Friday, March 22, 2013

Marital advice from an old pro

Yesterday was our fourth wedding anniversary, and I can solidly, confidently say that never have I made a better choice, nor will I ever make a better choice than marrying this man. 

While he works all day for our little family, I'm busy making a baby boy JUST for him. I'm so glad that I get the honor of mothering his babies. 

He took me to dinner and then we drove to our favorite spot overlooking a flower field and the ocean, and we came home and snuggled and watched a movie. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I'd share a couple of the things that have helped us keep a strong, happy marriage.

Express love constantly. Whether it's a quick text during the day, an act of service, physical affection, or vocal expression, you each want to hear and feel the love that the other person has for you.

Never make a decision without considering your spouse. Some couples do everything separately, and while that works for them, that would not work for us. For us to have a strong marriage, we make decisions, big and small, together. We bought a house together. We share accounts. Large purchases are never made without consulting each other. Even small things, like choosing dinner or what movie to watch, are decided on as a partnership (this isn't to say that we don't take turns or occasionally do our own thing). If I'm alone and making a decision, such as choosing a wall color or a new piece of furniture, I still think "how would Conrad like this?"

Always look for a way to serve the other person. Maybe it's doing a chore you know he hates, or making his favorite food, or packing his lunch while he's in the shower. Maybe it's sending them a loving text, or surprising them at work, or complimenting him on something he's insecure about. 

Build each other up. Never make your loved one feel bad about himself. Never use past arguments or shortcomings against each other. Be the kind of person that makes other people want to become their best selves. We challenge each other to be better, and we encourage, praise, and lift up. I've heard stories of spouses who belittle or embarrass their loved ones, and it only makes for a weaker foundation in the home.

Be silly together. If you're always serious and concerned with heavy, dire things, you'll quickly lose the magic. You have to be able to make up songs together while you put the dishes away, or speak in silly voices (we baby talk a shameful, shameful amount), or chase and tickle and play like the best friends you are. Also, be each other's best friend. You should be the first person they turn to with good news, a bad day, or just to talk (and vice versa). 

I also asked some of you to share what makes your marriage strong. Here's what you said:

"Faith. When one of us starts to lose it, our marriage feels empty and strained, but the second we invite God back into our lives the marriage blooms. The arguments fade away and we suddenly see each other in a new, more forgiving and loving light. We pray together and give one another time to pray alone and it all falls into place. "
---Mallory @ Daffodils and Lace

"Have realistic expectations. Movies and books are notorious for setting unrealistic expectations about marriage. Some days will be hard. Issues will come up with finances, budgeting, intimacy, work, and even little things like cleaning. Be open and honest with your partner about what your expectations are and don't forget to be flexible! Never be too prideful. Pride can get in the way of so many things. So many arguments can be strung out because one person or another is too prideful to apologize. Too many marriages end up rocky because of pride. Even if you have to just agree to disagree, just be the bigger person and apologize. I have never once regretted stepping up and apologizing. It is always worth it!"
---Kelsey @ Stories of Kel

"Teamwork and taking time to be ourselves. Marriage is a team effort. If we don’t function as part of a well-defined team, we are missing out on critical aspect of our marriage. Being a team doesn't mean you have to do everything together; it means you have to work together and recognize when you should spend time apart. While we are a team, we are also individuals. We might take weekends away without the other spouse. It gives us time to be ourselves without being defined as a part of a pair and gives us a deeper appreciation of the other partner when we are reunited. We have some shared interests, but we have plenty of interests with no overlap, as well. Neither one of us would benefit from forcing ourselves to enjoy the other’s activity, but we both benefit from letting the other go off and enjoy time alone--and our marriage benefits, as well."
---Jana @ Merlot Mommy

"Communication! It sounds simple but it's surprising how many couples either don't communicate, or don't do it well. We really listen to one another when are sharing our highs and lows, what happened in our day, how we feel about a situation, etc. We talk a LOT. We make a point of having time every day to just hang out and talk about whatever we want/need to. Being able to communicate our feelings, dreams, insecurities, etc. has created a stronger intimacy in our marriage that translates into all other aspects of our relationship."
---Torrie @ Fox and Hazel

I'm looking a little beat in this picture, but we're just as happy - happier even - than the day we got married. 
5 moves
4 years
3 people (soon)
2 degrees
1 house purchased

What's one thing you've done in your marriage that helps keep you strong and close as a couple?


  1. Sex. Lol. It's true though! If we haven't done the deed in a while we start to feel a little distant but once we get a chance to have some alone time we feel closer physically and emotionally. Sorry if that's too much TMI!

    1. You're so right! It's definitely really important. For me, the longer we go without it, the more fights we get in and we're less patient. It's definitely not just something to feel good, or to make babies. It really bonds two people and it's very crucial for a happy marriage!

  2. Congrats you two! We'll be celebrating four years in December :)


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