Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Cup of Coffee and a Discussion on Keeping Marriage Strong

I've thought long and hard about this post. We share a lot on our blogs, mostly about decorating and sewing and projects and fun. There are some who say that the more negative aspects of life don't make for a "good read" and that most of you are looking for an uplifting post.
I can see that argument.
 But there are some things that are important enough to talk about once in a while.
Now don't get worried, this isn't about Earl and I. But as I see my daughters and their friends reaching marriage age, I want to tell them that in this age of 50%+ of marriages ending in divorce, that there is a way to keep a relationship alive and strong.
Last week after coming home from my mom's funeral I found out that two couples that I care deeply about were ending their relationships. One a marriage of 18 years, the other a live in relationship of 7 years. It was a bad week. My heart breaks for them. I didn't see it coming, they didn't see it coming. But in talking to both of them one thing stood out. The relationships had died from neglect.
My goal in writing this is to make everyone out there stop and think about where they are in their marriage.
Do you remember when you were dating? Conversations about your dreams for the future, looking into each others eyes, holding hands and hugging and kissing? That is the recipe for growing a relationship. It is often said that a good marriage takes work.  Well work is something you have to pay me to go to! Work is the wrong word. It takes effort. It's good effort, and it's rewarding effort, and it's very, very pleasant effort if done right.
You got married to spend more time together and you soon found out that with work and household chores and kids it felt like you had less time! All the to do lists and family responsibilities soon put your romantic lives at the bottom of the heap of things to do.
No more dates, less talking about dreams for the future, more stress.
I can only tell you what works for us.
Never stop dating. I don't care what your excuse is. If you value your marriage and your relationship, you need face to face time out of the house. alone. regularly.
We have coffee every week. We look forward to our coffee dates so much we usually turn to each other all giddy the night before and say "tomorrow is our coffee date!"
I know, it sounds corny. But we catch up on plans for the week, for the month. We catch up on all the latest stuff we have to tell each other but forgot. We hold hands, we gaze in each others eyes and we say "I love you."  We have occasional dinners out, or movie dates, or concerts, but our coffee date is sacred. Sometimes if we have a super stressful week, we sneak in an extra one!
We also get away on weekends. Even when Earl was laid off and money was really tight,  once I got enough mad money in my Etsy account we spent it on a weekend away.
We are a team and we never stop planning together, dreaming together,  holding hands, or kissing. (much to our children's feigned disgust).
So, are you still dating your husband? Don't you think you should?
What keeps your marriage strong?
A big thanks to Anita who commented below and sent me this link to an article titled
It is a must read. I am happy to say that Earl and I practice each and every one of the things listed.


  1. So well said! I always stumble when using the word "work" regarding marriage. The word "effort" describes it so much better!

  2. Kathy, that is so wonderfully said. We have a "date" every week too and it is looked forward to just like you describe yours. We are empty nesters so maybe it is easier than it used to be. But somehow even those with small children need to get away once in awhile. I am glad to baby-sit for my granddaughter so my son and his wife can do that. We as Grammies need to put ourselves out too and help our children have happy and solid marriages. LOVE this post.

  3. A few months ago...maybe 5-6 months actually we started date night again! Our youngest daughter was in the tail end of her Senior year and was stressing on her next step in life, College. I, close at the time to turning 50, had my own stresses and hers compounded mine. Date Night started and now we too look forward to that evening each week! Yesterday, we moved that daughter into her college apartment and we are now "empty nesters"! Tomorrow is date night....and I can't wait! Nice, needed post! Thank you!

  4. This is a wonderful post Kathy. Yes, keeping a relationship strong does take effort. It is so easy today to spend all of your time apart. Kent and I hold hands every. single. night falling asleep. We plan and dream together. We hold hands, share secrets, lift each other up when we fall. I can't imagine my life without him, because he puts as much or more into our relationship as I do.

  5. Good bring up some good points. Relationships do take effort!

  6. Very good advice. We just celebrated 24 years last week.

  7. This is such a fabulous post!!! Woody and I love our front porch coffee dates. When the weather cools a little more you will find us there together every chance we get. :0) We are currently looking for a dating spot and are needing to be creative in our tiny little town. But so worth it!!

  8. Thank you for this great, honest post. There is so much truth to the effort needed to keep marriage 'alive' - but it's SO worth it! We love date days since my sweetheart retired. It's nice to leave everything at home, including all the schedules and stress, and get away together for some fun!

  9. Agreed!! Very nice write-up ..hope it doesn't fall on any deaf ears.

  10. Key: Humor & Friendship. The question: Do you really like this person? And if the answer is yes, then whats the problem? I don't get divorce as the answer either. What was the reason you fell in love with the person in the first place?

    Great post! We just had our 27th wedding anniversary in May.


  11. Respect and listening...REALLY listening to each other makes for a more pleasant attitude, too. The romance is wonderful...always....but the respect, honor, trust....all play a huge part in making a couple happy together.
    Sometimes our most treasured moments are right here at home...in the living room, counting our blessings and knowing GOD sent us to each other to love all our adult lives. Keeping HIM in our marriage and lives has so enriched our 53 year marriage...and, as Jackie says...humor and laughing, intertwined with our love has enriched us sooo much.
    Thanks for this wonderful post....
    it's perfect. :
    xo bj

  12. Kathy,

    I am so sorry to hear of my mother's passing.

    You and Earl have something so special together. Your relationship is a dream and a blessing. I think the marriages that stay together are based on how willing each partner is able to agree to work on it.


  13. I couldn't agree more with you! I have known so many couples that once their kids started to get older and need them less divorced because they had put everything into the kids and then found they didn't even know each other. We put our marriage first. We do that for the kids too. A happy marriage makes a happy family!


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