A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

We’ll end up sittin’ on a rainbow – 11 years and counting! May 16, 2012

This month marks eleven years that Ronnie and I have been married.  Nowadays, that’s quite the accomplishment for a couple our age.  Lots of marriages don’t make it, and many people are on their second or third at this point.

We are still going strong.

I thought I’d share some keys to our successful marriage, since statistically speaking, we’re practically experts in the area.  So, without further ado, here are the Holbert tips to a happy, long-term marriage:

1.  Remember when all your married friends and family gave you that great advice when you were about to tie the knot? – “Never go to bed mad at each other.”  Well, forget that.  Sometimes, all you need to work things out is to get a good night’s rest.  You can always re-evaluate in the morning.  Maybe you’ll still be mad.  Maybe not.  Just sleep when you’re supposed to sleep.  There’s no sense in arguing all night just to avoid going to sleep before working things out.

2. “Play fighting leads to real fighting.”  My mom used to have to tell us this all the time when we would bicker, poke fun, push buttons, and inevitably get carried away and hurt each other’s feelings.  These are wise words.  What starts out as fun teasing about something like the fact that Ronnie could not be on time if he wore seven watches can too quickly turn into something hurtful like Mandy, when was the last time you plucked your eyebrows they’re looking kind of bushy and unibrow-ish?

3. Take interest in the same things.  That’s not to say that you can’t have your own interests, but you should make an effort to enjoy the things that your spouse enjoys.  We camp together – I had never camped before I met Ronnie.  We garden.  We spend time together doing things that we both find enjoyable.  Maybe that’s the main thing – spending time together.

4. Build something together.  Ronnie and I always have some sort of project going.  Working together to accomplish a task has many benefits.  It forces you to adapt to each other’s capabilities, to develop teamwork, to hone your communication skills, to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  There is absolutely nothing that compares to the feeling of working together to build something then sitting back and looking together at the tangible evidence of what you can achieve together.  That’s not to say the whole process will be peaches and cream.  There will be arguments (trust me), like when I laugh uncontrollably when the tape measure somehow falls off the top of the ladder and hits Ronnie square on the forehead and that little trickle of blood strikes me as the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, but the fact that you work through it makes it that much better.

5. Be real.  I used to think that there were certain things I was supposed to do as a wife, certain things he should do as a husband, certain things we were supposed to have, a certain kind of house in which we were supposed to live…you get the idea.  But, you know what?  I was wrong.  When we first got married, we tried to model our lives by what we thought was expected.  We bought a house, had nice cars, got a dog – we never quite did keep up with the Jones, but we could have been their slightly less accomplished next door neighbors.  And you know what?  We weren’t happy.  By the time we figured out that we don’t need a big house or lots of stuff, we were in debt and barely able to escape.  Maybe people don’t understand now why we live in the country in a little house, but it’s suits us.  We are living the life that makes us happy, and we don’t care what anyone thinks.  If only someone would have told us that before we racked up the debt!

6. Be each other’s best friend.  I tell Ronnie my secrets.  I laugh with him.  He is the person I go to when I feel happy, sad, mad, betrayed, annoyed, disappointed, frustrated, anxious, or any other feeling I may experience.  Why?  Because I know he cares.  I know he wants what’s best for me.  I know he’ll tell me the truth even when I don’t want to hear it.  I know he has my back.  He loves me.  What more could anyone ask for in a best friend?  And I strive to be that friend for him.  We’re buds.

7. Keep the romance alive (and by romance, I mean, well…you know…*clears throat* romance).  Do I really need to elaborate?

8. Trust each other.

9. Be stubborn.  We like to joke that the only reason that we’re still together is that we were both too stubborn to leave in those early years of marriage.  I can remember arguments so bad that one of us would try to throw the other out of the house.  That never worked – it went something like this: “I’m not leaving!  You leave!”  “No!  I’m not leaving!  You leave!”  Maybe it went on all night, but you know what?  Neither one of us ever left.  There’s a place for some good old-fashioned stubbornness sometimes.  At those especially immature moments in our marriage, it often ended up being our own immaturity that kept us together.

10. Pray.  I believe wholeheartedly that God brought Ronnie into my life.  I am so thankful for that.  I always pray that God will bless our marriage and that I will be the wife that He wants me to be.  We are devoted not only to each other, but also to God, and that spiritual commonality makes our union that much stronger.  We are both keenly aware that we wouldn’t be where we are today without God’s blessing, protection, and guidance in our lives.

11. Be respectful.  There’s absolutely no excuse to belittle or disrespect your spouse in front of anyone, including your children.  Some disagreements need to wait until you can discuss them privately.  Never tell jokes at your spouse’s expense.  Build them up!

