If there’s anything we learned from the 10 years our family served in Congress it’s that politicians in Washington can’t save America. Families will. And strong marriages are the foundation of great families.
Name the social ill, and you can probably trace it back to broken homes and America’s crisis in fatherhood. Investing time and thought into your marriage is good for you and your kids. It turns out that it may also be the most patriotic thing you can do.
With 750,000 divorces a year, America has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Even more depressing is the number of young people who are foregoing marriage altogether. In 2018, the marriage rate fell to the lowest rate since 1867, the year our government first started keeping track of this statistic. It’s tragic that so many have given up on one of the most rewarding experiences in life.
What can you do to protect your marriage and make sure you don’t become one of those sad statistics? This Valentine’s Day, we share with you our best advice for a beautifully imperfect, but healthy and happy marriage.
Take Care Of Yourself
Letting yourself go is never attractive. We are all visual creatures and being highly attracted to your spouse makes it a lot easier to overlook annoying idiosyncrasies or offer the forgiveness all marriages require. Nothing tells your spouse that you respect them and never take them for granted more than wanting to look your best for him/her. You could even boost your appeal and add a little extra spark to your relationship with pheromones for men. Working out together and committing to a healthy diet and lifestyle together is bonding and healthy for your body, mind, soul, and relationship.
Prioritize your marriage
There is nothing more important in your life than your marriage. Not your job and not even your kids. If your relationship with your spouse isn’t going well, everything else suffers.
Think about how much time we spend in meetings for our job or strategizing about our careers. We should be spending even more time checking in with our spouse, talking about the state of our marriage and finding ways to recalibrate and improve our relationship.
I heard someone call this “tending your garden.” Every garden needs pruning and tending. When weeds sprout, we need to pull them before they take over our beautiful garden.
You vowed to love and cherish for better or worse. That means something.
And mean it. Know marriage is not easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Arguing and fighting is a healthy part of marriage. When couples brag that they never fight, you can be sure they are headed for divorce.
Marriage takes work and there are good and bad days, even good and bad years, but trust that you will come out of the hard times stronger and happier if you never even consider giving up or giving in. You vowed to love and cherish for better or worse. That means something.
Find little moments
We’re all busy, especially those of us with kids. It’s not easy finding time or a sitter for a date night. Don’t despair. Little moments add up. Five kid-free minutes over a cup of coffee or a short walk after dinner can do wonders to keep you connected.
In the summer, we spend time at the lake. It’s fun, but it’s also all about the kids. At the end of the day, we leave the little ones with our older kids and steal away for a boat ride alone – even if it’s just for 15 minutes. They always beg to come, but we resist. Our little moments recharge us to face the troops, er kids.
Plan big moments
At least once a year plan a legit vacation together without kids. There is simply nothing that can rejuvenate and replenish a relationship like long, quality time away to remember why you fell in love in the first place. Relinquish the guilt. A healthy, loving relationship and marriage is the greatest gift you can give your kids.
Beware of anything that displaces your spouse as the number one person in your life. He or she is your best friend and confidant. If someone else is taking that place in your life it usually spells trouble.
Five kid-free minutes over a cup of coffee or a short walk after dinner can do wonders to keep you connected.
Take special care at work and when you are traveling alone to keep in touch and never do anything you wouldn’t want your husband or wife to know about.
If you are always winning arguments in your marriage there’s a problem. When I get upset that Sean doesn’t clean the kitchen the way I like, he’ll ask me, “Did you really want to marry yourself?” It’s a funny and clever reminder that marriage is about compromise. Men and women are different and thus complimentary. Our weaknesses are often compensated by our spouse’s strengths. That’s what makes us a great team!
Honor your journey
Reminiscing over old pictures, home videos and retelling our love story to each other and our kids gives us a healthy perspective to appreciate all we have built together. In the context of 23 years and nine children together, our last fight looks small and petty. Taking time to capture the long view and to celebrate our life together is nourishing food for the journey.
Take care of yourself
Letting yourself go is never attractive. We are all visual creatures and being highly attracted to your spouse makes it a lot easier to overlook annoying idiosyncrasies or offer the forgiveness all marriages require. Nothing tells your spouse that you respect them and never take them for granted more than wanting to look your best for him/her. Working out together and committing to a healthy diet and lifestyle together is bonding and healthy for your body, mind, soul and relationship.
Keep the faith
Literally. In our Catholic tradition, our marriage is a sacrament between three people – the two of us and God. Praying together, keeping our faith traditions and making God a part of our relationship keeps us stronger and focused on our ultimate goal — helping each other and our children get to heaven.
Fight it out, love it out – whatever it takes – love and marriage is worth it.
Happy Valentine’s Day from our kitchen table to yours!
Former Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy serves as a FOX News Media contributor providing political analysis across all FOX News Media platforms. Read more here.
Source by www.foxnews.com