Communication~ After my first ex-wife and I divorced I realized that the blame wasn't all on her. Although we talked it was never about what we really felt and I never knew until it was to late. After my divorce I really learned to communicate and it only got better with time. My wife to had to truely learn how to communicate what she felt. It has smoothed every road and made our relationship so rewarding as we can share with each other.
Listen~ Although a part of communicating, I really listen to what my wife has to say. I even ask her about World of Warcraft which she loves and plays often. I on the other hand don't play and don't care to, but it is important enough for her. I would rather she share all of her joys with me then feel she has to go else where for someone to listen, even worse a stranger. A married couple is a couple after all.
Boundaries~ After my first marriage tanked, I though it was important to set boundries of what was to be considered acceptable and not. I set higher boundries on myself then my wife would set on me because I want no one to think that I can ever be anything but a faithful and loving husband. I am dedicated to my wife and in the end it really does payoff. But just the same simple boundries saves us from jealousy and petty fights.
Acceptance~ I accept my wife for everything she is. I love the whole package. Yeah there are rough spots, like I am much more of a neat freak then she is but if it means doing a bit more then my share of cleaning for a blissful marriage then that is fine by me because there is so many other things rewarding in the relationship.
Sharing~ My wife and I often talk about everything that we do during the day. We stay connected and this energizes us. I want to know all that is important to her.
Conflict Resolution~ My wife and I could have an easier life if either would accept not being as happy with what we do. She works full time, I own a store and she goes to college with changing schedules. I have had to change my schedule for her numerous times, but we always find a way even if it is difficult to do so.
Trust~ I trust my wife and our marriage bond. She trusts me even in difficult situations. A bond like trust is like no other. But since neither has ever broken the trust then we remain strong. We are both dedicated to the marriage but that is because we both have invested so much into it over the years.
Honesty~ I never lie to my wife, ever. Even when it comes to how she is dressed. Now that is not to say that I don't use tact, nor is that to say that I ever gave away government secrets either. But when it comes right down to it she knows she can count on my word for anything.
Dependable~ Stronger and more dedicated then a mailman I will do anything to keep my word and be my wife's white knight. If she needs someone I want her to know that it is me she can count on for anything. Just as an example I have helped her study for college often, let her practice drawing blood on me etc. I want her to turn to me if she needs someone knowing no one has been there more then her husband. Just the same I know that if I need her she is there for me. I don't ask her for much. However, she know if I say I need her help I really do and she is there.
Forgiveness~ Thankfully there are very few things the wife and I have to forgive but I think most of that is do to our bond. I do forgive her cleaning habits and I am sure there are things she overlooks for me. But to know that she is kind and empathetic is always helpful and I can feel safe going to her, being truthful and communicating anything to her.
Love~ I honestly love my wife. I love who and what I am. I love my family. I think all of these are important in a happy marriage.
Honor & Respect~ I never cut down my wife infront of family or friends. Not only do I have no reason to but it just undermines everything we have built. I would never say to others what i wouldn't say to her. To me there is no other woman I could be in love with more. Just the same she earns my respect ever day.
Intimacy~ We talk on the phone, pm each other, e-mail, e-cards, link our myspace accounts, leave cute notes, cuddle, watch movies together, date once a week, we always hold hands while we are out, never enter or leave the house without hugs and kiss mostly five or six times before we have to part and often random ones during the day. Touch is so important to our relationship.
Sexually~ Our sex life is good and private, but I will say even after all these years not only do I find her more attractive but I always get butterflies for her too.
Togetherness~ All intimacy doesnít have to be sexual in nature. Cuddling is the greatest way to bond. Sex often ends up in cuddling. You always save the best for last.
Faithfulness~ I have never cheated on my wife, never even though to. If I ever was temped that bad I would leave. I have never even though she had ever cheated. Cheating to me is a very bad thing and I could never do that to someone I love so much.
Companionship~ My wife is my friend one that know things no one else will ever know.
