Angela’s welcome party was a happy event for many of her parents’ friends and family. While everyone was celebrating her arrival into the world, Angela was asleep in her baby carriage, wearing the most beautiful angel outfit.
The pile of presents next to her baby carriage was huge and at the end of the evening, Sam, the old manager at the event hall, helped her dad, Ian, put all the gifts in the car.
“Bless her. She has so many gifts”, the old manager said to Angela’s dad while helping him to load a big pink box with curly ribbons. “Yes, she does”, said Ian excitedly.
Ian had been a bit worried before Angela’s arrival. He had been looking forward to the delivery day but at the same time worried about providing for his family. The list of things a baby needs had been so big that during the party, he kept looking at the gifts and was happy to see them piling high.
“We really need all the gifts”, Ian said to the old manager.
“Not really”, smiled Sam, “What you need is something that can’t be packed with ribbons”, and he held up a toy that made a funny noise.
Ian looked at the old man, not really understanding. He stopped and looked at him in surprise, “What do you mean? What do we need?”
“One more toy, another nice dress or furniture will make you happy, but she needs something that cannot be bought with money”, said Sam and handed Ian an envelope with a greeting card.
“This is your invoice. Thank you for choosing our venue”, he shook Ian’s hand, smiled and went back into the building, passing by Angela’s mom, Louise, at the entrance.
Ian opened the envelope and took out a greeting card with a photo of a large golden gift box. He opened the card. The invoice was folded inside it. Ian took out the invoice and read the greeting, which was written in pink.
The greatest gift your daughter needs is something that requires persistence, dedication, love and commitment. From all the gifts in the world, what she needs most is the gift only her parents can give her, the gift of staying together and loving each other for many years.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Event Hall Manager
Ian folded the greeting card and put it together with the rest of the envelopes.
On the way home, Louise asked, “Did we get lots of gifts?”
“Oh, yes, we did”, said Ian, “But one of them was the best gift of all. It’s the envelope with the invoice in it”.
Working with couples and parents is something that brings me a lot of joy. I know that in that way, I fulfill my purpose of raising happy kids in this world.
Do not stay together for your kids
There are many ways to raise happy kids and you can read over 300 ways to do this in this blog alone. Unfortunately, there are many kids living with single or separated parents that neglect one major aspect of kids’ happiness – having mom and dad living together, under one roof, without having to change beds so often.
Being together for your kids does not mean you need to stay together even if you fight and hate and scream and feel unhappy. It does not mean you have to stay together no matter what. It means you need to do all you can not to fight and hate and scream and feel unhappy. It means you need to make sure you will never stay together for your kids.
Good Questions and Bad answers about Marriage
After the 3rd year of our friendship, people started to ask Gal and me the big question about every relationship.
Why are you still together?
I think every anniversary requires answering this question. Gal and I have made a decision that when we do not have a good answer to this question, we are in a big trouble and we need to urgently do something about it. By the way, the answers “We are still together because we are used to each other”, “We are together for the kids”, “We are still together because we do not have a better option”, “We are together because we are afraid to be by ourselves” and “We are together because we do not think we can find a new partner in our age and circumstances” are really bad answers.
Tips for staying happily married
After 28 years of being together, going through happy times and tough times, here are some tips to stay together and love each other for many years:
- Never miss a day to express your love. Your partner always has room for more incoming love.
- Never keep secrets from each other. Keeping things from each other puts you in the danger zone. Even if it is hard to share the truth, remember that secrets are inner prisons.
- When talking about your partner with other people, stick to the good things. If you rally need to discuss things that make you unhappy, find a life coach, a counselor or a psychologist. They are strangers and their job is to help you change what you feel about things and how you deal with them.
- If there are conflicts between partner and your work, friends or fun, your partner comes first. Short term, this may be uncomfortable, but long term, you will benefit many times over.
- Share your money. Never keep separate bank accounts. This is a source of lots of difficulties and problems. A family is a single unit, to which everyone contributes what they can and from which everybody takes what they need. Whenever you start talking about “my money/your money” or “how much is house work worth?” you are entering the danger zone.
- When you are happy and loving, make an agreement of words never to use in your house, like swear words, insults and other labels, and stick to them.
- Go on a date once a week for the rest of your life together. Go to the movies, a restaurant or a walk on the beach, sit in the park and hold hands or have a special dinner at home.
- Always remember special events, like birthdays and anniversaries, and find ways to celebrate them. They are good reminders of your achievements and wonderful times together.
- When things get tough, you need each other more. If you cannot support each other, get help!
- Choose your battles. You do not have to argue about everything that does not work exactly the way you want it to. This is called “perfectionism” and it is a disease that kills relationships. Argue only about the important things, like major purchases, your kids’ education and values. How things look, what people might say and how to fold the laundry are not important enough to destroy something wonderful.
- Dream together. Plan your future together. Always have plans for the future that include each other. If you start dreaming of a future without your partner in it, you are in the danger zone.
- Make a rule never to bring up your in-laws in an argument. When you are angry at them, remember that you will forever thank them for bringing your partner into the world. You love your partner, so they must have done some things right.
- Never embarrass each other in front of other people to fit in or impress other people. Never ever tell “married people’s jokes”, expose your partner’s weaknesses or his/her secrets.
- Never go to sleep angry. No matter how hard it is, always kiss and make up in bed before going to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day. Just “zoom out” and see your partner in the bigger scope of your life to remember his/her true value, then say “Good night, <insert affectionate term>”.
- When you are angry at each other and have doubts, bring up happy memories and they will chase the doubt away.
- Hug each other 12 times a day. This fulfills the emotional need for touch we all have. If you spend full days by yourself, you are at risk of feeling deprived of physical touch, so have a “hugging ceremony” when you wake up, go to bed, leave the house, come home and so on.
- Learn at least 20 things that make your partner happy and ask him/her to update the list as time goes by. Use the list to make your partner happy.
- Never use the kids to help you communicate! In fact, never let anybody else come between you, not even in a fight.
- Find uniqueness in your relationship and nourish it. When you look at other couples, choose people who are an inspiration for good marriage and great family life and learn from them.
- Be each other’s best friends. Marriage should not destroy a great friendship.
- Find ways to flirt with each other – send love letters, give each other little surprises, kiss and hug, give each other gifts and flirt at parties.
- When you fight about your kids, never say “Your kids” or “My kids” (even if your family is blended). Kids are equally yours and your partner’s and so is the responsibility for their behavior…
- Make an effort to build memories together – they are treasures in old age.
- Do not fight in front of the kids. Grown up discussions are a good example, but none of the ugly stuff.
- Dedicate time to your personal growth. In every marriage, each partner needs to master their own emotions and personal development. If you are happy and content with your life, you will have a happy marriage.
Live happily ever after,
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage