Cheers to 30 Years of Marriage! What’s the Secret?

marriage
Our Wedding Day~ October 20,1984.

 

Celebrating a milestone like our 30th wedding anniversary is a “shout it from the rooftops”, “pat yourself on the back” type of festivity. It most certainly seems like the perfect time for me to consider exactly how we got here and what contributed to our success. Long lasting marriages are statistically rather improbable. Divorce rates are high, but so many different factors can contribute to the demise of a marriage.

Believe me, anyone who has been married this long knows without a doubt how difficult it can be as well as enriching, even magical.

My husband Craig and I met so young that I can barely remember life without him in it. We met when we were only 15 and 16 in our high school Spanish class. We sat alphabetically and he sat directly behind me. Yes it was love at first sight, but a marriage takes much more than love to be successful. We dated for 7 years with a few breakups and heartbreaks during that time, but ultimately we were the perfect match.

A successful marriage should be a resumé topper, the icing on the proverbial cake of accomplishments. I am incredibly proud of us and so fortunate to have found the man of my dreams who has given me a glorious life.

However, don’t think for one second that our life together has not been filled with many challenges. We have faced it all; illness, corporate downsizing, financial hardship, interpersonal difficulties, parenting…the list is long. Just because a life looks serene and effortless on the outside, doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of work happening on the inside. These issues are not necessarily unique to our family; they are just part of life and many couples face similar circumstances.

Some marriages cannot withstand the pressure no matter how much effort is put into them, but in our situation, our efforts brought us wonderful success and we now are jubilant at the 30 year mark.

There are many fairly obvious attributes of a happy marriage like trust, commitment, laughter, partnership, honesty and fun. For this post I decided to focus on just a few of the “not so obvious” ones to share.

Our legacy as a couple is our loving, successful marriage, fabulous kids and how we all interacted. The joy of our family and how we worked together as partners and as a team, to make it strong and thrive is my greatest achievement. Yes, my greatest achievement.

Why not offer hope and concrete examples for how to succeed in marriage? At UCLA, I studied Psychology and interpersonal communication. Skillfully communicating with others can enhance your life in a myriad of ways. At times we need to dig deeper to find answers, and here are five less conspicuous ways to help create a rewarding marriage:

  1. Unselfishness is sexy – If we spend time putting our spouse first, the focus changes and we tend to give a great deal more. What an amazing feeling it is when someone else puts your needs before theirs.  It is the ultimate compliment and validation of your successful partnership.
  2. Indulge in each other’s interests– My husband Craig LOVES baseball and music. I became a knowledgeable baseball fan and learned about all of the music he is so crazy about! He indulges my passion for foodie adventures, fashion, fitness and photography. His interest for all of my endeavors is limitless. However, we are more than just supportive, we participate in each other’s activities as well.
  3. Patience – Life is so full of ups and downs and every family will encounter countless challenges. A family member’s illness, financial issues, the list can be lengthy. By approaching each issue with patience, irrational behavior is tempered, conversations are more fruitful and the end result will be more successful.
  4. Friendship -Within our marriage is a 30 year friendship. Haven’t we always heard how people describe their spouse as their “best friend”? It seems cliché, but it is so true! I would rather spend time with him than any other person on the planet. If you asked Craig, he would say the same thing about me. If I discover something new or travel to a new place, it would never be the same without him right there beside me.
  5. Take Chances – Be the maverick, try something that no one else is doing. Take the trip, try a new career, move to a new city. Attempting new endeavors strengthen personal development and your relationship will mature simultaneously. No one grows with out challenging himself or herself. We may possibly learn a great deal more from our failures, than we do from our triumphs. Put yourself out there, be vulnerable, share your feelings. Nothing gets resolved if you aren’t talking about it or holding back your thoughts.

There is so much cynicism and negativity in the news and frankly I find it tiresome. I look for stories like ours that elevate relationships and encourage optimism. After all, when all is said and done, what else really matters but your family? We all need to have hope for the future and marriage is not easy, but it is worth it. A happy and long lasting marriage doesn’t happen with a roll of the dice, it succeeds by concentrating on all of these components with intent and a great deal of focus.

Marriage
30 years later, still young at heart and very happy!

 

Cheers to 30 years!

 

58 thoughts on “Cheers to 30 Years of Marriage! What’s the Secret?”

  1. I was talking with my niece yesterday about marriage and the give and take and patience it takes. Discussing many of your 5 ‘secrets’. Nice how you put it into words. Craig is your BFF – one can see that by being around the two of you! Congratulations and cheers!

    Reply
    • Thank you Sara~ As you know marriage is so fantastic but we have to work at it. I want young people to know that the hard work is so worth it! Thank you for your comments and support!

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  2. Holy guacaknolly –

    everyone wants what you two have – as you both know it’s a rarity- cherish it as I know you both do congratulations to both of you

    cheers

    Steve

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  3. I love what you have to say. Contays on your success in marriage. I can say that having a healthy relationship is an inside job. Moving across the country with only us and a car proved to be a massive challenge and a massive amount of growth and love in my relationship. Every single day is an opportunity for growth and it’s not always easy but do rewarding. When I sit down and really think about how worth it the effort is, I truly feel proud and thankful.

    Reply
    • Thank you Shauna! I am thrilled to hear about younger couples like you and your husband. Congratulations on being the maverick and moving across country. That was not easy. You have grown a great deal because of it and should be very proud! I wish you the very best!

