I’m sure that title got your attention, but this post isn’t about what you think it is.
Actually, it’s about an article I read recently about an Emory University study that lists four ways couples can increase their chances of having a successful marriage. As my husband and I prepare to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary next month, I started thinking: What does it really take to stay happily married?
According to the study, in order to “divorce-proof” a marriage, couples should:
- Date for at least three years
- Make good money
- Choose a partner for more than good looks
- Go to church together more often
Hmm, let’s see …
- We got engaged within a year and a half of going on our first date.
- When we tied the knot, we were so broke, it was no joke.
- If we weren’t physically attracted to each other, I don’t think we would have even gotten to a first date (I’m just being honest).
- But, we have worshiped together in the same church for more than 20 years.
If this list is any indication, I’m in no position to offer relationship advice. So, I won’t. But, what I will do is share what has worked for us for more than two decades. It’s my list of top four “quickies” to help keep our marriage strong:
- Give a token of love: Nothing makes me feel more special than having my husband come home with one of those “out-of-the-blue,” or “just because” trinkets. It’s never anything fancy or super expensive, but it really is the thought that counts. And, that’s what makes it so special. It lets me know he’s thinking about me. It’s human nature to want and feel love. And, as much as you need it, your mate does too. So, it’s important to reciprocate.
- Hug it out – And, speaking of wanting and needing to feel love, there’s nothing better than a good, warm hug. So much can be conveyed through the full-body contact of an affectionate embrace – reassurance, protection, satisfaction, even love. It’s no wonder why touch is one of our five senses. It truly is a gift from God.
- Drop a note: I’m not talking about a grocery list or a note asking that the garbage be taken out. I’m talking about a sincere paragraph or two explaining what he means to you. Have you ever told him that your life would be empty without him? Or, that you feel blessed that you chose him to be the father of your children? I have. And, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t appreciate knowing their worth to you. Not good with words? A nice greeting card will do the trick too. The key is that it comes from the heart.
- Plan a date night: It’s been 20 years for me and my husband, but I still remember the flutters I’d get deep in my belly when I knew he was on his way to pick me up for a date. Today, I’m still excited to go on a date with my husband. With the demands of work, home and community, taking an occasional moment just for us is a great way to stay connected, have unedited conversation and just share a laugh.
Try one or all of these little “quickies” if you want the ties that bind your relationship to be unbreakable. I’m a witness. They really do work! Be sure to drop a note and let me know how it works for you! In the meantime, here’s to happily coupled couples everywhere. Cheers!