good life with debra lee
Part of cultivating a good life is building and strengthening marital bonds.
We’ve been married for 44 years! Whoa! Sometimes I can’t even believe how long that is, yet it seems much shorter. Time flies when you’re having fun and in love! But, as in all marriages (and life in general), there were times of joy and bliss and times of disappointment, anger, frustration, and heartache.
As I have pondered about what has kept us together all these years, I have realized that there are a few things that make our marriage work and long lasting. I’ve summed them up in four categories:
1) Appreciation to one another and all the little things that you do for each other. It’s the little things that often mean the most. Saying “thank you” to your spouse is important! Sometimes I think we feel we don’t need to actually say the words because we feel our partner should already know that. However, I think it is one of the most important things to say to each other aside from “I love you.” Genuine gratitude for all the details in our lives helps us continue to do things for each other and feel more love for one another. I saw this quote recently and it really is true: “It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.”
2) Making time for each other even in our busy, hectic scheduled lives is vital to a happy, fulfilling marriage. Yes, that means date night regularly! I know it was difficult to carve out time to get away for an afternoon or evening just to be alone with each other. Even when our house was full of children, 6 of them, we managed to make time to spend alone away from them, even for just an hour. What a difference it makes to reconnect and just focus on each other without other little faces and bodies vying for your attention.
3) Support each other in every part of their life. (Even when you think they are crazy for such wild ideas!) I can truly say that I have had my husband’s support in everything I have ever ventured to do. Even when I waned in my resolve to do something or even just gave up, he was always there to encourage me and support whatever decisions I made. I, on the other hand, have taken a little longer to be as supportive as he is. My husband is one of those adventurous guys who likes to challenge his boundaries and that has been difficult for me at times. But I am developing that quality and can see the difference it makes in our lives together. We all need cheerleaders in our lives and who better to be our best cheerleader than our spouse!
4) Check in and share with each other every day. This is how we stay connected! With the invention of cell phones and emojis, we have a plethora of ways to connect. We have learned, even at our age, how to send cute emojis or GIFs that express our sentiments and love to each other or to let each other know we’re thinking about them. When we’re apart, we text or call each other multiple times a day. Most of those calls or texts are just to say “I love you” or “I miss you.” It always brings a smile to my face and reminds me how much I love him and he loves me. Before this wonderful invention, however, there were lots of love notes. I would find notes in a book I was reading or on the dashboard of my car when I got in to go to work in the morning. I reciprocated by leaving notes in his briefcase or by his pillow. Simple, regular reminders of our love keep that fire burning for each other. You can never say I love you too much!
As the years go by, I realize what a wonderful life I have. My life is enriched by the love I have and feel for my husband and the love he has for me. We have this because we worked hard at it through the good times and the struggles. And it was worth every second! He is my greatest treasure and I know that I am his. I have found no greater happiness in life than to know that.
a note from becky
Debra is a dear personal friend to Toni (our shop manager). A devoted Project Lifer, a student in my classroom, and a huge fan of our Simple Notebooks (I hear she has every single one of them!) … Toni shares that Debra is one of the most kind-hearted, generous souls she has ever known. In fact, Toni tells me she wants to be like Debra and her husband Carl when she grows up: “I’ve never seen a couple more in love than these two, honestly. Two of the greatest examples of Christlike love that I have ever been around.”
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