Tuesday, July 28, 2009

C.P.R for Twenty Years of Marriage...

While reading some comments on a social media site the other day, I came across a response that caught my attention. When one woman stated that she had been married for twenty years, another woman told her to blog about this accomplishment because she would have a great deal of wisdom to share with others.

In September of 2009, my husband and I will also celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. I, like the woman above, really don’t consider myself to have great marital advice. Yet, while pondering the diverse array of responders that day, I realized that there are a couple of things that do keep my own marriage growing.

I’m full aware that not everyone reading this blog is married, but for those who are or may be contemplating marriage, here are the three main ingredients that breathe life into our union.

C = Communication:
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” (Rollo May) Communication is listed first because this is the number one thing that changed our marriage for the better. Years ago, my husband and I like many other new parents, struggled to ‘get along’ when our children were little. Everything was new, busy and (most of the time) off-center. Sleep was a precious commodity; Tempers flared because we were both tired and had no idea what the other was thinking or doing. We realized that we needed to make our marriage a priority by communicating. Today, this is accomplished by simply taking some time once in awhile to sit on the couch (after the kids are in bed) with a glass of wine and just share whatever comes to mind. I will offer my opinion here of the two most important points for both spouses during communication:

1) Remember you BOTH get a chance to talk.
2) The word LISTEN has the same letters as the word SILENT.

P = Planning:
There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.” (Brian Tracy) I have to admit, it took me some time to come up with a fitting word for the letter P. However, after reading Brian Tracy’s quote, it was easy. When a husband and wife are continually planning for their future together, they are looking forward with hope and faith. This essential ingredient takes effort and participation from both sides, but the rewards surpass all. This may include planning what their family may look like five or ten years down the road, where the couple will travel and explore or it may consist of setting financial goals. Whatever the plans, this action has a way of drawing a couple closer while raising anticipation and joy.

R = Romance:
Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” (Anthony J. D’Angelo) Of course one of the three main ingredients for a living, breathing marriage is romance. Life will always be filled with crazy schedules and circumstances beyond our control. The real test is to continue to place in front of you, all the reasons you chose marriage in the beginning. Keeping the romance alive starts with small steps…date nights, an evening walk or bike ride together, a picnic in the park…it doesn’t have to be extravagant or cost a lot. Last week, my husband picked up a couple of lobsters from the grocery store and we ate in instead of going out. There was no birthday or holiday; we just randomly decided to do a little something extra, just the two of us, since our kids were gone for the evening.

I certainly do not claim to be an expert in relationships. Nor will I tell you that marriage is easy. But what I can share with you is real examples that have worked for my marriage for almost twenty years; Communication, planning and romance are three essential components that have resuscitated our life with hope and happiness. How about you? Have you refreshed your C.P.R. skills lately?

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