Today, we celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.  In some ways, I can hardly believe I’ve been married 16 years. In other ways, I can’t really remember what my life was like before Danny.  I’ve learned many things in our journey together as a married couple.  We were only kids when we tied the knot, naive and clueless, but eager to love.  Today, we are older and wiser, accepting of each other’s flaws and all, and loving each other regardless.  I’m sharing with you 16 things I’ve learned in my marriage.  Some I’ve learned the hard way, and some have been advice from loved ones.  All of them are tried and true.   

1. Try to outdo each other in kindness.  That way you focus on the positive.

2. Always communicate with your spouse.  My husband knows me better than anyone else.

3. When you’re right, shut up. When you’re wrong, apologize immediately. It ends an argument more quickly, and that means less damage in the meantime.

4. Despite what the experts say, it’s OK to go to bed angry. (Would we ever sleep if we didn’t ?) Your spouse knows your buttons and can piss you off like no other. Sometimes some distance — like 8 hours of sleep — can change perspective for each of you.

5. Your spouse isn’t going to change. The things that annoy you about him (or her) when you are dating will just get worse and become more and more annoying. Be ready for it, and be willing to love him (or her) the way he (or she) is.

6. Compliment more than criticize.  We all know our faults, it’s nice to hear positive things more often than not.

7. Always make time for the two of you.  We have date night at least once a month.  After all, he (or she) will be all that’s left after the kids leave home, and you want to still be friends.

8. Your spouse will be “unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love (him or her) anyway.” -Mother Theresa

9. Tell your spouse you love him (or her) more often than you think you need to. Sure he (or she) knows it, but what’s the harm in making someone feel super loved. No one ever died of being loved too much.

10. When your spouse gets unreasonably upset about something, there’s probably something else going on. He (or she) is probably really troubled about something totally unrelated. Be the mature one and hear him (or her), rather than complain that he (or she) is “blowing things out of proportion.” You’ll end up supporting him (or her) instead of fighting.

11. A well-timed hug can solve a multitude of problems, as can simple acts like unloading the dishwasher or downloading a spouse’s favorite song for him (or her.) In the whole scheme of things, it’s the little stuff that means the most. The everyday, sort of boring stuff, that matters.

12. Keep a firm boundary around your relationship. Couples share a lot, and there’s lots that only they do or get or understand. You’re sort of a separate entity together as a couple; protect that.

13. Treat your spouse as well as you would a stranger. Say thank you and please. Often, people will be so polite to the cashier at the grocery store, but never think of saying “thank you” or “please” to the person they love the most. Do it. All the time.

14.  Laugh often with each other, and sometimes don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

15.  Before starting an argument consider if it’s really worth it. And fight fair, and no name-calling or cursing.

16. Pray together, and when you are apart, for each other. 

Happy Annivesary, my love.  Sixteen years or sixty, your love is my treasure and I will never throw that away.  I love you with all my heart.