1. What you would tell them if you only had an hour left. I have known several young brides who lost their husbands in heartbreaking ways within the first four years of marriage. I know that if I die tragically, my husband knows in great detail exactly how much he means to me.
2. How they made you feel on that first date. When I close my eyes and think about it, I can see him walking into Barnes & Noble to pick me up. I get the same rush of joy now as I did four years ago. I remind him of this every year.
3. What you need. He’s not a mind reader. His mind really does think in completely different ways. I’m still learning this. I catch myself thinking “how could he not KNOW THIS ABOUT ME?!” on a regular basis. I stop, find the calmest words possible, and express what I need. Sometimes he takes it well, sometimes he doesn’t. But at least I’ve said it.
4. Any type of flattery. If Frank loses five pounds, I congratulate him. If he does something for me, I thank him. If he wears a shirt that makes him look handsome, I tell him. My goal is to encourage more than I criticize. I haven’t quite made it there yet, maybe by our tenth anniversary…
5. I’m sorry. This list makes me seem super mature. I’m sure you thinking we have the perfect marriage. We don’t. We routinely get in fights where I bring out the infamous “you always” and “you never” statements. When we calm down, I force an apology out of my mouth. It hurts, every time. But the relief of being at peace with my husband is worth more than my pride.