Cooperation~ I can't see how we would ever work together if we didn't cooperate at everything with our lives. Work, college, a store, and four kids. You have to be a team and stand together.
Compatibility~ Having the same likes and hobbies. Some call this the glue theory others the peanut butter theory. Compatibility can keep a relationship together. Both the wife and I are geeks in our own rite but hey what better of a bond.
Religion~ My wife and I share similar beliefs which helps. I saw what differing opinions had on my mother and father. It doesn't mean that it can't work but it helps.
Shared History~ My wife and I have different backgrounds but enough of it is the same to have empathy.
Friends~ Many of my friends are her friends or work with her. It helps because no one wants to break us up so they have a single buddy to go bar hopping with because then both would know and they'd likely loss one friend out of the deal.
Maturity~ I have know others that while one person wanted to party the other wanted to settle down in the new parent role. You need to be on the same level. Thankfully both my wife and I are on the same page.
Community~ Or a sense of connection through friends, family or religion but can also come from hobbies, we have it.
Politics~ Our ideology is the same even if we do not agree on the canidates. I am more political then she is but since 18 I have never missed a single vote even for local politics. Since she has been with me neither has she and every time we vote we bring our children so they know what an important gift it is to help decide your own future.
Accommodate~ Sometimes you will not share the same interest. I do not play WOrld of Warcraft, she does, but we have times when I get home and she gets off the computer to spend time with me. Similar I love warhammer 40k, she has never played. But she lets me do my thing (often because that means she gets more WoW time) but we accept what each other likes and make sure that each have their time to do it as long as we get plenty of quality time together.
Compassion~ I am thankful that my wife although she doesn't know or understand what I go through with my MD is always understanding. I have read so many posts where a SO thinks the person is faking, or should suck it up. At one point I had a nerves breakdown because 1) I had trouble handling the daily pain and 2) How limited I was to daily activities and how that effected things such as my weight, exorcise and living day to day. I try to show her the same compassion but if this was a chart I think 80% of the compassion has come my way in this marriage.
Expectations~ I know what my wife expects from me and I fulfill every role I possibly can. As a reverse I do most of the childcare and house work, however I really don't mind. My wife also makes more then I do and she is good about paying the bills.
Cleaning~ In todayís world we expect most women to work as it takes two incomes to provide for a family, yet we still expect them to do all the chores. Granted chores now a days are not like the past. Cleaning a house dishes, laundry etc. should be 2 hours a day and cooking no more then an hour. There is no reason if both parties work similar hours that they canít split the chores. (I do the cooking and cleaning plus a majority of raising the four kids plus own my own store, so before someone tells me I donít know what it is like to be a stay at home I have been with multiple kids. It isnít hard just time consuming.) I also was a single dad too.
Provider~ Although it often takes two or three paychecks now a days to provide for a house hold you canít always expect this to fall on just one person. Bills are behind so the guy gets a second or third job. To much burns you out and you wonder if any of it is worth it. All other things fall apart. Try to do with less or mild work increase or both. Who care is you have the money for that new car if your relationship falls apart. My wife and I have switched roles a few times on who the provider for the family was. She is now and after her college I will not be able to touch her paychecks.
Model~ As a role model so many kids have expressed they wish they had parents like us, and so many people have said they are jealous of the type of relationship we have. I really hope that we can provide an example for parents, Couples and family on how to be better.
Avoidance~ My wife set down simple rules, she lived with an alcoholic father and would be such with a husband. I rarely drink, do not use drugs, have no need to search, or view porn or any other habit that will hurt or take away from our marriage, money, time or quality.
Realistic~ I know what my wife can and can't do. I never expect her to be some superwoman even if she thinks she is sometimes.
Support~ I always support my wife emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually.