12. Be thankful.  Never take what you have for granted.  Tell each other you love each other every day.  Multiple times a day.

Happy Anniversary, Ronnie!

John Prine – “In Spite of Ourselves”

In Spite of Ourselves


45 Responses to “We’ll end up sittin’ on a rainbow – 11 years and counting!”

  1. Connie McSwain Says:

    Love this! And you know I love John Prine, right? Bud and I would often have a John Price Pickoff Night , as we called them… back when… Happy Anniversary to you both!

  2. betsyk1 Says:

    Way to go. That was a great post. You two are so young and good looking! My hub and I are heading into 9 years in July. Woot-woot!

  3. sherbear64 Says:

    Wise words Mandy, wise words. Happy Anniversary you two lovebirds!!!! We love you!

  4. irishsignora Says:

    Happy anniversary, and thank you for sharing the wisdom!

  5. Sarah Says:

    That is so sweet! A very happy anniversary to you. I love your #1–when I got married my dear aunt wrote to me in our wedding card to forget what other people say and go to bed angry if need be!

    • mandyholbert Says:

      I wonder who ever came up with that advice! It’s so silly to keep arguing into the wee hours of the morning just to avoid going to bed mad at each other. That just ruins the next day too!

  6. Teresa Cleveland Wendel Says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to your marriage, your friendship, and your husband. You’ve distilled a whole book of advice into 12 beautiful tips. Together you’ve found the right path. Congratulations to you both. You have much to celebrate.

    • mandyholbert Says:

      Thank you so much! We do have much to celebrate – you’re right. I have a really great fella! And together we’ve made some really great kids! Thanks again!

  7. betsyk1 Says:

    Mandy, can I have your permission to grab one or two of these nuggets for the desk calendar I’m creating called “365 Ways to Enjoy Your Marriage More”? I’ll sign your name to them: Mandy H., Your Hometown, North Carolina. And I’ll send you a free copy of the finished product.
    (Any other readers wishing to get on board with this, can let me know!)

  8. Congratulations to you both! Fabulous blog. Definitely a very wise woman to see the reality of a great relationship.
    My husband and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary this year and also feel very blessed to have found a best friend in life to laugh with and just be “yourself” around.

    Can’t wait to read your next blog post!

    • mandyholbert Says:

      Thanks you! I really appreciate your kind words. Eighteen years is quite an accomplishment! I’m so glad that you a fulfilling, happy marriage as well. Thanks a lot for commenting!

  9. Congrats! …AND I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!! Go here:

  10. Tabitha Says:

    Well said & I couldn’t agree more! We have alot in common! 🙂

  11. I totally have to go to bed angry sometimes!!! I’m so glad that’s not just me. It’s like, I have nothing wise to say…it’s just time for bed when things get that bad.

    Congratulations on 11 years 🙂 God bless your marriage!

  12. ghfool Says:

    Very sage advice. If only my S2BXW would have read this 2 years ago.

  13. MrsPeas Says:

    This was such a sweet post, and such great words of advise! Happy anniversary you two!

  14. Hi Mandy! Wise beyond your years! My husband and I are best friends and work mates too and nothing is better than sharing a new challenge with him. We have our 41st anniversary this week and have found every precept you’ve written here to be 100% true! Happy anniversary to you too! 😀

  15. Mandy, I always read your blog posts. Always. I get a kick out of all your stories so I ignore what I supposed to be doing to read your stuff. 🙂 And I love your marriage ideas. I also think that God’s blessing and “romance” make a marriage great!

    • mandyholbert Says:

      Thanks – what a huge compliment. I appreciate that so much. It’s nice to know that when I write instead of doing what I should be doing, at least one person is reading instead of doing what she should be doing. Thanks!

  16. Oster's Mom Says:

    Congratulations on a great accomplishment. Wonderful tips to help us all slush though our everyday lives.

  17. grand-player Says:

    Amen to #1: So many times I’ve gone to bed mad and don’t even know what I was angry about in the morning. Congratulations on 11 years………many, many good years ahead

  18. Congratulations!! I just stumbled on your blog tonight but this post caught my eye because the title comes from one of my most favorite songs ever. Love me some John Prine! And this song, it’s always the song I think about on my own anniversary. But no, convict movies don’t make me horny..

    • mandyholbert Says:

      Every single line of the song doesn’t necessarily apply to us, but it’s definitely “our song.” It’s the only song that he’ll sing with me when I play it in the car. I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog. Thanks for reading! (And I do actually like ketchup on my scrambled eggs…)

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