With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. When I spoke with her, Leslie told me, “We were the least likely candidates for marriage.” Both John and Leslie’s parents had divorced, and John had been married twice before. So I asked the tough question, hoping not to make either Leslie or John feel uncomfortable: What was it that made their marriage work? Both Leslie and John looked at each other, smiled, and then looked back at me. “Magic,” they said. Well, magic, respect, and celebrating their anniversary every day.
They both believe respect is one of the keys to a happy marriage. “Respect can sustain love as it changes, and respect can sustain friendship as it changes. Respect means you go out of your way not to hurt the other person,” Leslie said. One of their tricks for getting through conflicts, John said, “is to sit with it together and not react, not respond.” Leslie agreed, but pointed out that she is still learning that lesson after 29 years!
John and Leslie keep the spark in their marriage by continually celebrating their marriage. John explained, “The people you’re closest to are the ones you shouldn’t take advantage of.” Which is why he’s known to bring home flowers and little gifts throughout the year. “We don’t really celebrate one day,” said Leslie. “We celebrate our anniversary all the time.” That’s John and Leslie’s sweet recipe for a magical marriage.