i feel kind of silly writing this post and acting like i'm some sort of marriage authority. david and i have been married for only two and a half years, but if i'm being honest here, i am really proud of what we've got going on. our marriage is good. it's real. it's the kind of stuff that i never imagined existed. it's the first thing i thank God for every night during my prayers. i am proud of our relationship and it doesn't always come easy.
before i get into my tips for successful marriages, i first have to tell you that the main reason i have a happy marriage is because my husband is the bees-knees. i can't take much credit for it. he is selfless and devoted and loyal and patient. he is everything i want to be when i grow up. in a lot of ways, being married to him is the easiest thing i have ever done, and i recognize how lucky i am every day.
that being said, sometimes he really bugs me. like when he leaves his freshly-buzzed facial hair all over the sink. or when he cannot for the life of him keep his hands to himself. or when he decides to go on nightly runs every night at 11pm and it's pitch dark outside and i am terrified of him getting hit by a car and no matter how much i really want him to run in the mornings, he just doesn't. and he won't wear the glow-in-the-dark necklace i bought for him either. sometimes he bugs me. this is real life, people.
but like the quote above, if you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. you treat it better. you take care of it.
13 ways to make your marriage rock:
play. sometimes laughter heals the soul. and sometimes it takes you back to your childhood and makes you feel like a giddy eight year old and sometimes that is great. play with your husband. laugh together. david is about twice my size and we play-fight/wrestle a lot and we really get a kick out of it. partially because my sincerest efforts get me no where against him and partially because i really think i could kick an average-sized person's ass if needed be and i love to practice. if you've never accidently given your husband a bloody nose practicing for your imaginary attacker, you're missing out. (maybe i shouldn't be posting this? do you think i'm nuts now? david has a really sensitive nose and i said i was sorry a million times for that bloody nose. but seriously...don't mess with me, i am ferocious. if you are a normal person, you could like play board games or do sudoku or play mario party on the wii together. but wrestling is way more fun.)
coparent. it's so easy for me to get frustrated with david when i feel like i'm alone in taking care of ava. at any and every opportunity, allow your husband to coparent with you. let him take the baby to bagel shack while you sleep in an extra hour. david bathes ava every night and it is the best. your kids are half his, don't let him forget it. your kids need to grow up knowing that their dad isn't just the fun guy that plays with them, he is their parent and they can rely on him. coparenting is so important because it evens the playing field; it's easy to become resentful to your partner when you've been up all night and now your baby is throwing the pasta you just spent 30 minutes making all over the kitchen. ask your husband to help you!
adopt each other's interests. before we got married, i didn't know a thing about football. i rememeber going to a byu game in college and legitimately asking what a first down was. i am embarrassed to admit it. i don't know if it just happened or if i decided to actively try to learn, but i really enjoy football now. i can watch a game and make educated comments. i watch sportscenter and am not totally bored. i have a fantasy football team. david is the best at this. he can tell you all of my favorite things. he reads this blog. he knows that shoes with red soles are louboutins. he is genuinely interested in my interests and it not only makes me feel valued, it gives us common ground and something to do together.
initiate sex. not much to say about this one, other than it's important. chances are, your husband initiates sex more frequently than you do. and that's okay, that's life. but your partner needs to feel wanted and loved and like he still makes you hot and there's no better way to do that for him.
be involved. i know a lot of couples who live pretty separate lives; the wife takes care of the kids while the husband works and that's that. and a lot of times, these people get so consumed in their roles that their lives no longer innertwine. be involved in your husband's life, even if his days are opposite of yours. make his work your business. ask him about that account he's been working on. ask him about what he ate for lunch. let him tell you about what a jerk his manager is. tell him about what you watched on dr. oz. tell him about your trip to target and the six different people who told you your baby was gorgeous.
feel good about yourself. it's hard to do when you have baby snot on your shirt and you haven't showered in a few days. i've been there. one too many times. it's hard to make your partner feel good if you don't feel good yourself. take care of your body, take care of your appearance, take care of your soul. read a book. take a bath. love what you see in the mirror and how you feel inside.
check your pride at the door. be the first to say you're sorry. admit you were wrong when you overreacted and called him an asshole because he slept in and made you late for your doctor appointment. put your pride away and give up the need to have the last word. it is so cliche, but really...every minute you are pissed at your husband is a minute absolutely wasted.
build him up. tell him he is great. encourage him to be better. tell him he could totally run a marathon. support him in his dreams. tell him that he is a great dad. let him know how much you appreciate his love and support. when you focus on the great things about your partner, the little annoying habits become so much less significant. choose to tell him how proud you are and how awesome it is that he's started running again instead of nagging him about the pile of sweat-soaked work out clothes left in a heap on the floor. build him up instead of bringing him down.
stop keeping score. here's reality: you will probably always get less sleep and spend more time taking care of the kids than your husband, just like he will probably always spend more time working to provide for your family so you can go buy crap you don't need at target. once you accept this, the easier your life will be. stop keeping score of the pedicures sans-baby you get vs. the lunches with his buddies he gets. stop keeping score of the amount of sleep you got last night vs. the times he's gotten up with the baby in the middle of the night. communicate your needs, be aware of his, and stop keeping score of "wins and losses." there are no such thing in a marriage.
let your guard down. a couple months ago i said something really awful...like the kind of thing you don't say outloud. i don't remember what it was, but i said it and david looked at me like....uh? you can't say that? and then i told him that he is my husband, my person and i should be able to tell him anything. he is my person! ever since, we've had a guard-down policy and the other day david made a really out of character comment (i don't remember what it was either, but i was like...wth??) and he gave me the same lecture. i am his person. there are no filters, there are no limits, you are it for him. let your guard down. be who you really are. tell him about the nightmare that haunts you. tell him what you are scared of. tell him when you are hurt. be his person and let him be yours. listen with an open heart. accept him and hear him and let him be who he is.
set goals. we started doing this this year and it's been really influential in our marriage. we set personal goals and financial goals. i think it helps give the other person insight on what is really important to you; what you want to change, what you want to achieve, what you want out of life. whether it's reading more or eating healthier or going to sleep at an earlier time, setting goals and helping your partner to achieve those goals will unify you as a couple and give you a common goal.
be involved in the finances. know how much money you have in the bank. know what you can spend. know what you need to budget for. don't be teresa guidice and keeping buying diamonds and escalades until your husband tells you he filed for bankruptcy. be involved in your finances and understand that money don't grow on trees.
find his love language. before we got married, my mother in law bought us this book and i thought it was kind of cheesy at first, but i think it's really helped us in our relationship. every person has a unique love language, something that he or she needs in order to feel loved. for me, it is time spent, which is one of the reasons why david has a job that lets him pretty much be stay-at-home dad for the majority of the year. i feel loved when he spends a lot of time with me. find your love language and find your partner's love language. remember what it is and commit to trying to learn it, however foreign it may be to you.