What I learnt from 20 years of marriage
Marriage is like a very long project.
You need to have shared goals, celebrate milestones and keep looking at what is working and what isn’t. It’s hard work and needs your commitment. It needs to keep being fun in order for you to want to keep working on it!
In 20 years, you change, your partner changes, hopefully you change together. It’s a continuous improvement project that lasts a life time.
You must keep looking to the future, have shared goals. Have your own goals and aims too! Be excited for each other – it’s not a competition.
Share the load - tag team between yourselves - when one is doing better or one needs more support. Sometimes you need to travel, sometimes your partner does, sometimes you earn more, sometimes your partner does. That’s OK. Get help from wherever you can get it.
Understand your roles you have - father / mother / travel dad / dishwasher / cook / clothes buyer - carve it up and do your part. It can save a lot of arguments!
Attend to your own oxygen mask first – otherwise there is nothing left to give. Don’t automatically expect your partner to entertain you / rescue you / fix you. You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, emotional state and happiness.
Keep learning and don’t get stuck in your ways. After 20 years there is a danger that you stop listening, and make assumptions about what your partner wants, what they think and what they do. Check in and understand where they are at now.