Yahoo recently had an article on how to live happily ever after. And since I've been married for 25 years (plus the 6 we were dating equals 31 -- egad!), I'd like to share my experience with one of their steps. (Some of them, like fighting the right way, I can't even comment on, because we don't fight right. I get mad and he doesn't. There's no satisfaction in that.)
Step #1: Find a shared dream for your life together.
Our first shared dream was always to own our own home. We bought our first house at age 25, a cute little cottage in a not-so cute but affordable neighborhood. One of the 2 10x10 bedrooms was given over to the Handy Husband's stereo.
Here, he first indulged his home improvement urges. He was in the middle of remodeling the kitchen on his own when we discovered our dream house. After much stress (this whole episode probably qualifies for step 6) we finished the kitchen (with the help of an amazing team of carpenters), found a buyer for the first house, and bought the dream house.
I did this post for our 20th anniversary in our current home. Our kids have never lived anywhere else. The dream of owning our own home has evolved over the years into the dream of making our home together with our family. Ernest says we can't ever get divorced and make him move, that HE is keeping the house. That boy's got a taproot, all right.
When the kids are gone, our dream will have to evolve again. But we're flexible. It doesn't matter where we will be, it will still be home.