What a year to get married.
Social distancing might cause some couples to cancel their nuptials, but my niece is moving full speed ahead.
She’s getting married in July, even though their aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins can’t attend. I just canceled our hotel plans. The wedding just shrank from about 200 people to 20.
The bride and groom decided to focus on getting married, not on a wedding day.
You might not be able to have your dream wedding, but you can still have your dream marriage – which lasts so much longer. Plus, a pandemic is a powerful way to prepare for marriage. You’re already part way through the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows.
I just celebrated 24 years with my forever boyfriend. Before Bruce, two years was the longest I’d ever been in any relationship, and that one had a few break-ups.
Here are my 24 tips to live happily ever after – one day at a time.
1. Agree to disagree. Or as my daughter tells her three kids, “I love you too much to argue with you.”
2. No matter what your spouse says or does, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do you still want to be happy?” It’s always your choice, no one else’s.
3. You are marrying your spouse’s parents and your spouse is marrying your parents, yes, even if they are deceased. Deal with it or you’ll find the marriage is way too crowded for all six of you.
4. At least once a week, remind each other, “We are in this for the long haul.” Those words got us through surgeries, chemotherapy, being bald, losing my breasts and the current pandemic.
5. If a relationship has to be secret, don’t be in it. If you can’t show that text thread to your spouse, stop texting.
6. Withholding the truth is a sneaky form of lying. Would knowing this matter to your spouse? Would you want to know this?
7. Ask. Ask for help. Ask for directions. Ask for what you want for your birthday or Valentine’s Day or for dinner. You are not marrying a mind reader. You won’t always get what you want, but my husband taught me, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
8. Be kind. Then be kinder. Over and over and never stop.
9. Don’t say everything you think. Pause and edit yourself before it tumbles out. You aren’t a gumball machine.
10. Don’t believe everything you think. The mind can conjure up all sorts of noise. Shh. Meditate daily to silence all that nonsense.
11. You are here to enhance each other’s lives and not diminish each other. What can you do today to enhance your spouse’s life?
12. Listen all the way through. Practice W.A.I.T.: Why Am I Talking?
13. Keep choosing each other. Every morning, I choose you. Every night, I choose you.
14. Behind every criticism is a wish. What does your spouse really want? What do you really want?
15. Say, “I’m sorry.” Those might be the two most powerful words in a marriage. Admit when you’re wrong and do it before the sun sets on the day.
16. Dismantle your own buttons. Once you do that, Voila. Nothing happens when someone hits them. Get therapy if needed.
17. Sometimes you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. Like washing the clothes, emptying the trash or unclogging the toilet.
18. Your sex life will change with babies, health issues, aging and life stresses. That’s why the most important sex organ is the brain. It all starts there.
19. Reward the behavior you want. It works so much better than criticizing the behavior you don’t want.
20. Hurt people hurt people. Try not to hurt each other. Step away, go for a walk, say a prayer, phone a friend, then come back and open your heart wider.
21. H.A.L.T: Friends in recovery taught me to never get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. You won’t be your best self.
22. Say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean. (Still working on that one myself.)
23. If it was supposed to be different, it would be. Bow to what is and say thanks.
24. You will face hard times, but you can do hard.
Read Regina Brett online at cjn.org/regina. Connect with her on Facebook at ReginaBrettFans. 2019 Ohio SPJ Best Columnist.