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Shortly before my grandfather passed away last month, he and my grandmother celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. My grandmother was asked the secret to a successful marriage. My grandmother’s words weer simple, “Just hang in there.”
I would assume that anyone who is married and has children by this point in time can chuckle and see the wisdom in the simplicity and truth of “Just hang in there.” The secret isn’t grand. It isn’t doing a certain list of items. It isn’t finding the perfect person to marry. It is both people hanging in there. Marriage isn’t all roses. There are moments of frustration, even moments of anger! There are misunderstandings and miscommunications. It can be hard. You have to hang in there.
Of course, there are ways you can take the advice of “hang in there” and “flesh it out” as they say in writing. You can brainstorm ways to help yourself “hang in there.” I am sure you can sit and think of some things you can do to hang in there. Here are some ideas I had:
- Recognize and accept differences. Not only are you male and female, and thus very different, but you came from very different upbringings. Even if you grew up in close proximity to each other, there will be many differences in your life experiences. Allow your differences to complete each other as a whole rather than drive a wedge between the two of you. Whatever your differences, you can find ways to allow those to make you an even more awesome unit. If you were the exact same, your strengths as a team would be very limited.
- Pray for your spouse.
- Focus on the positive. Look at the good things about your spouse. Do not spend time dwelling on the negative sides. When you focus on the negative, a cycle starts and just snowballs until you find yourself fuming mad. You know the idea of “you can choose to be happy or you can choose to be right.” Sometimes we need to choose happiness over being right.
- Speak kindly to each other. Be respectful to your spouse. Speak nicely and kindly about him and to him. Offer compliments even!
- Forgive and ask to be forgiven.
- Communicate. Talk to your spouse. Be direct in your communications–do not hint at what you are thinking/feeling/wanting. Just say it.
Like I said, there are many things you can do to “just hang in there.” These are just some starting point ideas. The next time you face a bump in the road in your marriage, remind yourself to just hang in there.
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