34 Things I’ve Learned in 34 Years of Marriage
Our 30th anniversary in 2009
August 10, 1979
1. Marriage does not mean total togetherness. We spent more time together courting than we really ever do in the day to day of making a living and running a household.
2. I think men are pretty easy to please. They want to be praised when they do something well, they want to be taken care of when they are sick, they want someone to listen when they have an idea or need to talk, they want a reasonably well kept home, decent meals and sex.
3. I use to worry that sex would get boring over time. But really having one partner who knows from experience what I like, and vice versa has made it anything but.
4. I had cold feet before the wedding, but talked myself into going through with the wedding because I thought Mr. Pete would be a great dad. Mr. Pete is a great dad!! He is the best gift I ever could have given my children.
5. I think I really did end up marrying my grandpa. The older Mr. Pete gets the more he has become like my grandfather, friendly, self-reliant, dependable, works hard, great sense of humor, active in the church etc. etc. Did I know that when I married him or did he become that as time went on? I don’t know, but the similarities between them are amazing to me.
6. It’s best if you can forget your arguments. This is a true story. One day a friend of Pete’s came over while we were having a squabble. It was summer time and the windows were open. The friend heard us and just drove away. Pete had this conversation the next day at work:
Friend: “I came over last night but I didn’t come in.
Pete: “Why didn’t you come on in!?”
Friend: “You were having a terrible fight with your wife. I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do? Do you want to talk about it?”
Pete: “We had a fight?”
Then Pete called me and asked what we fought about. I honestly couldn’t remember that we even had a fight! I imagine as we get old and our memory spans decrease further we’ll forget even quicker!
7. Some things never change and so they aren’t worth fighting about. I always add 30 to 60 minutes to the time Mr. Pete says he will be home. If he says 6:00, I know he means 7:00. That has cut down on a lot of arguments.
8. Sometimes I think what causes strife in a marriage is failure to have the same priorities. When Mr. Pete started his business there was a big discrepancy in our priorities. Things are better now, but I wished we had merged our priorities before he took that big step.
9. Money issues can cause more problems in a marriage than anything else.
10. Sharing our faith has helped us to bond our marriage even more. We are Catholics. We live a Catholic liturgical year with all of the feasting and fasting. Those memories and events help to bind us.
11. The way hospitals and modern obstetrics treat men in the delivery room is a joke. When Mr. Pete really educated himself on childbirth and pregnancy, he was a lot more helpful than the assigned hospital staff. I can’t imagine having a baby without him being there.
12. Loss can be a blessing or a curse to a marriage. We have survived loss of jobs, loss of parents, loss of a child. We survived it by being kind to each other when feelings and emotions were so tender.
14. Trying to keep your husband fit can be as difficult as getting your own body fit. Maybe harder without his cooperation!
15. Praying together can be a lot more intimate than sex. Baring your soul before your spouse and your God at the same time I think is harder to do than sleeping together.
16. It’s easier to suffer yourself than to see your spouse or your kids suffer.
17. Money really doesn’t buy happiness.
18. It’s nice to have enough to pay the bills though.
19. One of the most exciting times in our marriage so far was when we were re-learning our Catholic faith together.
20. I love having a shared history. Mr. Pete knows all of my stories, all of my history and I know all of his. We can speak in shorthand about it to each other. It’s wonderful to know that he really does know what I’m talking about!
21. Little boys really do need a father figure around. Pete is so much better at understanding what our teenage sons are thinking and feeling. He keeps me from over mothering them.
22. Little girls need to hear how their daddy loves them and thinks they are pretty. I missed that with my dad and I realized that more and more as I see Mr. Pete be there with his little girls.
23. One of the hardest things about knowing each other so long is to remember that my spouse has grown and developed just as I have. I have to remember he’s not the same guy I married, nor would I want him to be. He can speak with authority because he has earned it. He gives me the same courtesy.
24. The most important phrase in a marriage is “I love you.”
25. The second most important phrase in a marriage is, “I’m sorry.”
26. I worry more about my gray hair, wrinkles and weight than Pete does. These are my hangups about my body. Mr. Pete never says anything about them unless it’s a complement.
27. There will be more bad times ahead.
This is a picture of Noah (or at least his foot) as he breaks into the house to let his poor befuddled parents and siblings into the house after we locked ourselves out!
28. A real man isn’t afraid of doing “girlie” stuff. He will watch a chick flick and even brush back a tear or two at the sad parts. He will run out for sanitary napkins or tampons if I forget (and I should mention that when my need for such things ends, his daughters will start needing them and there may even be an overlap! And I know Mr. Pete will go to the store for us if we need him to without question!)
30. Children truly do not belong to you. As they get older some may be in total rebellion against everything you have taught them. You cannot let that strife negatively affect your marriage.
31. As the kids get older and older, mom’s role will diminish more and more – especially for boys.
32. Tell God your plans and He truly will smile! Our plans are fleeting at best.
33. I think as one gets older it becomes more and more helpful to realize that God is in control – we’re not. Pete and I support each other in what’s to come instead of fretting about it and that really has become more of a comfort to us both.
34. There will be more good times too. Our marriage has been tested many times. I have faith that our marriage will survive the times to come.
Copyright 2013 Elena LaVictoire