Hitting a major milestone in the middle of a pandemic is still cause for celebration. Twenty years of marriage brings joy and reflection. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Hitting a major milestone in the middle of a pandemic is still cause for celebration. Twenty years of marriage brings joy and reflection. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Twenty tips for a happy marriage — especially during a pandemic

Two decades of as husband and wife brings joy and reflection. Here are 20 life lessons they’ve learned along the way.

My husband and I were supposed to celebrate our 20th anniversary on a family cruise in the Caribbean this week. Instead, we are at home in Edmonds, ordering Door Dash.

It feels like the past two decades have gone by in a flash. Here are 20 life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. Don’t make your partner wake up or go to sleep when they don’t want to. Respect that they are adults in charge of their own schedule.

2. Make eye contact and smile when they enter a room. That sounds easy, but it can be hard to remember to look up from your phone.

3. Clean up after yourself. But if your partner cooks you dinner, clean up after them.

4. Take turns waking up in the middle of the night with babies.

5. Say what you mean in a nice way. Don’t hold your emotions in, but don’t let them explode either.

6. Use “I statements.” For example: “I would like you to replace the light fixture,” is a lot better than: “Why haven’t you dealt with the new lamp yet?”

7. Listen more than you talk.

8. When you discover a pile of clean laundry on the bed, fold it.

9. Find a TV series that you enjoy watching together. If you have small children, sometimes Netflix is your best chance for together-time.

10. Make friends with your in-laws.

11. Support your partner’s path to good health. Take care of the kids so your spouse can exercise and expect that they will do the same for you.

12. Pay attention to their stories from work, even if you don’t understand anything they’re saying. At the very least, remember their co-workers’ names.

13. Respect their hobbies. You want your partner to be happy, right?

14. Don’t send your partner into a situation where they will fail. Mow the lawn if they are allergic to grass. Do the grocery shopping if they become confused in Fred Meyer.

15. Make an effort with your appearance — after the pandemic, that is. In the meantime, keep rocking those sweatpants.

16. Encourage your partner to follow their dreams.

17. If your partner has a hard time waking up in the morning, make them coffee and don’t expect lucid conversation until after they drink it.

18. Forgive your spouse for feeding the dog pork roast that later made the dog puke. It’s not your partner’s fault the dog is so cute.

19. Be honest about money, including how much you earn and how much you spend. Be honest with yourself, too.

20. Be their cheerleader. Everyone deserves someone who roots for them.

Champagne and sparkling cider with our children over a table laden with take-out boxes is still a celebration. Who knows? Twenty years from now, in 2040, maybe we’ll finally take that Caribbean cruise and bring our future grandkids.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

This image provided by Higgins Design Studio shows an open Murphy bed. (Mentis Photography/Higgins Design Studio via AP)
Pandemic-era design solution from the past: the Murphy bed

The beds that emerge from a wall to instantly transform a living room into a bedroom date from more than a century ago.

R.J. Whitlow, co-owner of 5 Rights Brewery, has recently expanded to the neighboring shop, formerly Carr's Hardware. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
County craft breweries’ past lives: hardware store, jail

Most breweries in Snohomish County operate in spaces that formerly housed something far different — from boat builders to banks.

Red apples with leaves isolated over white background. Gala apple. Top view
Everything you never wanted to know about fruit tree pollination

If your trees are blooming and not setting fruit, the most likely culprit is poor pollination.

Cryptomeria japonica “Sekkan-sugi”
Great Plant Pick: Cryptomeria japonica “Sekkan-sugi”

If you love golden foliage, the golden Japanese cedar is for you. When planted against a dark green backdrop, it shines like a beacon.

Moving eyes add interest to an antique clock. This blinking-owl clock sold for $1,900 at a Morford's auction in 2021.
These antique clocks have shifty eyes that move with time

More modern moving-eye clocks include the Kit-Cat clock, a fixture in nurseries since 1932.

Heroes.jpg: Characters in the fantasy world in “She Kills Monsters” at Red Curtain Arts Center, running Jan. 28-Feb. 13, include (front row) Erin Smith as Lilith, Katelynn Carlson as Kaliope; (middle row) Marina Pierce as Tillius, Lucy Johnson as Agnes; (back row) Daniel Hanlon as Orcus.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Dungeons & Dragons collides with reality in “She Kills Monsters” at Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville.

Caption: Stay-at-home parents work up to 126 hours a week. Their labor is valuable even without a paycheck.
A mother’s time is not ‘free’ — and they put in 126-hour workweeks

If you were to pay a stay-at-home mom or dad for their time, it would cost nearly $200,000 a year.

Linda Miller Nicholson from Fall City, Washington, holds up rainbow pasta she just made in the commercial kitchen at her Fall City home, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.  The rainbow wall behind her is in her backyard. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle TImes/TNS)
This King County woman’s rainbow pasta signals her values

Linda Miller Nicholson sculpts colorful noodles that reflect her personality and pro-LGBTQ+ pride.

CloZee performs during the second day of Summer Meltdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

Most Read