Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

Next week I celebrate 31 years of marriage to the same guy. This may not make me an expert on marriage but I think it does qualify for a little advice-giving when it comes to keeping a partner happy. So here, in no particular order, are 13 ways to please (and keep) your mate.

Us as old people

1. Listen. It is important to hear what your significant other is saying. Sometimes a person simply wants to be heard, to spout off, to get things off of his/her chest. They don't need advice.

2. Give advice if asked, and don't be offended if they don't heed it. Remember, you and your partner are separate individuals functioning as a unit, but the individuality still exists.

3. Respect the other person. Don't make fun of his/her ideas, thoughts, efforts, whatever.

4. Compliment your significant other. It is quite easy to tear one another down, but building up is better. Tell him/her they look nice occasionally, that you like a haircut, that you are pleased with something they did.

5. Keep complaints to a minimum (try not to nag). Keep the annoyances to yourself. I know it can be frustrating to have to keep picking up socks or cleaning the sink or whatever your pet peeve is, and it is okay to mention it every now and then in hopes the other will understand that this is important to you. But if he/she doesn't get the message, don't take it to heart.

6. Be interested in what your partner does. Ask about his/her day. As questions about what he/she is involved in, ask him to explain why he made a certain decision or how it impacted the project or whatever.

7. Touch one another. I really think Americans are a touch-starved lot, we've all got that Biblical Puritan Ethic thing going on that means you can't kiss or express physical affection and it appears to be deeply ingrained in our society. My husband and I hold hands while we watch TV, we hug every day, we kiss one another on top of the head. Give your loved one a foot massage, or a hand massage, or a shoulder massage.

8. Be individuals. You don't have to like the same things. If he doesn't like minty fresh toothpaste, then have two tubes of toothpaste and give him what he likes.

9. Don't have extended periods where you're angry with one another. Being married to a man who is involved in three different dangerous occupations (firefighter, farming, and construction), I learned a long time ago not to let things linger. I don't want something to happen and know that our last conversation was an argument over something insignificant. We have been known to be late for work or appointments in order to settle a difference before heading out. It really is that important.

10. Be friends. I think it is very important that you be friends with the person you live with and are in love with. Apparently you can be in love with someone and not be friends with them, but I really don't see how that could work out in the long run. Sometimes love waxes and wanes, but if you are friends then you can work through it.

11. Mind your manners. With family, it is easy to slip into a mode where you don't say please and thank you. But I think it is even more important to say these to people you love and care about. Why wouldn't you? Acknowledgement in a kind way is always good.

12. Choose your fights. It is important to know what is worth fighting over. You can fight about every little thing if you want to, but all that does is erode the relationship. Pick your battles and leave the arguing to the things that really matter. If something doesn't make any difference five years from now, it probably isn't worth the words.

13. Discuss money and financial matters and settle on something you can both live with, and stick to it. Early in our marriage, we agreed that any unnecessary purchase over $100 had to be discussed with the other. As time has passed, that number has grown a bit, but we still discuss major purchases of any kind with one another. 

What advice would you offer to keep a relationship going?

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 369th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. We hold hands while watching tv too and have an agreement to be honest and air what's going on internally even when it's hard because that's how you can start to get past it. Joe and I have lived together 26 years, married 17 of them.

  2. I totally agree with everything on the list. I would note, however, that although it's very bad to be angry for very long, it's quite possible to go years with minor annoyances. Mine has hearing issues which can make all kinds of things harder because sometimes there isn't a whole lot of listening going on.

  3. Such good advice. Happy anniversary! My T13

  4. Awesome advice!! Happy Anniversary! We are coming up on 24 years together (married 19 of them).

  5. Well, we will celebrate 30 years in May. I agree with all of your points and can't think of a thing to add. Certainly trust and respect are at the top of the list, and those two things are apparent in each of your points!

  6. Excellent advice. Been married 26 years here. Happy Anniversary to you both!


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