Regina’s 17 Lessons from 17 years of Marriage

Once the wedding is over, the real magic begins: the marriage.

A wedding can overshadow the marriage. The cake, the band, the hall, the food, the flowers, the gown. I love the prayer that Prince William and Kate Middleton composed together. They wrote:

“In the busyness of each day, keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.”

Regina and Bruce

Regina with her husband Bruce

How do you do that? My wedding anniversary is next week.   Here’s what I’ve learned in 17 years of marriage to my prince, Bruce:

  1. Agree to disagree. No one has to win or lose an argument. Honor and celebrate your differences.
  2. When you both get stuck, pause and reboot. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Take a breather. Reboot yourself and the relationship.
  3. Take the aerial view. Rise above the present moment and remember all the good your spouse did last week, last month & last year.
  4. Remind each other constantly, “We’re in this for the long haul.” That got us through the year I was bald and sick from cancer.
  5. If a relationship has to be secret, you shouldn’t be in it. If you can’t tell your spouse about the lunch you’re having with an old lover, cancel the lunch date.
  6. Honesty isn’t just about telling the truth, it’s also about not withholding it. Don’t withhold information important for your spouse to know.
  7. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Speak up for what you want on Valentine’s Day, your birthday or even on Tuesday.
  8. Be kind. If you think an unkind thought, it doesn’t have to tumble out of your mouth like a gumball.
  9. Enhance each other’s lives. Every morning, ask yourself: What can I do to bless my partner’s life today?
  10. Listen without your toolbox. You don’t have to fix every problem. Just listen and be present.
  11. Lead with love. Is what you’re about to say or do kind, loving or helpful? If not, don’t say or do it.
  12. Pause and ask yourself: How important is this? Will it matter in five minutes? Five months? Five years?
  13. When you’re wrong, promptly admit it. Clean up your side of the street as soon as you see that it needs sweeping.
  14. Any time your emotions are bigger than what just happened, your childhood button just got hit. We all have one. Deal with your past demons or they’ll deal with you.
  15. You are CEO of your own joy. Light your own inner sparkler. No one can snuff it out. Feed your own soul and you’ll never go hungry.
  16. When you don’t know what to do with your spouse, simply add more love.
  17. Relax your heart. That way more love can get in and get out.