Sharon Randall: Tips on how to stay married

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022

Marriage is an excellent teacher on life — on how to live it and survive it and share it with someone you love.
   And a wedding anniversary is a perfect occasion to look back and celebrate the times, good and bad, you have weathered together, and all the things you have learned along the way.
   My husband and I will soon celebrate 17 years of marriage.  I’m happy to say we’re still hoping for at least 17 more.
   I was also married for 30 years before losing my first husband to cancer. Nearly 50 years of marriage doesn’t make me an expert. But it has taught me a few things. And like all the women in my family, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.
   Here’s a freshly updated list I collected years ago (with much appreciated help from readers) of tips on how to stay married.
   1_ Listen to each other. Seek first to understand before trying to be understood. When you are wrong, say you are sorry. When you are right, shut up.
   2_ Don’t tie a half-hitch knot. Plan to stay married forever.
   3_ Never go to sleep angry. Keep talking until you get over it or forget why you were mad.
   4_ Laugh together. If you can laugh at yourself, it’ll be easy.
   5_ Never embarrass, criticize or correct one another in public; try not to do it in private either.
   6_ Remember one of life’s ironies: We are least lovable when we need love most.
   7_ Don’t expect perfection. It doesn’t exist. If it did, it would bore you spitless.
   8_ On days when you don’t like each other, try to remember that you love each other. Pray for the “good days” to come again, then act as if they have.
   9_ Tell the truth, only the truth, and always with great kindness.
   10_ Kiss for at least 10 seconds everyday without fail; do it all at once or spread it out.
   11_ Examine your relationship often. Know its strengths and vulnerabilities. Keep moving in the direction you want it to go.
   12_ Be content with what you have materially, honest about where you are emotionally, and never stop growing spiritually.
   13_ To love someone is to wish them the best; always wish each other nothing but the very best.
   14_ Never yell unless the house is on fire. Speak softly when you argue. Whisper when you fight. Keep it fair and show some class. Hurtful words can be forgiven, but they can never be forgotten, or taken back.
   15_ Be both friends and lovers. Friendship is the oil that keeps you moving in the same direction. Love is the glue that holds you together.
   16_ Show by your actions as well as your words that the person you married comes first in your life. Let nothing and no one ever come between you.
   17_ Remember that you’re in love. Kiss in elevators. Hold hands in movies. Lock eyes across a crowded room. Say “You are beautiful and I love you” at least once a day. Then say it again every night.
   18_ Never miss an anniversary, a birthday or a chance to make a memory. Memories may not seem important now, but one day you will treasure them.
   19_ Take care of business. Pay your bills, change your oil, cut your grass, call your mother.
   20 _ Open your home and your hearts to angels unaware. Teach Sunday school. Coach Little League. Feed the homeless. Talk to strangers. Pick up trash. Make something beautiful of your life together.
    Finally, here’s the best advice I’ve ever heard or offered: Do what you want. Lead your own life. Follow your own calling. Be an interesting person, each of you on your own. But always save your best for each other.
   And in the end, you will know you were better together than you ever could’ve been apart.
   Happy anniversary. Here’s wishing you many more years to celebrate life together.
Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some.” She can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924 or www.sharonrandall.com.

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