Marriage Advice Better Than “Don’t Go To Bed Mad”

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My husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage today, and while that makes me feel giddy and proud, there is also something about the fact we have been marriage for that long, that is making me feel really…old. Like, really? Has it really be 15 years? Wow.

We have been through a lot in those 15 years.

The first 14 pretty much fell in the “for better” category.  When life is sailing along crisis-free, it’s easy to take life for granted. This year, with the tragic loss of my mom, we have been undoubtedly been through “for worse”. Yet, he has stood by my side every step. God bless him.

For all the awful things I am going through grieving the loss of my mom, I think how awful it must be for him, to always being the strong one while watching your wife grieve. But we made it through, and we are still making it through. Witnessing his commitment to us has strengthened us. It might be one of the silver linings, we are stronger as a result of this “for worse” year. Nothing tests a relationship like crisis.

Marriage Advice

Photo cred: Melissa Wilson


My mom and I had the time of our life planning our wedding back in 2001. We were two peas-in-a-pod with our love for parties, celebrations and “cute details”.  The wedding was the party to end all parties for both of us and we had SO much fun together.

After the wedding, she gave me as a gift, a secret journal she kept starting with the day we got engaged. In it, she documented all the details of the engagement, planning and wedding and all the things we did together.

At the end of the journal, my parents both shared their tips and advice on marriage. My parents were married 46 years and were one of those couples that had something special. They were genuinely, truly happy together.

Here they are on August 16th, 1969…

parents collage

I pulled out the Journal today to read her words again.

Here are some my mom said…

“The promise and commitment of marriage is the most incredible gift.”

Treat your husband as your best friend every day of your life.”

“There will be ups & downs, highs & lows, but always be there for each other.”

Listen to each other and compromise if needed.”

“….and kiss him every night when you or he walks in!”

“Always” and “nevers” advice from my dad…

“Always listen to your partner twice as much as you talk. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth.”

Never use sarcasm with each other, it’s often times an insult in disguise.”

“Always remember what is easy or difficult for you might not be easy or difficult for your partner. Embrace your differences, for they are what makes your marriage unique.”

“Always make your partner look good in front of others.

Never keep secrets from one another. Share feelings and try not to keep things inside and you’ll both grow.”

Never make major decisions when you are acutely emotional. Wait a day, take 100 deep breaths.  Most of the stupid decisions I have made in my life have been during times of high emotion.”

“Always treat your partner even better than you would your best friend.

“Never set your partner up to fail, rather set your partner up to succeed.

And then my moms ends with…

“And now you can even better understand why I love your father so much! He is an incredible person, I am so lucky to have him as my partner in life!”

Someone hand me the tissues.

This past weekend we celebrated our anniversary in Laguna Beach and had dinner at The Deck, which used to be a wedding venue called Pacific Edge, where we got married.

When we walked in I felt immediately nostalgic, thinking of that day, my mom and how special that place was to her as well. At that exact moment,  a guy walks right towards me with this amazing monarch butterfly on his finger and I tell him I believe it is for me. He hands it to me. I just know it was a sign from her, letting me know she is still right here with us.  Hug your loved ones today friends. Give your husband or wife an extra kiss. Appreciate each other.  Life is fleeting.



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  1. 1
    Lynn Clark says:

    That was beautiful. I can just hear your mom & dad sharing their advice. Yes, they did have one of those “one in a million, made in heaven marriages”, but I think you and Stephan do too. “Happy Anniversary”! I know your mom is looking down and wishing you the same…..

  2. 2
    Dana M says:

    Jen….such a sweet and touching post. Great words of advice from your parents. it sounds like they had an amazing marriage!

  3. 3
    Elyse says:

    Jen, you are the best. I sent the advise to Scotty…Your parents are amazing.
    This was a very nice way to start my day! Thank you! Sniff,sniff.

  4. 4
    jen says:

    Thank you for taking the time to leave these thoughtful comments friends. Love you for taking the time to read….xoxoxoxxo

  5. 5
    Lee Vujnovich says:

    Jen, this is by far my favorite post!!! Your parents had a magical life, for sure – something most don’t get. I will keep this advise on hand forever to hopefully have a fraction of what your patents had. Thank you for sharing and Happy Anniversary xoxo

    • 6
      jen says:

      Thank you Lee for reading, and commenting. xoxxoxo

  6. 7
    Melanie says:

    Jen, you are so blessed to have these amazing role models for a strong marriage! No wonder you and Suzanne turned out so great. Lots of love to you. xoxo

    • 8
      jen says:

      I saw something on Facebook recently that said, “Model the marriage you want your children to have.” Powerful, right? We were blessed to have my parent’s marriage as a model. It has an impact for sure.

  7. 9
    Ria says:

    I’ve lost a parent, too. I have an incredible husband and shared this with him and we just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write and share about love, marriage and the brief time we have together on earth – it was so beautiful in so many ways.

    • 10
      jen says:

      What a beautiful comment, you made my morning. Thank you Ria. My heart breaks with yours over your loss. It sounds like you have an amazing partner in life too. We are truly blessed!

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