Wednesday, May 06, 2015

15 Lessons I've Learned on Being Married for 15 Years

Fifteen Years of being married.

May 6, 2000 3pm Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon City.

Twenty Four Years of loving the same person.

More than Half of our lifetime of being together.

Sam and I met in college, started out as friends until one day he ‘resigned’ as a friend. I have this policy you see “You can’t court me if you are my friend”. Cried a week then moved on, realized I can’t ignore his courtship. So basically Love Found Me when I promised myself to not go looking at 17.

The years passed by so quickly. We did not even realized it has been fifteen years already, we just noticed that most of our appliances began dying on us and the gifts from our wedding began to feel old. It did not feel that long maybe because living with each other has come so naturally for us. I realized I have been giving marital advise more frequently lately I decided to compile a list of things I believe is important in making a marriage lasts or workout.

1. Never give up
Three days before we got married we had our final interview with the parish priest. He asked us repeatedly if we are sure that we want to get married. He ask us examine ourselves and honestly answer(in private) “Will this man make me happy for the rest of my life”. That day we just had enough money for the transportation home and none for lunch. We asked each other is we will still be happy with each other even if the hard times come. We both answered YES and made a PACT to NEVER Give Up and NEVER Let Go even when the times are hard. Our motto “Walang iwanan”. It comes handy at times when one tries to give up and attempt to leave the marriage.

2. Communication is always OPEN.
Your spouse must be the person you talk to about anything under the sun. No subject is off limits. Communication between the two of you must be 24/7, make time for discussing important stuff. Just like in the workplace you have weekly/monthly/emergency meetings in marriage you also must have regular ‘meetings’ to talk about important stuff.

3. TRUST your spouse Explicitly
Since your communication is open you can trust your spouse 100%. If you have doubts you can always ask him.

4. Be each other’s BFFs
Basically when you were married you had become ONE literally. Best friends love and support each other more so if you are married. You should be the No.1 fan/supporter/ defender/ caregiver/ buddy/partner in crime of your spouse. Anticipate his needs, be his shock absorber. You must be the first person he will go to when he has problems/triumphs/goodnews and vice versa.

5. Keep on Dating 
Keep the romance alive. It should never die. Have a regular date without the kids. Watch a movie, go to concerts, window shop like you did as boyfriend/girlfriend. Hold hands, do PDAs, give love notes, keep the love burning HOT.

6. Have common goals. Have long range and short range plans
Married life can be smooth sailing if you planned for it. Set goals. Kids? House? Car? Travel? Retirement? These things must be talked about and planned even before you get married. It is good to know that both of you are working on a common goal, especially when times are hard and you both need the motivation to work it out.

7. Have your own place away from the in-laws
Have your own house at the start of the marriage. Rent a small place if you can’t buy a house but do it. I believe that a newly married couple must learn to live with each other without the extended family. When you marry the first years are crucial in forming the marriage. You both must have the freedom to make your own decisions/habits/traditions away from prying eyes. Make love in any part of the house/have shouting matches/ argue the night away/ settle you differences/have romantic dinners in the privacy of your house without other people butting in. It will help both of you in the long run. So when you have arguments or fights in the future you will know when to stop and when to make up and woo the other person.

8. It is OK to go to bed angry
Being angry is normal. There are situations that can’t be solved before bedtime. Sometimes it takes days for your spouse to forgive/understand what you did. Remind him of your Never Give Up motto if he wants to end the marriage.

9. Set Boundaries. Know your limits.
As a married person you must know your limits, you have a “better half” that will be affected by your actions. So tone down the party girl in you, and other things that you use to do when your single. Remember that your spouse is your immediate family/your person, he must be first in your priorities before your mother/father/siblings/friends.

10. Forgiveness is a given
Always forgive and don’t retaliate. You are sabotaging your own marriage if you treat your spouse as an enemy

11. Make your Family your Priority
Always know your goals and priorities. If you both decided that the family that you built is No.1 then the sacrifices and decisions that you will undertake will be easy.

12. Sex like wine gets better with age.
No need to elaborate.

13. Be on the same page in finances
We have a saying “Habang maliit ang kumot, matuto kang mamaluktot ”. Marriage is an equal partnership, if times are hard both you must learn to adjust. Learn to budget early in the marriage and designate the person to do it. Help each other financially it is not just the problem of the husband, wives should help and enhance the wealth. Look for alternative income. When money is abundant learn to save and try to make more money.

14. Learn to take care of each other’s health
Being married means you are not just responsible for yourself but also of your spouse. Exercise together if you can, encourage and support each other in having a healthy lifestyle.

15. Never stop saying “I Love You”
I have this habit of sending I Love You/Thinking about you/Missing You messages and other naught IMs to my husband anytime of the day. It makes me happy and I know it also makes him happy especially if he is having a lousy day at the office. It builds up the sense of well-being in a person, knowing that he is loved and cherished.

Happy 15th Anniversary Sam! I will always thank the Lord for the gift of YOU!