Jul 092015 8 Responses

Jenny’s List (and My Commentary) of What Makes a Marriage Work

Last month in honor of our 15th wedding anniversary, I made a list of 15 Tips for a Better Marriage. As I wrote the article, I asked Jenny to make her own list of 15 things she believed were important when it comes to marriage.

Below is her list. However, I couldn’t just let her write her own post, so I have included my commentary. Her list is in bold, my commentary follows each point.

Jenny’s List

Year 1.   When the frequent flyer miles and free time is there, take three honeymoons. Jenny was in trade show marketing when we first got married which means she traveled a lot. Since I was in school, I had the opportunity to travel with her several times during our first year. While I hated her being gone, it was fun to travel with her. As an added bonus, I was able to tell people my wife was a traveling exhibitionist. (See: The Easiest Way to Rejuvenate Your Marriage)

Year 2.   Don’t pick a fight with someone who’s been taught pastoral counseling—they use all that “I feel” language and you’ll never win. I feel as though she is downplaying her communication ability. Conflict is only useful in a marriage when both win which is what I hope happens when we have a disagreement. Of course after a lengthy discussion in which “I feel” a lot, she has made it quite clear she will not be “feeling” anything that night.

Year 3.   Compete on the same team during game night & mixed doubles tennis—opposite teams lead to opposite beds. We are two competitive people. The worst fight we ever had was following a game of Mafia at a church function. I told her I wasn’t the assassin and she boldly proclaimed, “I know when Kevin is lying and he isn’t.” Except that I was. I thought we were playing a game. She thought I was telling the truth. And from that night forward we agreed to never compete against one another.

Year 4.   When you buy a house, make sure it comes with great neighbors (or in-laws) next door. This is Jenny’s kind way of giving thanks that for the first nine years of marriage we had a kind neighbor who tried to teach me to be man. For the last six years we’ve had my mom next door helping with kids.

Year 5.   When the unexpected arrives, make sure your foundation is strong. And the unexpected will arrive so don’t wait on building your foundation. (See: When Life Hurts–Show Me How to Treat You)

Year 6.   It’s OK to live one day at a time—sometimes it’s the only way to move forward. In times of crisis I want all the information now. Jenny only wants the information needed for today. So I research, but only tell her what she wants to know. In most family matters, I’m in charge of tomorrow and Jenny is in charge of today.

Year 7.   You can survive on less sleep but it requires more grace from your husband. I laugh when soon-to-be parents think their sleep patterns will only be disrupted for a few weeks. Our favorite way to settle who gets up with a kid is rock/paper/scissors. Nothing tests your honesty as having to admit you have paper after your wife has already said she has scissors when it is pitch black and 2am.      

Year 8.   When you think your capacity for loving your husband and child is at its bounds, there’s still room more. Before Silas was born, we wondered how we could love another child as much as we loved Ella. Of course our love expanded, but not just for the new child but also for each other.

Year 9.   There’s only room for two to sleep comfortably in a king-sized bed. Thankfully we are on the same page on the no kids in bed policy. I don’t judge other couples for allowing kids or dogs to sleep with them; I just think they are crazy.

Year 10. Vacations without kids make you appreciate each other (and your kids, and the family members who keep them) more. Can we go somewhere now?

Year 11. Work and raising kids is exhausting, so team up to make it easier instead of harder. Partnership? Someone should write a book about that in marriage. Who might be working on that? (See: Partnership–When Dad Works and Mom Stays at Home)

Year 12. If laughter has left, go find it and bring it back. Apparently I lost my funny around 2009. I’m still looking for it. Thankfully we find things we can laugh about together.

Year 13. Risk-taking and roller coasters are not for the weak, so having a partner who can cheer with you and cry with you is essential. I don’t do roller coasters, but I’m okay with the occasional risk, especially when the risk means I’m betting on Jenny.

Year 14. Exploring new territory rejuvenates the relationship. I think she is talking about hiking here.

Year 15. Fifteen years of waking up next to someone who asks what they can do for you nearly every day is a great way to live life (and make your friends jealous). I ask on most days; Jenny just does a thousand things for me without asking nearly every day. (See: Wake Up Every Day and Consider How to Make Her Dreams Come True)

8 Responses to Jenny’s List (and My Commentary) of What Makes a Marriage Work
  1. d Reply

    An overdose of God’s Love is demonstrated in both parts of this experiment!

  2. […] Plate tectonics not only explains earthquakes, it serves as a good explanation of marriage—immense... kevinathompson.com/how-to-handle-friction-in-marriage
  3. Nikki Reply

    I love your list, Jenny.
    Peas and carrots… ;-*

  4. […] Today is the day. Fifteen years ago at Jenny’s house, she walked down the aisle in her front y... kevinathompson.com/15-tips-for-a-better-marriage
  5. […] 1. The average person doesn’t know what it takes to make marriage work. We live in a culture ... kevinathompson.com/criticize-your-marriage
  6. George Reply

    I like your list Jenny. You are very wise.

  7. Patti Kimbrough Reply

    Great read!

  8. […] There will be heartbreak, but in a strange way those might be the moments you look back on with the ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/had-i-known-twenty-years-ago

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