What if you could have a do-over on your marriage vows? Knowing what you know now, what would you commit to your spouse in order to ensure a life-long happy marriage?
When I look back, I’m sure the 28 years old me (my age when I got married), could hardly imagine what it would take to see us through 50+ years of marriage. Our vows, while romantic and heartfelt at the time, were probably hopelessly naive.
So, now, 15 years what did I get right, what did I get wrong, and, most importantly, what did I miss?
I got a few right. We vowed to love and respect… that was a good one, for sure. We vowed to make time for weekend morning coffee and reading the newspaper together.., we have done this for 15 years and it has kept us close and gives us ways to connect intellectually. Seek new adventures together… this has proved to be the most important; we didn’t know what type of adventures we would want, but realizing them together has been really important.
We got a few wrong… or, if not wrong, at least they turned out to be far less important that we thought they would be. This is just us, but vows we had around romance and cherishing one another… this has not really been our thing. We are not too into grand romantic gestures; we tend to show our love and commitment through the things we do together that we enjoy day-to-day and week-to-week. In all honesty, we probably could be a little more diligent on the grand
If I had known then what I know now, there are a few I would have added:
– I would vow to find ways to keep myself interesting to my wife. I hadn’t anticipated how much I would change during my life and how necessary that change would be in staying interesting, both to myself and to others. One of the tricks to our happy marriage has been to continuously explore new hobbies, new interests and new ways of seeing things. We began music lessons at 38 years old… there is nothing more grounding, humbling and endearing that seeing your (very competent) partner struggle with something that is very difficult for them… and to make progress together.
– I would vow to continue to explore our sexuality together. As 28 year olds (she was 26) we really liked sex. But I honestly had not anticipated at 28 years old, that sex would still be important in my life as a 40 year old. Equally importantly, I could never have anticipated the ways that our sexuality would express itself at 40 years old. But what I should/could have known is that our sexual interest would evolve and that we could have committed to explore that evolution together. Another key to our successful relationship has been that we have always been honest about our sexual desires and we have found (exciting) ways for our sex lives to evolve to help each of us meet new interests and desires.
– I would vow to stay fit. Staying fit it pretty easy as a 28 years old, and I never gave to much thought. I know work at my fitness much harder, and I am convinced that one of the main reasons my wife and I have the energy and enthusiasm to keep our relationship fresh and interesting is because we have always stayed in good shape. Fitness goes us the energy to really maximize all other parts of our life and relationship.
The commitments we need to make sure a relationship endures and thrives over a lifetime are tough to predict when you’re young. Whether you are young or old now, what do you think you should be committing to to make sure you;re in it (with your spouse) for the long term?