15 Tips to Stay Married For 25 years, 4 Months and 9 Days

Please join me in welcoming Pamela Hodges to Confessions of a Terrible Husband. Pamela writes at I Paint I Write and has been married a long time! She's here to share some of her secrets to success with us! Let us know what resonates with you in the comments. 🙂 Any you agree with? Any you disagree with? Let us know!

15 Tips To Stay Married for Twenty-five Years, Four Months and Nine DaysMy husband and I met on January 26th, 1990 at the Atusgi Naval Base, Atsugi Japan. I was working as a photographer in Tokyo and he was working as a Naval officer stationed on the Midway. Five days after we met I drew him a picture of what I wanted my engagement ring to look like. Four days later he shipped out. Twenty-seven days after we met he proposed to me on the phone from a port stop.

We were married on September, 22nd, 1990 in Wayzata, Minnesota. Twenty-five years, four months and nine days later we are still married.

Fifteen Tips To Stay Married for Twenty-five Years, Four Months and Nine days.

  1. Buy Expensive Tissue. When your spouse is sick in bed with a bad cough and a runny nose and they only have septic safe toilet paper to blow their nose, offer to go the store even if it is ten o’clock at night. Buy the softest tissue they have.
  1. Close the bathroom door when you are pooping or peeing. And don’t walk in on your spouse when they are pooping or peeing. Keep the romance alive and keep your butt wiping private.
  1. Put down your phone when you are on a date. You really can wait to find out the score for the basketball game you are missing. My husband still needs to work on this one.
  1. Remember a glass on the counter by the dishwasher is just a glass on the counter by the dishwasher. I have to work on this one. Sometimes the glass on the counter feels like a personal insult.
  1. Don’t talk badly about your spouse in public. Ever. Not even once. If it is a story about when they locked they keys in the car three times last week, ask if you can tell the story first.
  1. Have sex frequently. When I told my husband what I was writing for number six, I said, “I could use improvement on this one. “ He said, “Yes, you could.”
  1. Have sex only with your spouse. That goes for kissing too. Borrow your neighbour's lawnmower, or their carousel horse, but not their spouse.
  1. Always tell the truth. If you just bought a carousel horse at an auction for six-hundred dollars, tell him the truth. And if you are the spouse that had to find a truck to pick up the carousel horse, be nice. You never know when you might buy a six-hundred dollar carousel horse and need grace.
  1. Pray together. Prayer kept us together. Even after I threw a pot.
  1. Keep your spouse's secrets. Don’t tell your friends that your husband picks their nose. You want to feel safe to share your feelings with your spouse. Be trust worthy.
  1. Be nice. See rule number eight about the carousel horse.
  1. Listen. And when you are listening, pay attention to the other person, don’t just be waiting to tell your own story. Please, please, give your spouse a chance to explain why they bought the carousel horse.
  1. Feel free to fart in front of each other. I know that might seem to go against rule number 2, the pooping rule, but holding flatulence in all day, is not easy. If this rule bothers you, then step outside or fart in the bathroom. If a fart sneaks out before they can run outside, give your spouse grace. We all have gas.
  1. Don’t talk about your spouse’s feeling to other people. Three-way communication is ineffective. If someone wants to know what your spouse thinks, encourage them to ask your spouse.
  1. Encourage your spouse to keep dreaming and following their passions. Life is not stagnant. We are always learning and growing. The person you married is changing, they will not be the exactly same person you married twenty-five years ago. Grow with them.

Your spouse is your friend, your lover and your biggest fan. Encourage your spouse to keep dreaming and following their passions.

Two years ago I started taking classes at the local community college. I have taken classes in Computer Graphics, Typography, and Page Layout and Design.

Last fall I made an adult coloring book, “Color The Cats – Forty Real Cats From Around The World and Their Stories,” in my Page Lay-Out and Design class.

The book was independently published on Amazon on December, 16th, 2015. 10% of all proceeds from the book go Best Friends Animal Society.


p.s. I bought the carousel horse after we had been married for about seven months. If I hadn’t been outbid on the wooden chicken I would never have bid on the horse.

4 things I learned about conflict from successful couples that revolutionized my marriage

Number 3 shocked me.

I'm excited to welcome my friend Jamie Slingerland as a contributor to the blog. Jamie is Associate Coach at View From the Top who focuses on helping younger men enjoy success and significance in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.

A dedicated husband of thirteen years, to Ruthie, and father of four young children, Jamie knows the struggles and responsibilities of owning a home-based business while at the same time committing to not watering down the quality of interactions with the people who matter most, his family. Having pulled themselves out of almost $90,000 in debt and a burn-out lifestyle, Jamie and his family now enjoy spending time learning together through homeschooling and traveling the country. Please join me in welcoming Jamie to Confessions of a Terrible Husband!

