Being together 27 years and married 28 years both in June, Rourke and I have been through a lot together. Deaths, births, tragedies, sicknesses, job losses and gains, horrible bosses and co-workers, financial gains and losses. Through it all, we have remained strong, knowing every new day brings new blessings and challenges.
We, by no means, claim to have the perfect marriage, but we are happy and are in love. We thought this Valentine’s Day month that we would share what we have learned works for us. We, of course, did not learn these overnight but over time and with many trials and errors.
To become better, I feel, you have to fail. But, it is in the getting back up and trying that makes you a better person and/or couple.
Coming from a strong foundation helps, too. We were both blessed with coming from parents who were married together until their deaths and never divorced. Even though Rourke and I come from extremely different backgrounds, knowing that our parents stayed together through thick and thin got us through some tough times.
Rourke: “It is more important to be happy than to be right.”
Melanie: “Know that we all go through peaks and valleys in life. Know that the peaks get you through the valleys and vice versa.”
Together: “Go to church together.”
Rourke: “When she asks how she looks, there is only one answer.”
Melanie: “Don’t let pride stand in your way.”
Together: “Only hang out with happily-married couple friends.”
Together: “Have fun. Laugh.”
Rourke: “Don’t get lazy about your love life. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Melanie: “Don’t expect your partner to be ready to go in the bedroom. Take responsibility in getting things started.”
Together: “Constant communication. Don’t try and read each other’s minds. It can’t be done.”
Together: “Eat healthy together.”
Rourke: “If you carry a child for nine months and birth it, you can name it.”
Together: “Make sure you are best friends.”
Melanie: “Listen fully. Put down what you are doing and look your partner in the eye and listen. Ask questions.”
Together: “Give 100%. It’s not 50/50. And, sometimes, you’ve got to even give 150% when your partner is going through something stressful.”
Melanie: “Be your partner’s best cheerleader.”
Together: “Discuss parenting issues in private. Be a united front in public.”
Melanie: “When you do argue, and things get heated and out of hand, be the first one to say, ‘Can we start all over?'”
Together: “And when all else fails, seek professional help!”
What are your gifts of advice you would like to share with us? We would love to hear your words of wisdom to pass along!