Marriage Advice After 20 Years
Jun 2016
02

Marriage Advice After 20 Years of It

Last week, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Many people say this, but it feels like just yesterday *and* forever ago – all at the same time.

We married here in Denver, a little while after we moved and it’s fun to think about how young and optimistic we were then. We may be more cynical and jaded now, but in many ways, we still work on our marriage just as hard as day one. Some things get easier over the years, some harder. For example – we literally have talked about everything. What is there left to say after all this time?

Well, for one, we recently chatted about how we make our marriage work so I could write one of these condescending posts about it.

Look… We know every marriage is different. We’ve seen some couples split for reasons I could not explain, and people stay together for no good one.

No judgements here, just some suggestions from two goofballs who still lean on each other as heavily now as they did two decades ago.


Our Best Marriage Advice

dancing

Laugh

If you have met us, you know this is rule one through one hundred. Bryan makes me laugh more than anyone else, and it sees us through just about everything.

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Talk

Generally, I am the one to shut down, but it does no good. Clear the air. Try not to go to bed mad. Check in with each other. It’s better to have silence because you have said it all rather than things left unsaid.

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No Bad Mouthing

This means if you are fighting, no one knows it. Don’t speak ill of your partner in public, or in front of the kids, unless it’s very clear you are teasing.

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Get Organized

We have tricks for all our communications. Sign language for “potty” from across the room at a bar (leftover from when Dex was a baby). A “tentative” calendar to put events in that we need to discuss together before accepting. Lists for everything. Official family meetings. We do it all.

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In Sickness and Health

We have learned this the hard way with me. Being really sick is really, really, really hard on a marriage. But it also makes you realize what is most important.

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No Secrets

We’ve had family members say, “don’t tell Aimee.” However, Bryan has declared anything you say to him, he may tell me. Which helps with…

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No Lying

Both of us are really bad at it anyway.

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Do Your Thing

We find things to do together always, but we also make sure we find our own fun. Pottery and concert photography for me, kayaking and virtual reality for Bryan.

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Have A Support System

It may be family or friends, but your spouse cannot be all things for you. Have a girlfriend you can vent about work with. Tell your mom about how bad the kids were that day. There is plenty to go around.

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Expect the Unexpected

Ten years ago, I would never have guessed that I would be a freelance web designer right now. But opportunities presented themselves and we seized them to make our lives better.

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Benefit of The Doubt

This one is tough, but always try to remember your spouse has your best intentions in mind. I often jump to conclusions – the wrong ones – and have worked hard to remind myself that Bryan didn’t mean it the way I thought.

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Stay Out Of It

Some things are just none of your business. If Bryan and Dex are arguing, and I wasn’t there from the beginning – I leave it alone. No need to muddy the water.

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Assign Tasks

Sure, I didn’t just assume Bryan would rake the leaves because he’s the guy. I asked him to because I hate doing it. In fairness, I am in charge of the bills and taxes.

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No Grudges

Either get it out and over with or let it go.

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Be Grateful

We often list off what we appreciate in life at meals and random family outings. A young friend passed away recently and we found out that she kept a journal with just one thing every day she was grateful for. It’s amazing how quickly they stack up when you start thinking about it.

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Balance Today and Tomorrow

Work on your budget, career plans, needs for the kids, all of that – together. Save money, have life and health insurance. Become adults together. But don’t forget to drop everything… Be spontaneous, silly and in the moment.

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Keep on The Same Path

Marriage is work. Every single day. You have to try to stay together. Again, I do not mean to imply people who are divorced didn’t try hard enough. But people in happy, healthy marriages most certainly DO try… a lot.


There you have it. Our best tips.

What advice do you have for relationships?

Marriage Advice (After 20 Years of It) #relationships #advice #marriage

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10 comments

  1. Lisa Jensen

    Great list! We also laugh alot.

  2. I seem to remember early on when we were making this list we both mentioned drinking. Must not have made the final cut. Oh well. Maybe for the 40th it will rank higher.

    • Aimee

      Pretty sure alcohol is implied in most of these photos.

      • Cheryl

        I love this! You two are fantastic and an awesome couple.

  3. anne

    possibly my favorite post of yours ever… you know i admire you both and the work you put into your marriage. you’ve done it well.

  4. meghann

    My favorite story to tell people is the story when we were newly married and went to see my great-grandparents. I need to preface this by saying my great-grandfather was a tall man with a big personality, and a huge deep booming voice. Think southern preacher booming. (legit southern preacher, not televangelist.) My great-grandmother was his opposite. A tiny woman with a sweet quiet voice.

    We were sitting there, the first time my husband met them. We had been married all of two months. My great-grandfather turned to my husband in his big booming voice, and said “We’ve been married 68 years, think you can make it???” My husband paled a bit, and his eyes went wide, but then my great-grandmother piped up in her soft voice. “You just take it one day at a time, dear.”

    My great-grandparents made it to almost 72 years married before they both passed away. My husband and I are now at 17 years’ worth of one day at a times. It was seriously the best advice about marriage I ever received.

    • Aimee

      Love this story and it’s so true!

  5. Keep on the same path – that’s the most critical one. Thank you for sharing! Great advice!

  6. Ben Dearfiend

    Great advice. Happy anniversary!