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Kindred Spirit:
30 Things I learned from 30 years of marriage

By Teresa Bell Kindred
30 years is too long to be on a diet.

It's too long to go without cheese cake. (not that I would)

It's a long time to go without seeing a friend.

But 30 years goes by in the blink of an eye when you are married to someone you love.

I decided it might be fun to see if I could come up with 30 things I've learned in 30 years of marriage. I started writing and realized I could probably come up with a lot more, but for the sake of space I'm going to stop with 30. No matter how long you've been married, you might have learned some of the same things!
  1. There are few things better than being married to your best friend.
  2. The art of compromising is critical.
  3. Snoring is a reminder that your loved one is close by.
  4. Laughter and a sense of humor are essential.
  5. Finding "alone" time is hard when children are little, but important.
  6. It's okay to have different interests and hobbies. He plays golf, I don't. I can sit entranced with a good book for hours, he can't. A few years into our marriage we figured out that we didn't have to do everything together.
  7. Holding hands is always a good thing.
  8. Having a shoulder to cry on makes tough times easier.
  9. Raising a child (or children) together is one of God's greatest gifts to a marriage.
  10. Growing together in faith is a stepping stone to a stronger marriage.
  11. Never go to bed mad.
  12. Tell each other you love each other every day. We never know when it might be our last.
  13. Make lots of pictures. You think you'll remember everything but you won't.
  14. Never yell at each other in front of the kids. It scares them and you shouldn't be yelling anyway!
  15. Little things mean a lot. A sweet note, a hug, even a quick text just to say "I love you," can bring a smile on a cloudy day.
  16. Trust is essential.
  17. Always have your spouse's back.
  18. Don't be afraid to give compliments. No one ever gets tired of a kind word.
  19. Fight fair. There are certain areas we are all sensitive about and those are off limits during disagreements. I call it "hitting below the belt" and it's a no-no for a happy marriage.
  20. Keep your personal life private.
  21. Pick your battles carefully. It's best not to battle at all but it's easy to fall into the "nag" trap. After 30 years Bill knows that if a jar lid isn't screwed on, I probably did it. And about ten years ago he stopped complaining about it. I just can't remember. He loves butter and gets it out to butter his bread...and never remembers to put it back in the fridge. I gave up on that one about the same time he quit complaining about my not screwing the jar lids back on.
  22. Share the load. I saw a survey recently that said the happiness level in marriages was always higher in marriages where both spouses shared household chores. Makes sense to me!
  23. Decide early on who pays the bills and how you will budget your money. Set goals and work toward them together.
  24. Take vacations (with the kids and without). Even if you can't afford it, find a cheap way to go somewhere. Home always looks better when you come back from a trip.
  25. One of my grandmother's favorite sayings was, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." That's good advice for a marriage too.
  26. Work together to make your house, apartment, whatever, a home. It doesn't take a ton of money and an expensive decorator to make a home. It just takes a family who loves each other being there together.
  27. Surround yourself with happily married couples, either through church, family or neighbors. Happy marriages inspire other happy marriages.
  28. Realize that hard times will come and support each other in any way you can when they do.
  29. Brag on each other. We brag on our children and our grandchildren, why shouldn't we brag on our spouse. I love the fact that my husband is musically talented and love to brag on his piano and guitar playing. My husband rocks (literally)!
  30. Remember love isn't just a feeling, it's something we do. Bill knows I love cheese cake so he goes out of his way to bring me a slice if they serve it at the hospital where he works. He calls me every day before he comes home from work to find out if I need anything from the store. He's thoughtful about all the little things I like and I try to do the same thing for him.
Saying "I love you" is wonderful but showing someone you love them is even better.

Happy Anniversary, Bill. You are a great friend, husband, father and poppa! Thanks for making memories with me for the last 30 years and may God bless us with 30 more!

-Teresa Kindred, Nanahood

This story was posted on 2010-09-05 08:11:18
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