How to Create and Keep a Lasting Marriage

There's a current mindset from our generation that I've had a hard time grasping, people who go into marriage with the idea of it being their "first" or not lasting forever. To me, marriage is a lifelong commitment and you should do everything in your power to make it last that long. It has always been my goal to have a marriage that lasts forever! I can't imagine going into such a serious union planning for it to end at some point in time. Creating a marriage that will last a lifetime takes effort, it won't happen just because you're hoping for it. 

Don't Allow the 'D' Word

This one is a no brainer to me. If you plan on your marriage lasting forever, take divorce off the table from day one. By removing that word from your vocabulary, you never have to worry when life throws you a curve ball that may cause challenges in your relationship. It creates a marriage that is safe and both of you are committed to do everything in your power to keep it that way.

Make Time for Each Other

Sure, it might be easy to stay together forever if you treat each other like roommates who eat meals together and sleep in the same bed, but what fun would that be? There's no benefit to a relationship like that! Treat your marriage relationship like you did your dating relationship, don't schedule time for each other around your life, schedule your life around the time that you have to spend together.

Be Completely Selfless

The hardest part of any relationship I feel like. It's easy to feel like you should be getting something that you're not from your spouse or that you are doing more for them or around the house than they are. I have a new goal to find three ways each day that I can serve my husband, whether it's doing a chore that would normally be his, buying a special treat just for him, making his favorite meal, or doing something he asks me to do when I'm tempted to say no. Serving your spouse is a great way to get rid of the selfish and embrace the selfless.

Get Away Together

We love date nights and stay-cations, but the thing that has made the biggest difference in our marriage has been getting away together. You don't have to go far, it could just be to a hotel in a neighboring town. Getting out of your normal surroundings and routine makes all the difference! In a hotel, you don't have chores, projects or your every day responsibilities nagging you to get them done, so you can focus all of your attention on your spouse and your relationship. We always come back from our getaways refreshed and more in love than ever!

Have Fun Every Day

Being married and an adult, you have a lot of serious things to talk about and take care of every day. There are bills to paid, jobs to do, school to attend and every day life crisis' to handle, but being a grown up doesn't mean that there isn't any time for fun. Laugh together, watch random YouTube videos, go to the park and swing, have a snowball fight. Do something childish and forget about the adult responsibilities that you have for a while, you won't regret it!

And you'll live happily ever after, right? Well, maybe... but...

Setting your marriage up for success from the beginning is important, but you have to continue to put effort into that relationship for years to come (well, really for forever) if you really want it to last forever. Anne from Love the Here and Now has been with her husband for a lot longer than I have been with Joe, so I invited her to share her tips for continuing your lasting marriage in the future.

I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 18 years.  We have been together since we were 16.  I have spent more than half of my life with him by my side.  It's amazing for me to think of all that we have shared and how we have grown together since we were younger. 

Marriage takes work.  It is not something that you can leave on the back burner and tend to when there is time.  Life is busy; 2 full time careers, three daughters and all of their activities, and the day to day stuff of life can be consuming. The important thing to remember though is that you owe it yourself, to each other, and to your family to nurture your marriage.  

There is no fool-proof way or a formula to create a lasting marriage.  There are, however, things that you can do to help keep your marriage healthy.  I thought I would share with you a few things that have helped keep my marriage going.

Communication

No matter how long you and your spouse have been together communication is key.  Never assume that because you have been together for years that you know how he is feeling or what he is thinking. Talking about issues, whether they are big or small, can save you many a headache and heartache in the long run.

Be sure to check in with each other during the day.  There are times when our schedules are so crazy during the day that a phone call is not possible.  Some days I get the biggest smile on my face just by getting a random "I hope your day is going well.  I love you!" text from my husband.  Our days are busy and hectic but just that little text can brighten your day and let you know that you are in his thoughts.

Laughter

Having a good time together and laughing throughout life is wonderful.  Life throws you many curveballs and when you have kids it's easy to get bogged down with the day to day things.  Having time with your husband to focus on just the two of you and to enjoy each other's company can help your marriage.

Space

Just as having together time is key, I firmly believe that having some space is healthy too.  Spending time doing your hobbies or seeing your friends is good for your marriage.  When you become a couple and a family it is easy to lose sight of yourself.  It's best to not let that happen.  Marriage does not mean giving up yourself and your hopes and dreams.

Support and Encouragement

Be each other's biggest cheerleaders.  If you are anything like me, self-doubt is a constant companion. Knowing that my husband has faith in me and is supporting me in all of my dreams does wonders for my confidence.

Be on the Same Page

This last piece of advice really pertains to if and when you have children.  I have seen many couples lose their spark because of parenting issues.  We have three daughters and from day one we always discussed how we would raise our children.  For the most part we have had no issues.  I tend to be more cautious while he is more willing to let them do more.  The key part is discussing things in private and presenting a united front to your children.  Stand firm together as parents. Children and teens can sense when there isn't agreement and can whittle away at you.  Do not give in and do not undermine each other when it comes to your children, especially in front of your children.  This can cause resentment and arguments between the two of you; neither of which is needed and can be avoided.

The best advice I can give you is to remember what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place.  I still look at my husband and am in awe of the fact that he is mine; that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.  A marriage takes work, effort, dedication, love and tears.  It takes a commitment to each other and it takes strength to work  through the hard times.   Your marriage is the best gift you will give each other.  Savor it, nurture it, appreciate it, and love each other.

What things have you done to make your marriage one that will last forever?