Love, Anniversaries and Long Term Marriages – Is there a secret?

long term marriages
Our recent anniversary trip to Big Sur

Long term marriages – The joy of family!

It’s October! This month brings Fall leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, the World Series (Go Dodgers!), and is our anniversary month. For as long as I can remember, we have traveled somewhere to commemorate our anniversary. Maui was our usual celebratory destination, but this year it isn’t possible due to COVID restrictions. We are traveling to Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur, CA, and looking forward to it!

Always find adventure

Allow me to declare that all anniversaries should be celebrated! Any time a married couple begins another year together, it’s fantastic. Long term marriages and relationships are an essential milestone, and I wouldn’t be me unless I also said we need to find adventure in life too!

long term marriages
Sunset in Maui on our trip last October

Aren’t we all looking for hope? Hope for a great life for our families, for ourselves and our friends. On social media, I see where “likes” of happy things way outnumber the negative. I scroll past the negative. You and I both know that negativity is everywhere, and I refuse to focus on it.

Six years ago, when I began writing Adventures of Empty Nesters, I wrote a post called Cheers to 30 Years of Marriage, which was published in the Huffington Post and several other publications. To this day, readers are still searching to find that post!

Why is that? People are reading it not because I offered any grand secret or new and profound answer, but people are looking for reasons to celebrate. A theme of hope resonates with most everyone!

long term marriages
On a very small plane from The Big Island to Maui

Long term marriages require nurturing

Successful long term marriages require effort, lots of it. Making an earnest attempt to make something positive happen should be a big priority. (Especially in 2020!) We need to be proactive, change it up, try not to do the same old thing, day after day. Even now, when we work and live at home, this effort should be unselfish and thoughtful. We all need to hone our skills as a spouse with each passing day and year. Even when times are tough, keep pushing.

Who thinks it is easy to be married? Who feels that successful relationships don’t require care, effort, and patience? Of course, they do! For the same reasons that our children don’t raise themselves, it takes nurturing and focus to raise a child successfully, and so does marriage. 

A happy, thriving family is what happens when you pay attention, act unselfishly, and listen. Listening is a lost art that more people should be practicing.

long term marriages
Eating raw herring in Amsterdam. I did not like it, but glad I tried it.

What is life without hope? Hope is optimistic, inspiring, and helps us feel safe. Life is pretty sad without hope for the future of marriage and family. We all know that many people are not married, which is totally fine and many are way happier to stay this way! Just send out happy feelings of love and friendship, and surround yourself with good people.

Has 2020 caused you to pause and to hyper-focus on what matters most? Of course, you have, and probably hundreds of times like I do.

We live in a digital age where dreams are big, and expectations are high. Ultimately, our hope for a healthy marriage and family should keep us motivated to improve our relationships, care more, criticize less.

I don’t have all the answers, and yes, I have down days. This year has been exhausting, but I have a strong memory of when our youngest child left the nest. I was incredibly sad, lost, and needed direction. After lots of contemplation, I realized that I am in charge of my own happiness; this same perspective should be used in marriage. 

I still believe that crucial characteristics like hope, effort, unselfishness, and focus make the difference in a strong marriage. Don’t worry about the small stuff, the hearts and minds of others matter way more —people matter!

couples need to have fun
Always find time to laugh.

I hope to reach the next generation to give them encouragement for a successful family. It is not easy, but it really isn’t all that difficult either. The world has turned really scary and hostile, even disheartening. I don’t know that we can solve the world’s problems, but if we focus on our own families, offer the next generation some sage advice on marriage and family, maybe we all can make a difference in one marriage, one family at a time.

I sure hope so.

I am not suggesting we ignore everyone else, just start at home and work your way out. Helping others is paramount for a prosperous society.

Craig and I are surrounded by successful long term marriages. Many of our friends are celebrating significant anniversaries, and I congratulate them! Our daughter and son in law celebrated two years on October 20th. They married on the same day as we did, how sweet is that! Now our son and daughter in law will also celebrate a wedding anniversary in October. In October, love reigns supreme in the Stavert family!

It is thirty-six years and counting for Craig and me, so let’s all celebrate life, love, and long term marriages.

Thanks for being here and for reading about the celebrations of life in our family. I love to see and hear about your families too.

Be well, be happy, and love one another. 

Suzanne

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4 thoughts on “Love, Anniversaries and Long Term Marriages – Is there a secret?”

  1. I understand more than anyone else how much emotion is behind this heartfelt post. Proud to have been your partner in this journey!!

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