Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Chief Encouragement Officer" - Thoughts on Marriage

The DH and I enjoyed a few quiet moments together, sharing an herbal tea, as part of our anniversary celebration


The DH (dear hubby) and I recently celebrated 18 years of being married.  It feels good, really good.  I know you're thinking, "Why, Steph you must have been married at 14!"  Not quite that young, but as grown up as I thought I was at the time, I had so much to learn.  It's a serious thing to be an adult living in a committed, conscious relationship with another human.  The DH and I still have our challenges.  But they're much fewer and more preventable now,  if we each stay conscious about our own "stuff".

We've worked hard at making our marriage good and that includes seeking outside help for enrichment and for managing the tough times.  One of the most valuable lessons I've learned is that what my partner needs most from me, and me from him is to be each other's "Chief Encouragement Officer."  He doesn't want or need me to be his mother.  Nor should I be.  I've learned over time that's not my job.  Instead, it sure feels good to have a life partner on my side to believe in me and cheer me on through it all.  That's what he wants from me, too.  We sometimes disagree or need to hold one another accountable.  But for our marriage to work at its best, the ratio of encouragement/praise/thanks/celebration/support/dreaming far outweighs the complaints and dissatisfaction.  And here's the real secret - it's up to me.  Where do I put my focus*?

If you've been in a long-term relationship, what is your #1 tip for going the distance?

*Please note - I'm not suggesting we overlook destructive behaviors.  

7 comments:

Martha said...

When the corporate employees entrusted to my management used to ask me how I managed to have such a happy marriage, the answer always came without thought as it was just so obvious and natural. I would always tell them, “You must work as hard for your marriage as you do for your career”! And they all knew how very hard I worked at my career. It is all about making each other happy, needed and being appreciated and respected.

Jennifer said...

Recommit each year on your anniversary. You must formally ask your partner to marry you for another year. It's also the only day of the year you can opt out.

Michelle said...

I love this! I'm definitely going to keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing! xoxo

Anonymous said...

As a Christian couple married for 44 years, when asked what our secret is I will tell them to put the Lord first and be each other's best friend. Not that you don't need girlfriends or guy friends, you just need your spouse to be your best friend. I do so enjoy your writings. Judy

Margie Yap said...

I have been married more than 25 years. One of the things that has helped to make it a long and happy one is the acceptance of my partner just as he is, without trying to change him. We also tell each other often what it is that we appreciate about them, and yes, encourage each other.

Marilyn said...

Oh Stephanie, you say it so well. I have been married for a very long time and certainly don't have the answers, but to hang in there sometimes.

Angela McRae said...

What wonderful advice (love your definition of "CEO"), and I also appreciate your adding that disclaimer at the bottom, as I have seen women stay in relationships they should have fled long, long ago! I think my favorite advice has to do with keeping God at the center of a marriage. A friend once shared with me a Bible verse that says a three-fold cord is not quickly broken, and I loved that imagery that a two-fold cord may become frayed but three, not so much. Congrats to you and your DH for doing the work and going the distance! (I think your DH, like mine, is a real keeper!)