4 Secrets To Staying Married
I recently got back from vacation to 🇯🇲 Jamaica with my gorgeous wife Tami. I love Jamaica, but for us on the west coast, the flight and the time to get to the resort can be brutal. In truth, us west coasters can get to Mexican resorts much easier and with shorter flight times than Jamaica, and yet we’ve made the tourney 3 times now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the people, the food, and the beaches-I just don’t enjoy the time it takes to get there. My wife, however, loves it. She especially appreciates the culture. Latinos have become the ethnic majority in many California cities (this isn’t a debate about demographics so slow your roll), and as such, she loves being able to experience different accents, foods, and customs. I’m more a creature of habit and ease, so a vacation to a Mexican resort sounds 10X better to me-but her happiness is more important than my comfort.
1️⃣ Secret #1. Put the wants and needs of your spouse ahead of your own.
It’s expected that on any vacation you are to participate in excursions and sightseeing. Yes, there are days when all you’ll want to do is lounge poolside or stay in your hotel room, but most people go on vacation to experience things they couldn’t normally experience at home. Our 2018 Jamaica vacation at the Couples Towers Isle was no different. Each morning, on a first come first serve basis, guests were expected to make reservations for the water excursion activities. These included : snorkeling, kayaking, a catamaran ride, and the glass bottom boat. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate with us on two days all water activities were cancelled.
On the day that the weather permitted us to participate, we had to compete with a lot of people who were just as eager us. We were initially told that they couldn’t accommodate us on the glass bottom boat, but just as we turned to walk away, they stopped us and told us to put our life jackets on and to rush on the boat. So we did. We hopped on the boat and squeezed our way into what we thought was the last corner of space on the boat. Then we waited. And waited. And waited, until I heard a voice say “Leave him.” I didn’t understand what was happening until my wife explained it to me.
We, being the entire ship, were waiting for one more guest who was lagging behind while his wife sat on the boat. She must have gotten tired of waiting as she instructed Captain Robert to sail off. I thought it was a little harsh until my wife looked at me and said, “I would’ve done the exact same thing.”
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a bit of a procrastinator, and to make matters worse, I have the good intentioned habit of over committing. Trust you me, over committing and lagging make for a disastrous combination. Nonetheless, I am who I am.
2️⃣ Secret #2 : You can’t change people.
You can only accept them as you are. This habit of mine took it’s toll on my marriage, that is, until my wife learned to accept me for who I was. Hence, her “I would’ve done the exact same thing.” statement. Not rude. Not cold. Just matter of fact. I got it. Look, I move a little slower than her and am easily distracted (most men are). Many tasks take me longer to complete than her. We tend to be the last family racing into the theater during movie night. We barely make it to church on time for sacrament. I’ll be late to my own funeral. That’s who I am. She accepts that now and just works around it-as do I. She isn’t perfect either, but she is perfectly flawed, as am I. I accept her for who she is and work around it.
10 minutes into the tour all the passengers hear a horn blaring and in the horizon we see a small motorboat racing to catch up to our glass bottom boat. Our small vessel stops. The same man who was “left behind” by his wife had convinced hotel staff to help him join his wife.
I caught the whole thing on film. See the video below.
3️⃣ Secret #3 : Commitment.
Now, one might argue, that it was the hotel’s duty to reunite him with his wife and this was nothing more than an act of exceptional customer service, and while I agree, it would’ve been just as easy for this gentleman to throw his hands up in the air and say, “Fu** this. I’m going to the bar.” But he didn’t. He got on a boat and raced to join us. Once on our boat he was greeted by applause and sat himself down right next to his wife with a smile. No smirks. No talking under his breath. No dirty glances.
4️⃣ Secret #4 : Forgiveness.
I wish I could’ve said that the younger me would’ve acted the same way, but I’d be lying. I would’ve probably let my ego get the best of me and would’ve let my better half hear a piece of mind. I think it should be noted, this gentleman was probably in his mid to late 50s. I had just witnessed what it took me over a decade to learn in my own marriage. That is, that both parties have to learn to forgive-almost daily. In all honesty, most spats between spouses are nothing more than a battle of egos. These tend to be a little easier to concede to as time goes one. The big fights, the ones where we say and are told things we’ll regret for the rest of our lives, are the ones where practicing forgiveness can be especially hard, but even more necessary. I heard a quote once, and I will paraphrase it, but it goes something like this, “Love me when I deserve it, and love me more when I don’t.” That’s the key to a successful marriage. That’s the magic formula. Learn to forgive. Over and over and over and over again. Now look, I’m not suggesting that you become a punching bag for a person that is a chronic cheater or physically abuses you. That’s way beyond the scope of this blog, and I don’t have the credentials to counsel on topics that heavy. All I am suggesting is that we all master the art of forgiving the little things in a marriage that in the grand scope of things don’t really matter.
Later that day, we passed Mrs. “Leave him.” in the hallway leading to our room. 30 seconds later Mr. “Leave him.” raced past us, excusing himself, running to catch up to his wife. Like I said, people don’t change. My wife and I looked at each there and laughed. Been there. Done that. Tami is usually the one down the hall, and I’m usually the one sprinting up to her. Why aggravate yourself focusing on the small things about your spouse you can’t control? Life will throw plenty of curveballs at you, and when you’re spending all your time & energy tearing down your spouse trying to change them, it’ll be harder to put up a common front when times do get tough-and they will. Believe me they will.
The next day we caught up with that same couple in the game room playing billiards, happy as can be. I walked up to them and introduced myself and told them that we were on the same glass bottom boat tour as them and that his entrance on the boat was epic. My wife introduced herself to the Mrs. and expressed her approval of how she handled her husband and how much she could relate with her. We all laughed.
“How long have you been married?” I asked.
“30 years. How about you guys?” he questioned.
“15 years.” I answered, “What’s your secret?”
“Well, being that you guys have been married that long, I thing you guys already know the answer to that question, but for us it’s this: go home. No matter how big the fight. Now matter how big the problem, you always go back home to each other. And lastly, just commit. No matter what happens you guys stay committed to each other. People ask me this question all the time, and I tell them – just do it. It’s that simple. Just do it.”
Who would’ve thought that a Nike slogan could apply to a marriage as easily as it does to a sport? Just do it. Just. Do. it.
We live in a day and age where divorce is the parachute, the escape pod, and the ejector seat. Again, there are certain circumstances where divorce is absolutely necessary. I get it, but when you divorce simply because you’ve gotten sick of each other, you bring your same habits, both good and bad, to a new relationship that may or may not appreciate them just the same. No human being is perfect. We are all flawed. The only difference is that when you are in the dating or honeymoon phase, you overlook your partner’s quirks way more than you do when you are forced to be with them every day all day.
I love and appreciate the fact that my wife schedules 1-2 vacations per year for just us-no kids. It gives us a chance to reconnect and overcome hurdles together. I’ve never gone an any vacation that didn’t have a little drama, and having to deal with this little bit of drama together, as a team, reminds me of how much I appreciate and love her.
Just. Do. It.