We’re at Steamworks, our favorite restaurant, with our four boys last week and our server asks if Wesley, my one year old, who is in my eighteen year old Garrett’s arms at the time is Garrett’s son.

As our whole table busted up laughing – since we get asked this all the time and it really bothers Garrett – I informed her that he was mine and Garrett is his older brother. Now, Garrett looks like he’s in his mid twenties and is great with Wesley, as are all my boys, so it’s hard to blame the server for assuming.

But then, she took it a step further by asking if Wesley and Garrett were from different marriages. We’ve also been asked this a bunch of times before – although I do think it’s rather intrusive and rude for a stranger to ask.

Again our table let out a laugh since tonight we were celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary. After I shared that with our server she just kinda walked away.

It hit me that the reality of us being married for so long was probably stranger than if my eighteen year old son had a baby. SO WEIRD!

My husband Brent and I feel blessed to have found each other and to have the amazing life we enjoy, but it hasn’t always been this easy or fun.

I was twenty and Brent was twenty two when we got married and boy oh boy were we both hard headed.

So how’d we do it? How have we stayed together and are more in love than ever?

Here are my 5 tips if you want to make marriage work – or any relationship work for that matter!

1. Focus on the LOVE. I know, I know, a bit corny I guess, but it’s true. It’s sure hard to stay mad, fight meanly or break up if you keep in mind all the things you love about your husband. I mean there were times I was so mad that I actually had to start listing things I loved about him in my head to stop from screaming at him – but hey, we’re all human.

2. Act and have the attitude of being part of an epic love story. I’m constantly thinking of ways to help and do sweet things for my husband. We hold hands. We kiss often – sometimes to the embarrassment of our teenage boys. Stay close and always do the things that show you love and appreciate each other.

3. GROW together. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be married to my husband’s twenty two year old self. We both have grown and changed and let that bring us closer together. I believe that all happy marriages have to have this component. We’ve built thriving businesses, had businesses crash and burn, we’ve lost loved ones and survived having three babies in 3 years – all because we’ve chosen to grow together.

4. We’re honest. When I’m unhappy, not only do I do something to change it, I tell my husband so he knows what he can do to help – and vise-versa. Don’t wait until things get really bad or you’re so resentful or mad that you can’t fix it. Do something about it as soon as you notice and give your husband the chance to help.

5. Never, ever leave when you’re mad OR talk to anyone else. This may sound impossible, but there’ve been lots of times where we might have not resolved our issues if we didn’t stick to this rule. When you leave, you’re out of each other’s energy fields and bound to find distractions which temporarily take the pressure off. AND usually you’ll seek out someone to talk to, to vent to – which totally takes your focus away from each other and again gives you a false sense of relief. If you’re together, stick it out and stay together – in the same place, and working it out.

These 5 things have kept us together – and since we generally will tell you we are two of the most stubborn (or tenacious as I like to call it) people on the planet – I know that these things work.

Plus there’s a lot of difference between a marriage you’re suffering through and one that you’re still crazy in love with!

So take a moment and start making that list of things you love about your husband so you’re ready the next time you feel angry!

Oh, and remember that when your relationships are out of whack, the less energy you have to manifest with which generally only complicates everything.

Hope this helps.

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