication in all its forms over the years. Sometimes verbal and other times nonverbal, we always kept communication open to each other. We touched each other, our minds, our bodies and our hearts. After 27 years, we’ve become that couple that can finish each others sentences. We can have a whole conversation without saying a word; we know what each glance means and every smirk too. We just know each other that well. Sure, now we’re pretty comfortable with each other; but truthfully, it has always been like that for us.
We didn’t have a plan. We just went with the flow most of the time. Truthfully, we were unprepared for life but we were determined to live it together. In many wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom light a unity candle, showing the symbolism of two lives becoming one. I’m not sure many marriages become one anymore. In far too many marriages, the emphasis is on me and mine. I have my life and he has his.
For me, everything I do that has value to my life; I would rather do with him. I gave everything that I am to him and in return, gave everything that he is to me. That is the simple secret of our successful marriage.
I would like to share with you a poem that my husband wrote to me many years ago.
My eyes can’t see the bond
That will hold us through our life
And my arms can’t hold the vows we made
When you became my wife.
My lips can’t taste the richness
Of the days we spend together
And my hands can’t touch the tenderness
I’ve never shared with another.
But our hearts embrace with a passion
Known, but to only a few
And in a language all their own,
They speak, silently, I Love You.