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  4. great post, and I can actually say I have had the blessing of literally witnessing the two of you live out each of these points listed. You both are so very dear to me and your marriage, ( even though not PERFECT, whose is, right?) has been such a ray of hope in the institution of marriage in itself. thank you for modeling that for all of us! love you both!

    Reply
    • Thank you Linda! Yes you have seen it all from the front row! Thank you for your sweet words and for all of your support through the years. When Craig’s Dad passed away you were there for us and I didn’t even know you then. Thank you for your friendship and we love you too!

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  5. Suzanne, you wrote a beautiful article. Congratulations to you and Craig! The best of marriages can be difficult at times, but you described a great road map for success. We are both blessed to be married to our best friends. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. I can’t believe that it’s been 30 years since I watched you and Craig exchange your ‘I do’s’…where did the time go?

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    • Thank you Jan! Yes you were there from the beginning! Thank you for your sweet words. I am so glad that you married your best friend as well.

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  6. I love this Suzanne! And of course, I feel totally connected to your wonderful, 30-year long marriage since we became friends within three years after you met Craig and we spent those college and early adult years together. I feel privileged to have watched you two–and your two beautiful children–blossom and grow over the years. I cherish our friendship–and I cherish our couples friendship. I only wish we saw you two more often. You know that Jon and I feel the same way about our marriage; we’re proud of it and it’s only grown stronger over the years. You’ve done a terrific job in this post of analyzing some of the components of a strong, successful marriage. Congratulations! Bravo!!! Let’s get together someday soon and toast your 30 years. I’ll be thinking of you on the 20th (right, that is the date?). Jon and I will also be toasting our anniversary–our 31st on the 29th. Give my best to Craig.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comments Angela. You and I have known each other from the beginning and I cherish our friendship as well. We are so fortunate to have been able to share so many memories. I remember when the twins were born and soooo little! They are now grown up with lives of their own. We do need to get together and celebrate 31 and 30 years. It is a remarkable accomplishment!

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  7. Congratulations, Suzanne! So happy for you and Craig:) Thank you for sharing your experiences with us … inspiring!!!
    Love,
    Kathy

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  8. Wow, wow, wow. You guys are such an inspiration! I especially loved when you said, “The joy of our family and how we worked together as partners and as a team, to make it strong and thrive is my greatest achievement.” It’s totally a team effort and you and have co-created a beautiful life when the children were at home and NOW as empty nesters. Congratulations you two! {{HUGS}}

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    • You are the sweetest Kim, thank you! You are so insightful at your age! I appreciate your support and I look forward to getting together with you sometime soon.

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  9. Congratulations and thank you for the tips. I think some people including myself thought marriage would be easier than dating – I know that’s hysterical. Friendship is a key and I hope you enjoy your very special day 🙂

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    • You are so cute Michelle – marriage is tough, but dating is no day at the beach! Thank you for reading and for your kind comments.

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    • Thank you Kelly! We are in Hawaii celebrating! I hope when we move to Pasadena, we will get you see you and your adorable family!

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  10. Congratulations Susan! My husband and I just celebrated 37 years and some of the things that make my relationship so awesome are the same as yours. Doing things together, communication and being each other’s best friend is critical. And I happen to believe that October weddings are the BEST EVER!

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  11. Reading through the comments it looks like there are lots of other happily married couples who have also hit some anniversary milestones. Congratulations! I have to agree that being married to your best friend is great and the ability to count on each other in good times, bad times and just plain getting through the doldrums is priceless. One thing I love about travelling as a lifestyle is that we are still learning new things about each other even after 34 years of marriage. It’s fun to still find a new story or a surprise!

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  12. Cheers to you both–it is a great accomplishment! I’ve been married even longer, and it doesn’t get a whole lot easier but we have learned to shortcut disagreements and let a lot of silly things slide. Our children and grandchildren continue to bring us joy, and we still get amazing satisfaction from our travels. Cheers to us, too!

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  13. Congrats. I echo your sentiments and know marriage is a lot of give and take as well as hard work. Tomorrow is 34 years for us and our annual dinner out. We have never missed an anniversary dinner. My husband is still not only my partner but my best friend.

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    • Leigh that is so wonderful! Congratulations on 34 years! October seems to be a popular month for weddings! Thank you for reading and for your comments!

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  14. Suzanne, Congratulations on 30 years, that is very note worthy! I wish you and your husband many more years of marriage bliss. I was enthralled by your candid words of your description of your 30 year friendship journey to date. Life is so much better when you have a person that champions all that is important to you and to your family. And, when you are married to your best friend that is the best feeling in the world. I appreciate your adventurous writings!!!

    Marilyn

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Marilyn! It is difficult to share personal information, yet honesty is imperative. Family is so important and I know that you feel the same way about the strength of your family. The world is a negative place and we all need positive images to appreciate! Thank you for reading and for your support!

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  15. Congratulations on your outstanding achievement, Suzanne! You and your husband look happy together with no hint of the work you’ve obviously done behind the scenes to keep your marriage intact. Stress? What stress? Lol!

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    • Nancy isn’t that the truth! We are happy,but I think it is important to share that nothing is perfect and it may look easy, but it most certainly not!Thank you for reading and for your great comments!

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  16. Congratulations marriage is a lot of work and it’s nice to see some are willing to do the work to be strong together. Too many people give up at the first argument, hence the divorce rate. We’ll be 25 years together next year!

    Reply

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