Creating a “Stronger Version” of our unity
Today, my wife, Elaine, and I celebrate our 15th year wedding anniversary! 15 years! I came across the following quote yesterday and it seems very applicable to our relationship:
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
I am happy to admit that I have fallen in love with my wife many times during our journey!
I'm a big believer in reinventing for the better. Whether that is with products, business or one self…your “next version” awaits and how you accept the change will determine whether your next version will make you a stronger person. They say when you marry, “two shall become one”. As such, a marriage shall also evolve into new and improved versions.
I believe that each new version of our marriage has added to my falling in love even more with my wife. By working at the marriage together, and never even considering that it is anything BUT a partnership, together we continue to make a “stronger” version of ourselves and our marriage. Saying it's been easy and without any struggles would be a lie, however. Of course we've had our struggles, but we've worked on them together. And more importantly, we've treated our disasters as incidents, and never treated our incidents as disasters.
Before we were married, we participated in a Marriage Encounter weekend through the Catholic Church. The purpose of this weekend was to prepare us for the sacrament of marriage. During this, we heard the following concept that has stuck with us throughout. It's as enlightening today as it was then. Basically, the concept goes like this:
There's a ladder to Heaven and throughout our life, you take a step towards heaven. Sometimes, you may slip and go down a couple of steps, but the goal is to make it to the top at the end. As with using a ladder in any a tangible way, it needs to be supported so you don't fall. So, with a marriage, each spouse has the job to hold the ladder for each other. If we do not support our spouse, or metaphorically “hold the ladder” to heaven, then it will be much more difficult to climb to the top.
Everyone may have a different “Heaven” that they aspire to. If so, modify the concept above accordingly. The take-home message comes down to this: Support your spouse to become a “stronger version” of their previous self and in so doing, your marriage will become a “stronger version” of itself!
15 ways to “hold the ladder” for your spouse
In honor of our 15th year anniversary, below are 15 ways that we have held the ladder for each other. Give them a shot!
1. Support each other's dreams
We all have dreams, some are big, some are small. But we need to keep dreaming otherwise, you become complacent and, complacency is never good! Don't shoot down your spouse's dreams as being too far-fetched, rather support it. You never know, it may just come true!
2. Dream together with a Vision Board
To build upon #1, a vision board can be a fun activity, especially for those “crafty” individuals out there. Literally, get a poster board and paste photos of dreams you want to fulfill. It may be that sports car, the fancy house, the trip to Bora Bora, the PhD degree…you get the point. A vision board keeps things in front of you and helps to prevent complacency in your daily life.
3. Play together
Have fun with your spouse…play games, watch movies, walk on the beach. Whatever may be your fancy, do it with your spouse!
4. Pray together
Whatever your faith may be, practice it together. Even if your spouse has a different faith than yours, support each other's faith. Having no faith, is still a faith. Find a way to practice it together.
5. Laugh often
Laughter CANNOT be underestimated. Laugh often and laugh loudly. Accept your spouse's sense of humor, even if it may different than yours. You may not like the jokes or silly movie that your spouse likes, but listen and watch it anyways. Remember, you married the person and everything that came with him/her!
6. Be intimate anywhere and everywhere
Kiss your spouse. Hold and hug her or him anywhere. NEVER be too embarrassed to do so. This keeps the spark alive. Being intimate does not have to be left for the bedroom only. In fact, being intimate anywhere makes the intimacy in the bedroom that much better and intense!
7. Allow your children to witness your love
Like it or not, children copy their parents. Do you ant them to love each other and fall in love with a loving individual, then show them what that looks like by modeling it for them. One of our favorite things is when we are at home in the kitchen hugging and kissing and our kids see it and run into us for a “family hug”! It's one of the most satisfying things as parents!
8. Challenge each other
We all slip here and there. It may be a bad decision, a loss of patience with the kids, a setback, nonetheless. And, we may not realize that we've slipped! No one knows you better than you spouse, so when it happens, challenge your spouse to be better, to do the right thing.
9. Take time for yourself
I've always believed that you can't love someone else until you love yourself! And you can't love yourself until you've taken the time to nurture yourself. Recognize that and take the time for the bike ride, or for that long bath, or whatever your you desire, take the time to self-reflect and love yourself. More importantly, take every opportunity to encourage your spouse to do the same. Your marriage will be better as a result.
10. Celebrate the small things as much as the big things
There are going to be more small things happening during your marriage than big things. Why only celebrate after the the big things? Celebrate those small things equally…if anything, you'll get the practice and when the big things come, you can let it all out!
11. Argue fairly and with respect and, when needed, naked
There's no need for name-calling or being disrespectful in a marriage! Don't do it…nothing good can come from it, rather resentment will build! Instead, listen to the other's point. Don't just hear what they say, but LISTEN to what they say. There is no better place to receive constructive criticism than from your spouse. Arguments are inevitable, keep it to the point. Work through it. If you are up until 2AM in an argument, staying up until 3AM is not going to make a difference. Just go to sleep and deal with it in the morning. If the argument gets heated, then get naked. There is NO way to continue an argument when you're both naked! We've tried it, and just couldn't continue the argument! 🙂
12. Keep each other in check
This one goes with #8 above. If you notice that your spouse is going against what s/he stands for, or is committed to, then simply, and respectfully, remind them of their goals or commitments. Sometimes, you just need a “proverbial smack in the face” to snap out of it and get back on track.
13. Encourage healthy choices
If you're not making healthy choices in your food, activity levels or vices, then you cannot remain focused on your priorities. Be a healthy model to yourself, your spouse and your children so you can nurture a successful marriage and family. Nothing more to say here!
14. Compliment each other
Who doesn't want to hear a compliment! everyone wants to hear it, so make sure you compliment your spouse! It will make them feel appreciated, loved and beautiful! In so feeling that way, they will love you even more!
15. Find time to say “I Love You”…every day
Remember back to that special day when you promised to “love one another, until death do you part”. Remember that promise? Then do it and say it! Everyday! Speaking for myself, I love to hear it, and I don't feel right if I leave the house and don't get a chance to say it.
What are some of the things that you appreciate from your spouse?
This is a long list, but not all-inclusive. There are so many other little things that make me feel loved by my wife.
Please share in the comments below anything that your loved one does for you that makes you feel loved and appreciated.
I would love to hear from everyone who reads this article. Even more, with Valentine's coming up, pay it forward and please pass along this post to any of your family or friends who may appreciate the topic.
I am fueled by "Paying It Forward in Health" on this site.My main driver in creating this website, alongside my family, is to share our ongoing family health journey in hopes of encouraging others to have the health epiphany that we have been blessed to experience.
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