4 things i learned about conflict that revolutionized my marriageDo you feel bad when you and your spouse have conflict?

Does it take days for you to air out the room after a bitter war of words?

If so, you’re not alone. For years I thought the ideal marriage had zero conflict.

No disagreements.No arguments. Ever.

So when my wife and I argued it made me feel like a big fat failure.

And feeling like a big fat failure made me say some pretty dumb things and, ultimately, hurt some feelings.

After the emotions died down I'd replay the argument in my head and end up with hurt feelings myself.

We both felt disconnected.

After spending the last few years spending as much time as possible with couples who had successful marriages, I understand that cycle much better, as well as how laughable my marriage mindset was at the time.

I used to feel terrible (pun intended) because my marriage had conflict.

Over the last few years, however, I've observed four things by hanging out with those successful couples.

1. A marriage without any conflict often means somebody has lost heart, or hope, or is suffering in silence.

Even the most loving couples have conflict. The difference is that their conflict is resolved well. They don't let it escalate to hurt feelings.

2. Couples who are growing together learn how to handle and manage conflict with more maturity and empathy.

One of the keys to a strong marriage is how they handle that conflict. Slowing down and reminding yourself to act maturely and with empathy can go a long way with keeping the right mindset until the conflict is resolved.

3. Arguing with your spouse the right way can actually be unifying and provide another opportunity to grow together.

Can arguments actually be a good thing? Because they are inevitable, yes, they definitely can. Arguing the right way is calm, mature, empathetic, and healthy. Resolving conflict together is a big deal and something that can bring you together. Once healthy conflict resolution becomes the norm, there's no more sneaking around, avoiding issues, or dreading walking through that front door. Knowing that any conflicts are going to be handled well, and respectfully, brings your marriage to a whole new level.

4. Conflict can help you love your spouse even more.

Over time, handling conflict will have a snowball effect and give you even more to love about your spouse. You will not only value the respect they give to your viewpoints and the grace with which they handle the differences of opinions, you will begin to enjoy them and see how their uniqueness adds to your uniqueness to make both of you better. You will love that they are different than you, more and more, once those differences stop leading to arguments and hurt feelings.

Remember, if you were both the same, one of you wouldn’t be necessary!

I could go on and on about what I've learned from hanging out with happily-married couples who have been married decades longer than me, but the lessons I learned about conflict are some of my favorites.

What's the last thing you learned from another couple to help strengthen your marriage?

4 Tools for Keeping Discussions from Becoming Arguments

Ashley Logsdon shares 4 ways you can keep conversations calm

I'm excited to introduce one of our newest contributors to Confessions of a Terrible Husband, Ashley Logsdon. Ashley connected with our post last week and is here to continue the conversation to help you and me keep conversations from escalating into arguments. You'll see more about Ashley at the end of the post. Please welcome Ashley to Confessions of a Terrible Husband!
4 Tools for Keeping Discussions from Becoming ArgumentsLast week, Nick shared how to have an argument-free marriage. My first inclination is that a marriage without disagreements isn't a very deep one. However…I then read deeper into it and realized that the issue at hand is not about disagreeing – it's about the word “argument”.

If you look up the definition of “argument”, it says this:




an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.
a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

Well, that does it. I sure don't want to argue in my household – what that states is there is clearly a win-lose situation.

An argument is closed; a discussion is not.

When you discuss, you exchange views and opinions while flowing back and forth in conversation. You allow for insights and growth, and it is a two-way street.

A discussion is not a monologue.

An argument, however, might as well be, because in an argument, you are simply arguing your case, not necessarily hearing anything else (or the wrong side, since we all know when we argue, we are the correct one…or is that just me?)

In my work with helping families connect with one another in deeper ways, I focus a lot on understanding personality styles and how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

Understanding how we are all uniquely wired is a critical component in figuring out how to communicate in a way that the other person can resonate with.

For example, although I am happy to just get to the end result and “fix it,” my husband wants to talk it out a bit. His healing and understanding is more due to the process of me listening and investing in him enough to hear him out vs. just jumping to the magic pill solution.

So, how do we approach discussions?

