Last week my grandmother died. I was very close to her, so this is a bittersweet blog dedicated to her. It's bitter because, of course, I miss her terribly. But it's sweet, because I feel blessed to have spent so much time with her growing up. My grandmother taught me a great deal in life. She was married for over 50 years and in that time, I learned a lot about what it takes to have a great marriage, like they did. Whether you're planning your wedding, a newlywed, or already married for some time, here are some great tips for a long and happy marriage:
1) Humor- More important than anything else, my grandmother always stressed how important it is to laugh in marriage. It helps when you have a partner who makes you laugh, but laughter itself can help lighten the mood in a household when things get tough. I know they had challenges and difficult moments throughout their lives, but somehow they were able to find something humorous about a situation or at least make each other smile. And the smiles and laughter definitely kept their relationship going.
2) Let Little Things Slide- My grandparents worked very hard. They owned a small store, where the two of them worked tirelessly and came home to more work. In all of those years, I never heard my grandmother get upset at my grandfather for doing or not doing something. If he left his coffee cup out, she would wash it and put it away. She never let little things or his quirky habits bother her. It was part of the marriage package and not worth getting upset over in the long run.
3) Faith- My grandmother had lots of faith. She prayed every day for her family and those around her who needed prayers. She took things she couldn't control, like finances, and sent those worries up to Heaven. She would always say, "you just have to believe, have faith." She felt strongly that G-d would take care of the things she couldn't. That belief kept her worrying to a minimum, which in turn strengthened her marriage.
4) Compliment- My grandmother knew how important it was to show her love and affection to my grandfather. She would compliment him when she had the chance, even if it was something little. "I like that sweater on you" or "the chicken you cooked is delicious," she would say. And he would reciprocate too. Pointing out those little details in marriage is important for both sides to know they are loved and appreciated.
5) Space- Both of my grandparents had their roles at home and even so, my grandmother would give my grandfather his space to do things he enjoyed, like gardening, reading, and listening to his music. She allowed him time and space without pressure to get stuff done at home. Each of them having the space to do the things they enjoyed helped them come together to get things done in the end. My grandfather would clean the house weekly, while my grandmother cooked and baked. He would took care of the garbage, she did the laundry. He did the business bills, she payed the household ones. Their work was very equal, as was their down time. I never heard them talk about it, but somehow there was this magic about their partnership. They lived and worked happily side by side each and every day.
If you're not doing so already and want to better your relationship, try implementing one of these things. If you want to dramatically improve your marriage, try doing all of them. It's hard and we all forget to at times, but I feel like they are little magical relationship tools. Try whipping one of these things out before a disagreement is about to start. Offer a compliment instead or tell your partner to take some time to do XYZ that he enjoys. See what happens and let me know!