Will you Marry me…Forever?
4 Ways to a Happier Marriage
May 4, 2017

Today I awoke to a touching Facebook post from my wife celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. The context of that post referenced a couple of things that really got me thinking. Adrienne, my beautiful wife, called me her best friend and said that she is “amazed daily by my passion to live, passion to give, and passion to grow.” She shared a few moments in our life together with pictures, beginning with me on one knee asking her to marry me. FYI… She said yes! That picture hit me hard because I had a full head of hair and boy, that has changed in fourteen years. Anyway, it was a nice way to start my day, it made me ponder how we made it this far, and how some couples make it fifty plus years.

In my fifteen year career as a financial advisor, I have the pleasure of meeting with many people that have made it to the pinnacle years of forty, fifty or more! I find some common threads exist in those couples, and I’m always interested in their stories. I love to hear about the great memories, but also the trials and tribulations along the way. I can tell you that the post was from her heart, yet so profound, that it was worth writing about and sharing my thoughts on going from, not just will you marry me, but to staying married to me, forever.

1. Friendship:

I think the reference of “best friends” is a nice start. All too often in marriage, we forget the fundamentals and that friendship is the foundation. We look back in our relationships and often reminisce of the days when we loved just hanging out. Today “hanging out” means a quick high five on the way out to work or a kiss goodnight from a long day. It means driving back and forth like an Uber driver for our two boys, Carson and Brayden, to soccer games, birthday parties and school events (without tips).

Bottom line: Friendship gets harder and harder to focus on when you don’t make time for each other. We have, unlike so many couples, continued to take quick weekend getaways *without children, escape for an evening alone occasionally and when all else fails, steal twenty minutes of one on one time with a glass of wine just to catch up, and focus on each other and no one else. Love is easy when we like each other!

2. Passion to Live

We wake up as two separate individuals every day and that is just fine by me. I love to meet tons of new friends, stay up late, pack way too much in my schedule and go, go, go. She prefers quiet nights at home, comfy clothes and an early bed time *yawn (just kidding)! Our passion to live is different and I love that. Spouses can be a great balance to who we are and at times what we need. I, personally, need to slow down and relax at times and she needs to meet new people and stay up late very, very occasionally. Most importantly I love her for who she is and vice versa. I’m not trying to change her passion to live the way she likes and she isn’t changing mine. We are combining for a life of balance, compromise and at times frustration at the other’s style! When a widow is in my office telling me about the husband of fifty years, she is usually describing the things that were different from her and how he and she would step out of their comfort zones and love it. Life’s passion can mean different things to different people but just because you get married doesn’t mean it must morph into one collective passion.

3. Passion to Give

A passion to give goes even deeper. This taps into the fundamental truth in life that when we give we receive so much more. I have found that in marriage, when I give love, I receive love. When I need attention and I give it first, I usually get what I need. I have also found that marriage is cyclical. There will be times in our marriages where one partner will be the giver and the other is the taker and it isn’t always even at that moment. This is a partnership; we need each other, uniquely, at different times. I think that for some reason couples forget that a relationship takes constant work and sometimes it is very uncomfortable. Giving in to those uncomfortable times and living outside “your” box can lead to a much happier marriage if we keep the focus on our passion to give.

4. Passion to Grow

Lou Holtz said, “In this world you're either growing or you're dying, so get in motion and grow.” Wow, so true in so many ways. I am not the person I was when we got married, and thank God! Every day we should strive to grow personally, professionally and spiritually to incrementally become a bit better than the previous day. Personal growth in marriage is so important to reaching our full potential and I am not even close to where I strive to be as a husband, father or friend. We must always be our true selves, especially when married, yet focus on being a better version of that person. I see so many friends change who they are, what they think, and how they act, to fit their partner. Sorry folks, authenticity is the key here and faking it eventually comes out. I have failed daily in my life and I hope to learn and grow from each of these lessons. Be willing to change yourself and not so anxious to change your partner!

Summary

News Flash: I hit the marriage lottery. I will not, for one second, tell you that everyone is so lucky. I know that each relationship is different and there can be extreme ups and downs along the way even ending in divorce in some cases. Overall, I just believe in people! Most of us need more grit and to be willing to work slightly harder at being friends. My wife is a superhero: an amazing teacher, loving mother, strong, independent woman, and most of all the best friend and wife I could have married. Life is easy to have passion when you can share it with someone that makes you live better, give more and grow daily. I hope that I can continue to follow my own thoughts and that this is only the beginning of the best chapter of our lives.

I would also like to note that my super competitive side feels like I have won the anniversary by blogging, which trumps a Facebook post any day! Happy 14th Wedding Anniversary with all my Love!

Scott Danner