15 years ago today, Jamie and I were married in a little Army chapel in Ft. Myer, VA. It was informal--us in our jeans, Chaplain Sullivan, a couple of my Army buddies, and the gospel choir that happened to be there having their rehearsal. (We had the big family, white-dress wedding in March.) We loved it. Afterwards, we ate at Chili's and then spent the night dealing with our overflowing toilet. It was the best night of my life!
Here's some thoughts on what it takes to stay married for 15 years.
- Tell her how much you appreciate every meal. Even when it's not your favorite dish, give loud and verbal thanks that someone cooked your sorry butt a meal.
- Get over yourself. Marriage is not about you. It's about glorifying God by demonstrating to the world around you His love for us by the way you treat your wife.
- Take her out on dates as often as possible. I'm cheap, but I don't mind spending some money on Jamie-baby. Dinner and a movie a few times a month is way cheaper than alimony.
- Even if she acts like she's too busy to stop and give you a kiss--stop her and give her a kiss.
- Plan romantic evenings/weekends/vacations. Romance is the dude's responsibility. If the romance is gone from your marriage, fellas, it's because you let your game get rusty. Put some oil on it (which in itself could be romantic).
- Pray for your wife. Ask God to protect her and do an extreme makeover to turn you into the man she deserves.
- Kill the spiders.
- Invest in a DVR or Tivo. This should be saving marriages left and right. Now when she starts talking, pause your live TV and politely listen.
- Teach your kids to love and respect their mother. Open up a can on them when they don't.
- Rescue her from herself at least once a year. She will give and give and give until she has nothing left. Lovingly help her put on the brakes and get her life balanced again.
- Ditch the World of Warcraft. She needs help.
- Do the hard or gross stuff that needs to be done. If you have working arms and legs, she should not be pushing the mower around your lawn.
- At least once a year, ask her what she needs from you that she's not getting. Fix it.
- Pastor her. Don't force her to make all the "God" decisions for your family. That's your job. She should be closer to God because of you, not despite you.
- Don't forget your 15th anniversary if you want to see your 16th. Happy anniversary, Jamie! You're more amazing every day. I honestly can't believe how my love for you continues to grow each year more than the one before. You make me a better man. I love you!