No couple started their marriage wishing that it would end someday, even if they know deep down inside that it would eventually do, it’s the farthest thing from their minds.
Marriage is about commitments, hopes, and dreams. A dream that everyone hopes to God would never end.
Maybe it won’t last forever, but it’s possible to make it last a very long time. So, why do some couples fail while others fulfill their vows of “growing old with you”?
1. Keep your foundations strong
If you’re married, then let’s hope that you love and trust each other. There are still arranged marriages in this day and age, so if you’re in one of those, it’s so much more important to build a solid foundation.
Ironically, just like all foundations, when the building is done, the interior is finished, and the furnishings are in place, it fades to the background. Over time, love may just be background noise, but a foundation is still a foundation, once it’s gone then you’re living in a house of cards.
So stay in love. It was a long time ago, but there is a reason why you fell in love with the person you married. Constantly remind each other of those reasons. Keep Dating regularly, stay spontaneous, and show affection.
Do the same with your children, don’t be afraid to dote on your children, there will come a time when the kids will find it tacky, but you can still show your love by supporting their dreams and hobbies.
2. Live, work, and play together
Couples that stayed together for a long time literally stayed together. They went ahead to even share their hardships and triumphs. They supported each other’s careers, helped each other even on trivial tasks, and enjoy doing the same things.
There are no secrets. Their partner is the first to know everything. There is no finger pointing, castigations, and incriminations. Each little victory and set-back are the couple’s equal responsibility.
Successful couples live their lives as one unit.
They are not two people going in two different directions sleeping in the same bed. Each one knows what the other is doing and does all that they can to help. That’s what it means to be married. It’s like walking the same path, at the same time, together.
A lot of modern couples marry, move in together, and go on with their lives like they are just roommates with benefits. If you’re living your lives this way, then your not really married. You are just two people who decided to save expenses by cohabitating and raise children in your free time.
You don’t need to marry to live together, and you definitely don’t need to get married to have children. A marriage is a whole different level than living in the same house (you don’t even need to, -support the troops) and raising kids. It is a promise, a commitment, a legal contract, one that says, I will form a family with you, and give it everything I have and I expect you to do the same.
Do you remember the feeling and dedication of giving something everything you have? If you can’t picture that in your head, you shouldn’t be married.
3. Money is important, but it’s not a goal
People who never had money problems come up with cheeky lines like “Money doesn’t buy happiness” or ” Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it.” I agree that money won’t make you happy, but it does prevent misery.
It takes money to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, and clean yourself up. It costs money to raise children too young to feed themselves. If you can’t do any one of those, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be happy.
This is not a blog on how to make money so we will not tackle that, but what money does is best described by President Obama.
“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.”
So prioritize money only when you don’t have any. Nobody died wishing they spent more time earning more of it. Instead, prioritize your time building something with your family. A lot of millionaires will tell you that money is a byproduct of success. They are right. Money just buys gasoline for the trip. It is not the goal of life itself.
So you should have a personal goal and a family goal. Your partners and children should have some too. All the goals should go in the same direction. It will not work if you want to spend your life feeding street children and your spouse wants to study penguins in Antarctica.
Someday you’re going to have a huge argument about which one is more important, and nobody is going to win.
It’s obvious if you want to stay together, then on the journey of life, you should both have the same destination.
4. Your life no longer belongs to you
People who served in the Military understand this best. A life of service means everything you do, should benefit the one you serve. You do this expecting to lay down your life, but you gain skills to prevent it just so you can continue to serve tomorrow.
It’s a mindset, a culture, and a difficult but rewarding lifestyle.
In case you didn’t understand your marriage vows, you just entered a life of servitude. This is why Catholic Priests are not allowed to get married. It’s also the reason why most cultures do not allow polygamy.
When you get married, you just didn’t hope and dream of growing old with you and your spouse. You also pledged to serve your spouse and do everything you can to make them happy for the rest of your life.
It is not a simple promise of sexual fidelity.
Until the time comes where you are ready to do “whatever it takes,” and not “when it’s convenient” to make your spouse happy and be happy yourself while doing it, then you are on a short side trip or a long stressful ride.
Looking on the bright side, all the stress will make “growing old with you” come a whole lot faster.
But if you want to grow old together and be happy. Then serve. You already pledged to do it.