15 Lessons Along My 15 Years Of Being Married!
In case you didn’t know my beautiful wife Francesca and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage together! I’m making sure today is special and I surprise her for sure!
We have officially been together dating and in love since the summer of June 1996…That makes it 24 years of being together but officially married for 15!
Sept 4 2005, that’s the day Francesca & I made our marriage agreement both legal, true to the world, and most important made it official amongst us!
I wanted to take the time today to share 15 lessons I’ve learned along the way of being married, for all of you who are either almost there…currently in love and married…currently in love but not married…currently married and not in love, dating or even divorced. This one is for all of you!
I’m surely NOT an expert when it comes to being and staying married but I do know a few things after being together and sharing a wonderful world with my partner for 24 years. You may find some of these apply to you and some not but my main goal is to share with you some lessons I’ve learned in hopes that they may help, enlighten or remind you of the things we sometimes forget.
1. Marriage needs water, soil and care!
Too many of us think that as long as you can organize a fancy wedding, buy your partner fancy things or come home in a good mood and always agree, your marriage will be perfect but it’s far from that and the truth. Like anything meaningful in life a solid marriage needs time, dedication, work, focus and a mindset. Its easy to say I Do! But it’s a lifetime of living together loving and sharing one life, so know that the reps you put into a marriage will only need to get bigger and more frequent as time goes on.
2. Marriage is like a stock market!
You will have steady and slow times, you will have small jumps that you are not expecting from time to time and you will have lows and droughts that seem to kill the stock (in this case your love) but its all part of the choreographed dance between you and your partner. Learn to budget the lows and savour the highs and hold on to that investment for life. Never peak the best is yet to come!
3. Competition will try to kill your love!
Like most wonderful things that you may have, there is always someone who will, unfortunately, be jealous. Others who have failed marriages may be envious of the love and passion you both possess. Be mindful and notice those who envy what you have and don’t feel alarmed. It’s a natural evolution of life so don’t hate them just know that people often want what they can’t have…and a great marriage is magical!
4. Flex Your Marriage Muscles Every Day or else you may lose them!
Just like muscle memory exists and just like muscles need to have stress, weight, pressure and force placed on them to grow stronger and not shrink, your marriage is the same and needs daily tough points (reminders) of why you’re together! Learn to deflect negativity and welcome positive emotions regardless of what surprises you find. Learn to do the small things like play your spouses favourite music, cook them a meal, write them a note, send them a pic, remind them you love them or simply ask “is there anything I can do to be a better partner?”
5. Expect Problems every morning and eat them for breakfast!
Just like running a business, being a teacher, being a parent or crossing the road, daily your marriage will encounter problems, obstacles and threats. Be prepared, be aware and swallow them up for breakfast. A proactive couple supersedes a reactive marriage. Try to work on solving the problems together so you both share the load and often you will find the stress levels decrease.
6. Grow with your partner not above them!
Some couples find it hard to grow older together and are afraid that your spouses goals may not be similar to yours. That’s exactly right! And because they are not you, they have their own goals and dreams so try to work with your partner, understand how they are wired, what makes them happy and understand that it may not be what you like or want, and that’s ok. It’s not always about you, and you have to do things that often you don’t like too (this one is always hard for me but I try to be present about it).
7. Say I love you, I’m sorry and Kiss every day!
I’m not an expert but studies show that the more you say I love you,I’m sorry, kiss or touch your partner…Sharing emotional feelings and care can often keep couples closer, longer and forever as we all have needs and wants. Marriage is harder than running a business because you can ignore somethings, someone or more than one person in a business but you can’t do that in a good quality marriage. Say I’m sorry and don’t expect anything in return.
8. Recognize the fights, quarrels and disagreements!
It’s vital to know that you and your spouse have different personalities, likes, wants and sometimes communication isn’t as clear as it should be! I know I’m not perfect and man times…did I say many times yet?…Have I been a sucker to following my ego and trying to communicate based on what I think I should say vs. what’s right. Being mindful and prepared helps you deal with your friend Ego when he /she calls.
