In a few months, my wife and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary. A few weeks ago we surpassed 23 years together. It’s not uncommon for someone to ask, “How has she put up with you for this long?”.

Fair question.

My stock answer goes something like this: “Before I got married I decided that every morning I’d wake up, roll over, look at my wife and say, I’m sorry. This way, I’m either apologizing for something I didn’t know I did, or I’m getting the first one out of the way!”.

23 years together. Given the percentage of people our age that are on their first or second divorce, this is something we’re proud of. It’s also something we’ve fought for. The real answer to the question is complicated, just like marriage.


If you think a relationship shouldn’t require hard work, I’d ask how many long-term relationships you’ve had. If you aren’t working hard at it, you’re doing it wrong. There’s no freakin’ way I can tell you how to have a successful relationship in one post, so let me give you my favorite tip. This works on a number of different levels, but why is less relevant and more than I have time to get into here.

Few things will strengthen a marriage than having a daily goal to MAKE HER DAY BETTER.

Find one thing every day that you can do with that goal in mind and your relationship will improve dramatically.


Almost without fail, my wife needs to get gas (petrol for all of my readers across the pond) in her car before the week starts. On Sunday, I usually do the shopping for the week (another example) and I take her car if I know it’s low on gas so I can fill it up. Monday morning when she’s running late, scrambles to get out of the house, THEN finds out she doesn’t have to stop on the way to work and I get a thank you text.

Flickr photo by Robert Couse-Baker

It’s not the grandiose gestures that matter. It’s the small, simple things like taking the kid(s) for a while so she can have a nap…which is happening even as I type this. It also doesn’t have to be something different every day, it just has to make a difference.

My wife usually comes home, unloads, and reloads the dishwasher. Recently she’s had to work a few late nights and has come home exhausted. I know she appreciates it when she walks in and the dishes are done, the laundry is folded, and the boy’s clothes are laid out for the next day. Simple, quick, helpful.


Nothing. Don’t do it with the expectation of anything in return. Funny thing is, it’s not uncommon for your partner to pick up on this and start doing the same thing for you. But that can’t be the goal.

Years ago I was working late nights myself, had a busy weekend ahead, and was dreading mowing the lawn…in Summer…in Texas. After two weeks of not doing yard work due to rain and my schedule, it looked slightly more like a rain forest than a suburban lawn. I came home one evening to find it mowed.

My wife will be the first person to admit she has no idea how to start a lawnmower, but she did know how to ask the lawn crew working next door to take care of it for me. Coming home to find the yard in tip-top-shape with no effort from me was a relief and freed up family time for my weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how it’s done.

Leave a comment or tag me on your favorite social media below and let me know of an example of when you’ve done this for your partner. (Sending this post does not count, but share it with the rest of your friends!)

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