Obviously, he’s not a relationship expert. But after losing a marriage of almost 16 years, this gives him perspective of things that he wishes he would have done differently.
Never stop dating
Never ever take her for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be the man that would own her heart and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. She chose you. Never forget that. Never get lazy in your love.
Protect your own heart
Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for her. Keep that space always ready for her and refuse to let anyone enter there.
Fall in love over and over again
You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were dating her. She doesn’t have to stay with you, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else, and you may never be able to get it back.
Always see the best in her
What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to have her as your wife.
It’s not your job to change or fix her
Your job is to love her as she has no idea of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
Take full accountability
Take full accountability for your own emotions. It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and also she can’t make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
Never blame her
If you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of you. They are your emotions and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of you that is asking to be healed.
Allow her to just be
When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to hold her and let her know it’s fine. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. Don’t run away when she’s upset. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
Fill her soul everyday
Learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and cherished. Ask her to create a list of things that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make them a priority everyday.
Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully with her. Treat her as your most valuable client. Actually she is.
Don’t be an idiot
And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
Give her space
Sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Tell her to take time for herself. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you and the world.
Be fully transparent
If you want to have trust you must be willing to share everything. Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in. Drop the mask and show up perfect all the time. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
Never stop growing together
The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.
Don’t worry about money
Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.
Focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. Forgiveness is freedom and cut the anchor loose.
Always choose love
In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.