The flight to Dallas a few years ago, I sat on the plane next to a lovely woman, married twenty-three years.
We immediately struck up a conversation and at the forefront, of course, was the Happy Wives Club.
I told her about my book and how I traveled to 12 countries and 6 continents, interviewing couples married at least as long as she and her husband, to deduce the common denominator among the happiest ones.
As you can imagine, she then had a ton of questions.
She wanted to know as much as possible about what I’d discovered during my travels.
She then posed a marriage-related scenario and wanted to know my thoughts based on what I’d learned. ”When major stresses happen, how did the couples you interviewed handle that? What did they do differently?”
Teaming up and becoming a formidable foe of the challenge rather than allowing the problem to turn them against one another was the answer.
But it wasn’t just that. It was also a particular outlook.
So if you remember nothing else, here is the one thing to remember about your husband:
I shared with her how my husband and I, in all our years of marriage (thirteen now), have always concluded our phone calls with “I love you” and never walk out of the house without telling the other how much they are loved.
Yes, we’re corny and incredibly mushy but we also recognize the present moment is all we have.
In a post I wrote around the same time as that flight to Dallas, I posed the question: “What positive thing do you ‘know for sure’ about marriage?” This was the heartfelt response from a reader, Kristen:
“I lost my husband to cancer almost 2 years ago. We had a great marriage with all the ups and downs but with lots of love, laughter and hope for the future. I can say that you have to truly cherish your life together because there may be a day that comes when you are apart and you will want to be proud of your marriage and how you treated your spouse. I meet fellow widows/widowers that are haunted by their regrets and it is very difficult for them to recover and live life again.
“Wake up every morning, take an inventory of your life and be thankful for what you have. And tell your spouse that. Tell your spouse frequently that you love him/her. Tell him/her how much you love your life together. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. I think sometimes we forget that part and get caught up in life. One of the most basic human needs is to know that we are appreciated, special and loved- who better than to reaffirm that than your spouse?”