9. Keep your fights, arguments private.
If there is any couple out there that doesn’t fight then they are not real. I don’t mean fist fight that’s unacceptable and happens (please seek help for that) but it’s not a true marriage if it’s always 100% of the time perfect with no issues, no debates or no conflict. Be careful though that when there is conflict keep it private especially from your parents as getting too many noses involved means now you have pressure and gossip happening behind your back which always leads to disappointment, rumours and unnecessary people knowing your business.
10 . Every marriage needs a coach, never suffer in private!
Too many marriages fail and continue to fail because no coaching was involved. How stupid, would it be if everyone thought that marriage doesn’t need periodic counselling? Just like athletes need a coach, students need a teacher and your car needs a mechanic. A marriage needs an outsiders view on whats happening, what needs to happen to fix or improve anything and how it should be done. And too many couples feel embarrassed to get the help they need and often fail.
11. Know that every fight is your partner’s way of saying I need you!
A great client of mine and an amazing marriage coach told me once that ALL couples spiral off in figure 8 dances. What she meant was, you get mad and act rude to them, causing them to get mad and spiral off on their own and ignore you leaving you upset and then when they come to their happy self and come back to you, your ego is still mad at them and often pivots or spirals away distancing you from them and then rehashing the entire cycle. This can go on for days, weeks even months. Every fight is due to someone’s needs not being met so know that marriage is 50/50 and you need to listen to each other’s needs!
12. Marriage is the savour to the soul
A good marriage will make you feel rich, strong, confident, alive, vibrant, energetic, young again, spiritual and with poise. A marriage blessed by God and those who love you is the only thing we need to help us mature and grow old together with companions for life. A good marriage can make any million or billionaire feel alone and poor, as a good marriage brings food to the soul and makes every day more happier together because you have that special person there.
13. Don’t get comfortable or lazy, surprise each other!
It’s too easy to get comfortable after a few kids, mortgage, careers and being together for 15+ years. Francesca and I are at 24 years together and some of the best memories of my life will go down in my grave with her beside me and them! However, just like working together (which I’m telling you is the hardest thing for any couples to do!), and seeing each other in pj’s at home we do get comfortable and can easily take advantage of each others time, love and efforts! Stop and recognize each other, compliment each other, exercise together, cook together, shower together, experiment with new romantic exercises and make the time to surprise them from time to time. It’s needed or the flames will burn out.
14. Make date night non-negotiable or take breaks together!
Two beautiful kids later, running a business side by side for 11 years, battling life’s stresses, those who envy our relationship and passion after 24 years and dealing with the emotional roller coster of having to compromise on everything you do together as a couple…life chips away at your love and it takes one (or both of you) to recognize this and make time for date night. Schedule it in as an appointment every week, 2nd week or month, put money aside for it and tell people to try and not stop your date nights so you can continue to grow older together and have meaning together. The saddest thing I can ever imagine is a couple being together for 50 years having the most boring marriage, boring milestones or not even celebrating them and then passing and saying I wish i could have….
15. Never go to bed without a kiss goodnight!
It’s hard, it may take you to drop the ego, it may mean you sometimes have to say I’m sorry for no reason going to bed mad, means waking up mad or with attitude. It’s hard to always agree but settling a fight at night makes waking up easier for both of you and gives you time to sleep off the nonsense that you were arguing about in the first place.
I want to take this moment to thank my amazing and beautiful wife Francesca for all of her help in my life, throughout my broke ass college days where bodybuilding, work and eating were my only hobbies. Throughout my 11 years of running (what I think) has been one of the most successful fitness studios in Toronto! For putting up with my obsessive-compulsive personality of always needing to be right or do what I feel sporadically , emotionally which hasn’t always been the right way! Thank you for teaching me patience, true love, resilience and to be confident while navigating our business through Covid-19 and all the other challenges with more to come! Thanks for listening to me talk about the studio, employees, marketing, sales and how shitty my day was every day at night, when we are out and when we shouldn’t be talking about work!!!
Thanks for placing your wants, needs or career dreams to help ours come true and for giving me the ability to be the most important person in the world and that’s a dad to our two beautiful kids, Milena and Dimitrius. Mazel tov, this day is for us! And I will always love you and never be perfect!
HAPPY 15 YEARS MARRIED, 24 TOGETHER AND A LIFETIME OF LOVE TO LAST US!