Angela and I have been married for forty-four years. We have gone through a lot together. We were young when we got married. I was nineteen years old and fresh out of high school. Angela was sixteen years old and in her junior year of high school. Getting married at such a young age stacked the deck against us. In fact many people said our marriage wouldn’t last. Here we are, forty-four years later and more in love now than ever. It has been tough at times and we have had our struggles. I can honestly say if I had a choice to do it all over, I would marry her again. I made a lot of mistakes and I learned a lot. One of the major things that we did correct to help us was to involve God in our marriage. The Bible says in Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” -NIV
I have always tried to treat her like the queen of my life. I constantly tell her how beautiful she is. If we go to an event where other people are involved, and as we are driving back home, I say to her, “you were the most beautiful woman in the room tonight.” I want her to feel special and important. Because to me she is the most important person in my life. It’s amazing how effective positive affirmations are. If you tell your spouse how lovely and special they are, over time they will begin to believe it. Once they start to believe what you are telling them, magic happens. They have confidence in themselves because they know that they are loved and appreciated.
Early on we made a promise not to embarrass each other in public. If we disagreed on something or were tempted to argue in public, we put it on hold and discussed it in private. We didn’t air our dirty laundry. We have disagreed at times and had our share of arguments, BUT it was done in private. It’s important in marriage not to humiliate your spouse in front of others. That will destroy a marriage. That practice kills all credibility and respect for each other.
One mistake that I made early on and soon corrected was that I wanted my wife to act like me. In other words, I wanted her personality to be like mine. How foolish is that thinking. I fell in love with my wife because of her own unique personality. How selfish it was for me to want her to act and be like me. I soon got over myself and I enjoy our differences. Don’t get me wrong, it is important for spouses to have fundamental agreed upon values in common, but it is healthy to have different views on various issues and opposite personality traits. For example, my wife likes to work behind the scenes and would never get in front of a big crowd and give a speech. I am just the opposite; I am up front and feed off speaking in big crowds. We complement each other beautifully.
I believe another area to build up your social element of success in your marriage is to become involved in the interests of your spouse even if you don’t particularly like some of their interests. For example, I remember when we first got married and I would accompany my spouse on one of her shopping trips. I would try to rush her and wondered why she would shop in a store for an hour and not buy anything. When I go shopping I know what I want. I walk in the store and either find a clerk to help me or I have researched the item and know where it is located and proceed to grab it, hit the cash register and I am out of there. Not my wife. She goes in and picks up a particular item, looks it over, smells it, shakes it, examines it thoroughly and many times puts it down. Especially if it is not the right price. She walks around and browses and repeats the process with other products. This could take an hour or so. I am in the background shaking my head or playing on my phone.
My shopping life changed when I decided one day many years ago to change my attitude. I started to look at Angela’s shopping from a different perspective. I realized that my wife enjoyed the process of shopping. I have always been concerned with the goal of finding what I was looking for and getting out of the store in record time. I started thinking how much she enjoyed the process, so I decided to enjoy shopping with her because it made her happy. It didn’t matter to her if she bought anything, what was important to her was the journey of looking. Now we both shop together and I am involved in the process by picking up things to smell them, shake them, examine them thoroughly, and most of the time putting them back on the shelf. Man, I have come a long way and I truly enjoy shopping with her now because it gives her satisfaction. There is an old saying, If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I enjoy making mama happy.