Financial Stability ~ One of the leading causes of fights between couples is money. It is okay not to be rich but live within your means. When I first was pulled from my job for my MD we went through so troubles with money. I was use to being the provider and we lost 75% of our income. We lost almost everything we owned and restructured our lives to live on less. Our love and support carried us to this day not money.
Have Fun Together~ Find things you both like to do or share. It can be collecting things, religion, history or games. We date every week with set aside time for just the two of us. This has been very important to the both of us.
Humor~ Of all the women I talk to this is always brought up. They like to be able to laugh with their partner. The wife and I often share jokes which is great since I have a dry sense of humor (think Hawkeye for M*A*S*H) but she "gets" me.
Appreciation~ I am thankful for have such a wife, and she is always telling me how much the family, and I mean to her.
Playfulness~ Nothing I love like how playful my wife is. It is always a sure fire way to see how caring a person is when they are around kids. It is also nice to be playful with each other.
Dates ~ Once a week we always date.
One a day ~ Last but very important is everyday I try to do a little thing for the wife just because. A flower or rose, a card, e-card, e-mail message, pm, myspace message, a note, a special dinner, a little gift for no reason, a toast to us, helping her study even when I have other plans, etc.
WOW...that brought tears to my eyes. I can only dream that I would have a marriage like that. Our marriage is not good, its not bad(no abuse ,no drugs, no drinking,no cheating)but its not fullfilling to me. Even when I thought things were good, it was never as good as what you wrote.
Thank you for sharing that with us. We will be married 15 yrs this August...and I wonder how we got here.
This was a great read. Reading this lets me know exactly what we did wrong in our relationship. I really hope one day I could accomplish some of the things you've listed.
I learned a lot from my first marriage which ended in a divorce and with my current wife I learn more all the time. On some levels we click, on others we accept, still others we need to learn and grow but we have always been up for the task.
It ten years we have only argued seven times. Even that was seven times to many one over money, five over cleaning, one over future. For the most part we didn't think differently we just didn't realize we were fighting towards the same goals in two different ways.
I notice that communication was at the top of your list. And that's where because I think that is the most inportant one of all. If more marriages had that then the other problems could be solved.
You hit the nail on the head...Most couples can communicate they just don't do it in the most productive way. I am thankful in retrospect for my first marriage ending in divorce. I learned more about relationships from losing that one then all the good relationships I ever had. I am also glad that my wife was willing to learn and grow with me.
mommy22 ~ Good to see you noticed too. BTW I did put it first for a reason. It has saved us and gotten us to go forward so many times.
Listening is also very important because you can talk to the person but if you don't listen everything they are trying to say is wasted. That also leads me to the second point often the wife wants to dump her bad day either because by talking about it there is a stress reduction, or because she is working through the problem by talking about it and hearing it. She doesn't always want me to "fix" it she is far to independant and will always let me know when she wants my help. SOmetimes she just wants empathy.
mommy22 ~ Thank you, it is always nice to hear what I do right. It took a lot to get it through this romantics head to really listen to her and not try to save her when she could do it all on her own. We talk a lot and very open, I thank God that she has helped me learn how to act like a proper husband and a great companion to her.
The point that stood out to me, was conflict resolution. I don't know if that would top anybody's list, but it is absolutely crucial for putting the little stuff into perspective, and having a sense for what you can expect from your partner when the big stuff hits - which it invariably does.
This is going to sound strange but deejo got me thinking. I was talking to my wife on if I would have wanted to meet her in high school and if things would have been different. My answer was I am glad that I didn't because it took so much time to learn to really be a good partner. I lost my first marriage in part because of lack of the proper communication which I needed to learn. I am glad that I have continued learning.
Conflict resolution is a great thing to always consider. We really fight/argue at all. Most things are handled diplomatically and are never an issue to us.
I would give anything to know my husband felt that way about me. Your wife is a very lucky woman! It scares me to death that it takes being divorced to get it right...I have a feeling that given that chance, my husband would be much better with someone else. He would probably never treat anyone else the way he treats me. It's kind of sad.