Maintaining a great relationship

Even though we’ve been married for close to 28 years, we keep it fresh and fun. A little silliness goes a long way in the very serious business of commitment. Sharing and caring is an important ingredient for happiness.

Couple on motorcycle

For many years now my husband and I have performed annual reviews on each other in our relationship. In about October each year we both start to not just pick up our socks on the relationship front, but we let each other know about every good and considerate deed. If someone were to overhear a conversation it might go something like this, “My PR firm wanted me to let you know that I got your breakfast this morning,” countered by, “Yes, but did you notice that I not only cleared the dishes, I put them in the dishwasher.”

Renewing the commitment

This seasonal game culminates with more serious conversation prior to Christmas through to almost New Year’s about whether we will renew our one-year marriage commitment. (As it turns out, many renewals have led to us closing in on 28 years together.) If my family is around (Dave is an only child), usually a very spirited plea ensues to renew Dave (he actually is the one on probation because I set up the terms of the game). It is not unheard of for one of my family members to say something like, “We know that you are our sister, but we like Dave more.”

Taking relationships for granted

Of course, there is a certain silliness to all of this, but it makes all of us laugh and it gets to a very serious point at the same time. We both think that it is a good thing to not take each other and our relationship for granted. We speak about wanting to stay together and the good times that we have had and how we are looking forward to more.

My family’s very active support of my husband’s renewal (in fact, they want certainty so would like probation removed altogether) is a great affirmation that I have chosen well. Nothing is better than having blood family and marriage family connect and appreciate each other. I feel fortunate.

Communicating thoughts and feelings

One thing I know for sure is I need to spend time and effort on all of my important relationships with family and friends. I need to let them know what I am doing and how I am feeling. I need to know the same details about them. I need to express my thoughts and feelings and let them know that they are important to me and that I appreciate them.

Relationships are at the core of our happiness and well-being. Nothing deserves more careful attention. Laughing together and connecting – they are so important for everyday happiness.

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Nancy Knowlton
Nancy Knowlton is co-founder and CEO of Nureva Inc. and previously the co-founder and CEO of SMART Technologies. She writes about education, entrepreneurship, business management, technology, innovation and other passions.