Sunday, October 25, 2015

9 years with my man

To recognize nine years of marriage this past October 21, I reflect on what's made my first-married-at-forty marriage work.

Do simple things together. Take a walk. Share a hobby. Go shopping. Eat meals together. We pick a series on Netflix or on television and watch it faithfully. It's a free date if you're at home and your hubby likes your cooking, but don't talk too much during the show. I tend to do that. Chris figures stuff out and gives it away. He's got bruises on his arm from his daughter Brittany for doing that.

Make desserts for no reason. My mom only made cakes for special events, so I don't know how I figured out this one. My husband and I both have a sweet tooth.

Let him have his money and you have yours. I know, very non-Dave Ramsey. But when two people get married at 40, this is one thing you don't want to argue about.

Early in our marriage, I got Chris to agree that if we spent more than $200 on anything other than food or clothing, that the other person should be consulted first. This came about after he walked out of Best Buy and told me that my birthday present to him would be to pay for half of a camera that he just bought. I did it, but that didn't go over too well with me, thus came the rule.

Each spouse needs and deserves a hobby that doesn't involve the other person. You can support each other and agree to help finance it, but let the person enjoy it. Making one feel guilty about it will only lead to resentment.

I learned this the hard way when I accused Chris of loving landscaping more than spending time with me. I'm so over that. And now I have a nice backyard to enjoy. A hobby makes life better and makes work time more enjoyable because you've gotten to do something fun during the off-hours.

I enjoy going with Chris on his photo shoots once in awhile, but I don't like to go every time. In return, he's hauled me to a writing event in Kansas City and will do so again soon. View the hobby as that person's outletnot as a way to be away from you.

Have a sense of humor. This is why I fell in love with Chris to begin with. He made me laugh. He can usually get me out of a funk when I'm a grump.

Keep short accounts. Say I'm sorry but more importantly, ask for forgiveness. And say it again. Even if you think the other person never says it. I know, it's hard not to keep track.

Ask first when doing something out of the ordinary regarding your hobby. Sometimes your spouse can point out a concern you don't see. It's not to hurt you. It's to protect you.

Attend each others' family events. Know that the time together won't be like the time at your family's. At my brother Elliott's place, we always play table games and get competitive. At my mother-in-law's, we visit, eat, read, watch television, and play on our devices. That's just the way it is, and it doesn't bother a soul. The point is that we are with Mom. It took me a couple Thanksgivings to understand this is how the Harris clan operates.

Greet with a kiss and leave with a kiss. A little peck will do just fine. When departing, always say I love you. Let your children see and hear this. I saw my parents kiss only a couple of times in my life. Different generation, I guess. It warms my heart when I hear and see my step-daughter Brittany do this with her husband Nathaniel.

Closing Thoughts
I know my friends thought I was nuts to get engaged to a guy I only knew for two weeks—let alone a guy I met on the Internet, and I wouldn't advise it for younger people. Ironically, my family never questioned me once—at least not to my face. But I think everyone that knows Chris would agree that I done good. 

Took me long enough, but I done good.

What makes your relationships or friendships last? How do you manage the give and take? Anything you've learned the hard way?


  1. What a great post, Melodie! Love this. The only one I'd struggle with is #3 ... cause I don't work outside the house. :) But he wanted that ... so, he's having to let his money be my money. :) But I'm always careful with spending. Anyway, these are great. I'm so glad you found your true love. Marriage is hard ... we have to be intentional.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Shelli. It never even crossed my mind how this would apply to stay at home moms. The money you save though by doing to in immeasurable.

  2. Wow how amazing melody!! You found love on! I always thought it was a fluke but you guys are almost a decade in!

    It's funny that you mentioned Number Four. I noticed that sometimes I get caught up so much with writing and / or music that sometimes I am extremely grateful that my S.O has a hobby. I can imagine to a normal person that I look crazy to them when all I see when they talk to me is plot, characters and that next scene. *sigh*


    1. Yes is really does work. And would you believe it if I told you that his mom and two of his brothers met their mates on dating sites too (just not match)? All true!

      I know what you mean getting absorbed in your hobby. Us writers need other writers to speak the jargon. Thanks for commenting, Natasha.