    1. Remember what makes them tick. I love the DISC Personality profiles and share about the gifts and fears of each style. When we play on a fear a person has, they immediately go on the defensive. Any strength, when overused, can become a weakness. And when you do or say something that triggers a fear, like a loss of security, criticism, or they feel like they are taken advantage of, then you will see their weaknesses rear their ugly heads in a way that definitely creates a losing battle. We all have ways in which we are motivated – positively and negatively. The more you openly discuss this with your spouse, and learn what shuts them down or gets them riled up, the more you are equipped to communicate in a way that heals instead of hurts.
    2. When you feel so mad, that you want to ROAR… My sweet daughter Ellie just did a video on how to deal with being mad, and the song is super catchy and an easy practice for all of us – major kudos to Daniel Tiger for teaching my girls some excellent tools for dealing with daily life issues. Bottom line, if you are angry enough to say something you will regret, take a step back and a deep breath in. Don't run away from a fight – simply communicate that you need a breather to think clearly, and commit to coming back to a discussion instead. Our feelings are powerful and fully valid. Yet when we want to communicate our feelings to others, we need to allow for a balance between heart and head and use some wisdom with how to communicate them in a way that doesn't attack.
    3. your feelings are yours alone. no matterTake center stage, and own it. After you take that breather, allow for a moment to speak your piece, and let your spouse do the same. Don't monologue it out, and don't attack. Explain what you feel – not what they did. Explain your own emotions without playing the blame game. And then, shut up and let them do the same without defending anything. Remember that you have no power over someone's feelings. Regardless of what emotions are brought up, you can share your feelings, and then make a conscious decision on whether you are going to allow those feelings to foster negativity or growth in your life. Feel it, voice it, and let it go. Choose to grow.
    4. Touch. When you feel emotionally distant, your body language will reflect it. When you make the physical effort to put down that wall, it's amazing how much it works on your heart as well. Don't stay on the defensive, but meet in the middle. Hold hands. While you work through the feelings going on within, make an effort to physically feel your spouse as well. Hold hands, play footsie, start and end with a hug (or something more….nothing like some make-up sex to really seal the connection!)

Disagreements should be a part of a marriage – it shows that you have two people with independent minds in the relationship, and growth comes from being able to learn something other than what we think in our own heads anyway!

On the wall in our kitchen I have scrawled this quote from the Dalai Lama:

Feel free to disagree.

But please, don't let it become an argument.

What tools to you use to keep heated conversations from erupting into a forest fire?

Ashley Logsdon, a/k/a MamaRose is passionate about relationships and the amazing personalities that connect and inspire.

An insanely optimistic dreamer and implementer, Ashley is gung-ho to take life by the horns and learn from it…and coach others along the way!

Ashley works with families to challenge, inspire, and encourage a home life that is one they truly get excited about and can't wait to not only get home to, but take on the world with.

Life is truly a grand adventure and Ashley wants to push you to move forward with the synergy of a family that is bonded together.

Utilizing personality profiles and living life beyond the box is Ashley's foundation to showcase how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

You can find out more about Ashley or connect with her on her main site, www.MamaSaysNamaste.com.


Is an argument-free marriage possible?

Fawn Weaver shares her story of perspective

Is an agument-free marriage possible-Think back to your last argument with your spouse.

Almost without exception couples who have been married more than ten minutes will have at least one story where a discussion turned into an argument.

They said something they didn't mean.

They focused more on being right than achieving or solving something together.

Or they don't even remember what they were arguing about, but just remember arguing about something.

For some couples, we're talking looking back a matter of hours. Others days, weeks, or months.

But as strange as it seems to terrible husbands like me, some couples have gone years or even decades without arguing.

Get this. They have “conversations” instead.

And not “air quotes” conversations. Actual, productive, calm, respectful conversations to resolve differences in opinions, goals, or plans, for the good of the marriage.

Sure, it's normal to argue. But that doesn't mean it should be accepted as part of “real life.”

Which is why eliminating arguments from my marriage, something we haven't been completely successful at doing yet, is my next big focus on becoming a better husband and creating a marriage worth modeling.

The more I study, it seems as if one secret to having a marriage free from arguments is to have a marriage full of love, respect, and perspective.

Work those three concepts into your mind, body language, and words and you will be well on your way to reducing or eliminating arguments from your marriage.

You will treat “issues” differently. It will become less personal. Less emotional. More conversational.

Don't take it from me, though. You can hear it straight from a great friend of the blog, Fawn Weaver, of the Happy Wives Club, (and the first guest on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast), who recently shared her story of achieving an argument-free marriage in a Ted Talk.

She also has a brand-new book coming out called The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You've Always Wanted with the Spouse You Already Have, which I encourage you to check out, particularly because of the whole “spouse you already have” angle… because without that things could get pretty awkward over the next 28 days….so….

How does Fawn Weaver – the happy wife from The Happy Wives Club – keep arguments out of her marriage?

As you will see, she doesn't give up her identity. She doesn't give up her opinions. She doesn't give up her hopes or dreams.

Her secret is a heavy dose of perspective. Here's her talk. I'll let her explain. Let me know what you think in the comments.

So what do you think?

Is it possible to have a marriage free from arguments?

Have you been able to reduce or eliminate arguments from your marriage?

What has worked best for you?

And once again, be sure to check out Fawn's book and make the next 28 days the catalyst for an incredible marriage!