I don’t think there is a word or phrase for something I celebrated recently. For lack of a better term, I’m coining the phrase, “Marriage Midpoint.”
What does that even mean?
Well, December 6, 2013 marks the day that I’ve been married to my wife as long as I hadn’t been married to her. Stating it another way, I got married when I was 22 years, 1 month and 25 days old. As of December 6th, I’ve been married for 22 years, 1 month and 25 days.
It’s kind of freaky to think that I’ve spent as much time being married as not being married. My childhood seems to have lasted a long time, yet the years I’ve been married have flown by.
My wife has a theory about this. When you are four years old, a year is 25% of your life—therefore a year is a long time. When you are 40 years old, a year is only 2.5% of your life, so it can seem like a shorter period of time.
Certainly my wife and I have lasted longer than the average marriage in America. That hasn’t been by chance.
Yes, my wife and I have a lot in common, but there are a lot of things which we see differently. Often those differences have helped each of us to grow.
When we got married, my parents-in-law wrote one big word in our wedding card: “COMMUNICATE!” And it was great advice. Over the years, we’ve learned that some forms of communication work better than others.
One that is especially effective is the use of “I” statements as opposed to “You” statements. For example, it is better to say, “I felt frustrated when you kept changing your mind about where you wanted to go for dinner” than to say, “You are so frustrating and indecisive!”
Another thing we’ve learned to do which helps our relationship is to allow the other person to take the lead on something they feel strongly about.
Let me explain.
Say that my wife wants to paint the kitchen. She has some colors in mind, and asks for my opinion. She is the one that uses the kitchen more than I do, so as I look at the colors she’s picked out and I share which ones I like or don’t like as much, I keep in mind that basically unless it is something that really bothers me (like neon pink) I’m going to let her take the lead and go with what she likes. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. In fact, it can mean the opposite: it means that I care enough to support her on her decision.
The point? Couples don’t have to agree 100% on every little detail.
Lastly, the power of positive comments and selfless acts go a long way. I’m constantly telling my wife how beautiful she is. She’s constantly telling me that she loves me. In fact, whenever we leave to go our separate directions, we always tell each other, “I love you! Have a good day!”
Some people may think that saying “I love you” so much will make it lose its power and impact. However, after more than 22 years, I can honestly say that the opposite is true.