How To Stay Married

Tips for a happy marriage

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I have been very happily married to my husband for thirty-five years.  What makes a great marriage?  People ask that question all the time.  There is a simple answer.  Compromise.

The top ten ways to have a happy marriage

1.  Recognize that your partner’s happiness needs to be what makes you happy too.

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2.  Take an interest in what they care about.  I don’t love watching golf, but I have learned to aske questions about the game and have a greater understanding of golf.  He encourages my writing and helps edits my blogs.

3.  Spend time together, doing something you both enjoy.  When we first had children we tried to have a weekly date.  I used to tell him, “i don’t care if we just go out for a baloney sandwich, I just want time as a couple.”  Now that our children are adults, we love spending time traveling together.  Make it an adventure.

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4.  Divide household chores, but be willing to mix them up. My husband started cooking when he retired, and I started doing some gardening.  He still is better handling the bills, and I do a better job  cleaning than he does.

5.  Spend time apart.  I’m not suggesting you move out of your home but have interest outside of your home that doesn’t involve your partner.

6.  Agree to agree when it comes to discipline.  Presenting a united front is always the best approach when parenting children.  Kids like structure and rules, they can smell weakness.  When your children are young be a parent, not their friend.  If you do a good enough job Actually parenting when they are young, they will want to be your friend when they are adults.

7.  Make time for your love life.  I read somewhere once that greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.  Set an example of love and respect.

8.  Laugh together, at each other and with each other.  We’re not afraid to make fun of one another.  I know my bad driving is the likely cause of road rage in the state of Arizona and he knows that he doesn’t really need three navigation systems to get us somewhere.

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9.  Forgive one another, don’t hold onto grudges.  Sometime you have to agree to disagree, then drop the subject.

10.  Go though tough times.  LIfe usually makes this happen for all of us anyway, but it does strengthen your love. We have been at one another’s side for so many difficult times.  We have held each other up through sickness, stress and the death of our parents.  We have cried in each other’s arms and we both have always known that the love we have for each other carries us on.

I Am My Husband’s Apprentice

Why building a wall together will help you appreciate your differences.

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I am married to an engineer.  He fits the stereotype of an engineer.  The spreadsheets, the planning, the precise measurements, typical analytical mind, that’s him.  I on the other hand rely on instinct rather than logic or knowledge.  Being impulsive and flexible was an asset when teaching preschoolers.

Recently we decided (after much persuading by me) to put up a reclaimed barnwood wall.  I’ve seen them everywhere on television and in decorating magazines and thought it would look perfect in my dining room.  Greg, my husband needed to be convinced, but eventually I wore him down with the promise that I would help him with the entire job.  How hard could it be?  It’s just some rustic wood nailed up on the wall, right? Not exactly. This is where that engineer brain conflicted with my spontaneous style.

First stop was to pick up the barnwood.  We ended up picking boards from two different locations to get the colors and textures I wanted.  These were pretty rough boards, uneven, bowed, and various lengths and thickness.  Next, we visited Home Depot for goggles, ear protection,  liquid nails, nails for the nail gun and gloves.

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Driving hom with the barnwood, he looks happy now
With the supplies in hand we were ready to begin the project I thought.  Not exactly.  After watching a couple of YouTube videos we determined that we should paint the wall black before hanging the wood.  Back to Home Depot for more paint and then we begin.

Greg wanted to make sure every board had a smooth edge, so we ran them through the the joiner, a machine that takes small around of wood off of the outer edge of a board.  I wanted the design to look a certain way, so we laid all of the wood out on the garage floor in the pattern that looked best to me.  Greg would have been content with all gray wood, but I was not going for that.

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Beginning to lay our the pattern for the wood wall
While Greg was using the joiner I began painting the wall black.  Since nobody will see it my paint job was less than perfect, but served its purpose.  Basically, it hides the knots and holes in the wood from peaking through.  Once he was finished with the joining, I thought we would start slapping up the boards.  No such luck.  Greg meticulously measured and cut the boards for the bottom row.  He wanted to have three board, two board row combination but I convinced him that random lengths looks better.

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The wall is starting to come together
He was not happy that some of the boards were thicker than others, or that some were warped, very splintery or just plain ugly.  He originally wanted to run all of the boards through his planer so they would have a uniform thickness.  I helped pull a few boards through the planer, mumbling under my breath the entire time “how the hell is this rustic?” Eventually we came to a meeting of the minds and did it my way AND his way.  I was fine with him joining the edges of the boards, because that made him happy.  But I eventually put my foot down and said I like the imperfections with the various thickness of the boards.  He relented.  Together we cut boards to size.  I handed him the nail gun and any other requested tool.

For every row he used liquid nails, the nail gun and the level.  And chalk.  Why chalk you ask?  We needed chalk to mark the studs.  Greg has a stud finder but since he didn’t trust it completely, he had to nail into each presumed stud to ensure the stud finder was correct.

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Near the top of the arch we discovered the builder’s insert was not square, oh no!
I thought this job would take two days max.  It was closer to a week to completion.  I love how talented my husband is with his woodworking projects.  I am happy to give him my creative suggestions. But he can have the garage with the loud tools, splinters and sawdust everywhere.  I’m happy with my painting and giving him project design suggestions.