In honor of my 24th wedding anniversary, I hope you will enjoy this post from the sacred archives of Transformation Goddes…

Last weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday. A small gathering of family and friends came together to share a meal at one of our favorite restaurants once owned by my grandparent’s in the mid 60’s and early 70’s.  In my mind’s eye, my beautiful mama will forever be in her early 40’s. At that time, she was the happiest I can remember. Truly happy. She was marrying her sweetheart after raising me on her own. She was beginning a new life as I went off to college to start my own. Almost 30 years later, she is still happily married to my stepfather.

As we talked the night away at dinner, it occurred to me that every couple at the table has been married for at least 20 years. I was 5 years old when I acted as flower girl at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. My mom’s best friend and her husband have been together since they were 15 years old and are still going strong in their early 60’s. My husband Thomas and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this month.

I’m in awe of the respect, intimacy, love, and challenges each couple has experienced. Each person at the table found love and created a life together, for the long haul.  What an honor to be part of a family who loves each other and demonstrates lasting friendships through good times and bad.

I never dreamed I could be loved and love my husband as much as I do. Each day I see him in a new light. It still blows my mind that he chose me. To love and be loved is a glorious gift.  Over the years, Thomas and I have learned that there are 5 secrets to our successful marriage.

5 Secrets to a Successful Marriage

1. Demonstrate respect and loving kindness for each other.

2. Practice open and honest communication – including being fair when we are angry or have a disagreement – We will not open old wounds, yell, or try to throw each other into a shame pit when we make mistakes. We laugh at ourselves and each other a lot!

3. Walk through life side-by-side with plenty of time to be independent.

4. Practice replacing closed expectations with open invitations.

5. Make love notes and random acts of kindness a priority. My husband often leaves me notes by the coffee maker to wish me a good day.

Please share your secrets to a successful marriage or partnership in the comments section.

Enjoy my favorite poem about the union of marriage written by Kahlil Gibran.

On Marriage

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.


About Shann Vander Leek

Shann Vander Leek

Shann is a Transformational Leader, Award-Winning Podcaster, Best-Selling Author, Voice Over Talent, Podcast Coach, and Producer. She lives in the village of Suttons Bay, Michigan with her beloved husband and mouthy old cat. This Goddess Shines!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sibylle Oct 10, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Dear Shann,
    I found my way back to your own website, and I’m glad I did!
    I don’t have any relationship secrets of my own to share, but I would like to say this: I choose not to be in a relationship at this time in my life, but I am not one of those bitter, cynical people – I simply think that different lifestyles suit different people and I have always had a deep admiration and respect for people in lasting, beautiful relationships (like my parents, who had been married for over 56 years when my mum died two years ago!).
    I salute you and your husband, for showing that it can be done in beauty, love, and deep appreciation and respect, and I’ll be sharing this post wherever I have the chance 🙂 Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary, too!
    Much love,

    • Shann Oct 10, 2012, 7:05 pm

      Thank you Sibylle! I love that you choose to be independent, while honoring people in lasting relationships. Thanks for your kind anniversary wishes. Big LOVE!

  • Tat Oct 10, 2012, 11:18 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary. 20 years! Thank you for sharing your secrets.

    • Shann Oct 11, 2012, 12:11 pm

      Thanks Tat! I look forward to 20+ more with my beloved!

    • shannvanderleek Oct 12, 2012, 8:34 pm

      Thanks Tat! Big LOVE to you.

  • Lee Oct 11, 2012, 1:29 am

    It’s amazing to find people who have been together so long. Seems like these days, no one wants to try, and they give up so easily. Love the poem by Glibran. He is ever so wise.

    • Shann Oct 11, 2012, 12:14 pm

      Hi Lee,
      I am grateful to be in a loving relationship with a great man. Our longevity is elegantly described in Kahlil’s poetry. Thank you!

  • Lisa Marie Rosati Oct 11, 2012, 5:25 pm

    Congrats on your 20 year anniversary. A relationship that stands the test of time is quite an accomplishment these days. Your 5 tips totally ROCK, thank you for sharing your “love wisdom” with us. BIG Goddess Love to you <3

    • shannvanderleek Oct 12, 2012, 8:36 pm

      Thanks Lisa Marie,
      I am really lucky to be in relationship with a man-creature of integrity. Glad
      you resonate with the love mojo. XO

  • Dominee Oct 12, 2012, 4:49 pm

    I love these tips and I think they can translate to all types of relationships. Really lovely!

    • shannvanderleek Oct 12, 2012, 8:39 pm

      Hey Dominee,

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree that these tips can be benefit any relationship. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. =)

  • Chizelle Oct 12, 2012, 8:22 pm

    I love these tips! And like Dominee I totally agree, applying these to all types of relationships would make life so much sweeter.

  • Nicola Oct 13, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Shann…thank you for this beautiful post! I’ll be bookmarking this and re-reading it. Lovely to read your secrets and congratulations on your 20 years together x Love, Nicola (empoweredwombyn…from the GC)

    • Shann Oct 14, 2012, 2:59 pm

      Hey Nicola,
      Thank you for your kindness. Glad you popped by for a visit. Big LOVE!

  • Tae Oct 28, 2015, 8:48 pm

    Shann, I’m happy for your mother…obviously an inspiring role model in love for you! My partner and I are not married, but try to practice all 5 of your secrets. We also make sure we never have a serious relationship discussion in the bedroom or too close to our bed time (makes for a sleepless night). We table anything until we can discuss it during a walk or while we’re sitting outside at our patio table.

  • cari Oct 28, 2015, 11:17 pm

    its amazing how many of us forget to acclaim the years of marriage as one of our greatest gifts and abilities!! love this – long may you love xxx