These weeks of 2014 are whipping by! Time for another 5 for Friday! This week I am going to focus on my top five tips for keeping your relationship/marriage strong and on the right track. I do not claim to be an expert. After all, I’m coming up on my fourth wedding anniversary in June. However, I have been in a relationship (I guess we were dating???) for 13+ years. Yes, that’s right. My now-Mr. “asked me out” when I was 16 and he was 15. So crazy to think about! I’m pretty sure no one except me thought we would get married someday especially way back then. I had a master plan though, so I went to work on practicing writing my new name shortly after we started dating. Good thing too! It’s a long one! So here are my top 5 tips!
Share some interest/hobbies but not all! – I see so many couples who morph into the same person. Although everyone usually has a decent amount of self-love, we typically don’t want to marry/date ourselves. I know myself annoys the crap out of me sometimes! It is important for couples to have interests and/or hobbies that don’t directly relate to the partner. However, do not create lives apart from each other. DO NOT have tons of single friends whom you go out with WITHOUT your partner. Danger, danger! I’m more talking about ladies keeping up with their college best friends and visiting them (coming to see you, Miranda, I promise!), or gentlemen taking time out to golf or hunt (we know the Mr. understands this tip!). A little time apart can be refreshing! I truly think it is best if the Mr. and I are not crammed in a deer stand 24-7 during hunting season. That is his time to decompress. My time at the gym is my time. I do like to work out with the Mr., but we truly don’t have the chance anymore. Plus, I definitely wouldn’t make a habit of it. I need that time to be alone in my thoughts and focus on me for just a bit.
Say you’re sorry and mean it! – Now, this one took me quite a while to get straight. Saying “I’m sorry” can be the two most powerful words in a marriage. More than “I love you!” Apologizing recognizes the hurt you’ve caused and tries to correct it. Of course, your partner has to accept your apology, but it is ALWAYS a step in the right direction for reconciliation after a yucky “discussion.” Even if I don’t 100% think I’m wrong, I’ll apologize. I’m always truly sorry for the upset that fights and disagreements can cause. I always feel better after I say it, and it speeds up the “let’s move on” process. This leads to happy times ahead! 🙂
Communication – We are big on communication! I’m sure the Mr. would be shocked to hear me saying this, but we are! In high school, we talked at school and on the phone usually each night. In college, he or I would call at 11 o’clock just about on the dot each night to talk for a half hour or so. Since living together, we just get to talk all the time! I tried to understand that the Mr. isn’t a phone chatter (he claims it makes his ears burn…hmmm…), but it is really so important to connect and talk – especially for women. It might just be a recap of the day, a discussion of current events, or sharing funny/troubling stories about friends or family. Talk talk talk! In this tech age, I try to text him or call him sometime during the day. This might seem like a little much to you, so I would do whatever feels right. The important thing is that he or she is your go-to person to call when things are going down the tubes or when things are awesome or even when things are mundane.
The lady leads the way. – Now, I know this is a little gender stereotypical…but I’ve definitely found this to be true. If the lady of the house ins’t happy, then no one is! I don’t want my mood or bad day at work to affect my home and those in it. This bit of advice is to leave the other stuff at the front door. This is a hard one for me and probably for most women. I know I tend to just think on things and, as the phrase goes, beat a dead horse! Doesn’t that just sound terrible?!?! The point is that I can’t let things go. When I don’t let things go (i.e. Holden had a rough day at daycare, I struggled working with a student, I felt inept at a meeting, or I missed my workout), I change the course of our whole evening/time together at home. It’s just the way it is – the lady is the true captain of the feel of a home. It’s important for me to set the stage by having the right attitude. See! I know these things, but I still struggle with them. Fortunately, the Mr. is very understanding of my work-in-progress state.
Prayer – Another taboo one. Well, I pray about my marriage. I pray about my child. I pray about my students. I pray about my dog. You name it, and I’m probably trying to write it down in prayer. I truly believe that my marriage has gotten stronger since I got pregnant. And guess what? I started having a regular prayer life when I got pregnant. How about those apples? Try it out. I don’t pray that the Mr. will buy me things or finally understands that all my opinions are right. It’s more along the lines of asking for guidance and growth and understanding in our marriage. Praying for both of us.
Hope you enjoyed the humble tips from a relative newly wed who snapped up her Mr. way-back-when since he was such a dish. 🙂
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