It’s so crazy to me how quickly the days, weeks and years go by. Blink of an eye and we’re celebrating a decade of marriage already. Two kids, a dog, a mortgage...and so much more!
How did we get here? How did our love make it this far? Through life’s trials and tribulations, how did we remain strong and love even harder?
Here are 10 tips to 10 years that the hubby and I feel were important for our survival not just as a couple but as parents too.
Often times we forget all about good ol’fashion communication. Why though? We did so much of it when we were dating. What’s different now? When we were dating we spoke for hours at a time. We went on dates and got to know one another, we asked each other deep questions so we could know each other on a deeper level. Why not now? Is it because life gets in the way? We’re so busy worrying about everything and everyone else that we forget to check in with one another. It happens doesn’t it? Next thing you know, weeks upon weeks have gone by and you haven’t said more than two words to each other that didn’t involve the kids, the dog or “hey what’s for dinner?”.
We need to go back to those days when talking to our significant other was the most exciting part of our day. The hubby and I will call/text/video chat all day long or as often as our work schedule allows. We check in and ask how the day is going. We ask about the kids too, we are parents now after all. If the day doesn’t allow you to do that, then save these treasured conversations for the end of the day. Tucked in bed, side by side. Open up about the good, the bad and the ugly. Touch base with one another. Dig deep into each other’s thoughts. Don’t hold things back. Heart to heart conversations about anything, big or small, makes for a healthier relationship in the long run.
“Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet” ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau~
By far one of the most difficult tasks to achieve for all humans everywhere! Our instinct is to quickly react to something that didn’t go our way. Someone says something and without allowing them the chance to explain, we go in for the kill. If we continue to be this way...we might as well kiss our marriage and those around us goodbye. We have to put ourselves in the other persons shoes. How do you feel when someone reacts to something you said or did just because it wasn’t done their way? You hate it. It makes you feel awful right? So why do we continue to do this to our spouses and even to our kids? We immediately lose our patience because the kids are being loud or they’ve made a mess in the living room. We need to learn to calm down and take a step back and give them the chance to lower their voices and clean up their mess. Sounds reasonable right? So let’s get in the habit of practicing patience. Patience is what creates a happy, healthy marriage.
To be grateful for everything you have and everything you’ve built together is such an amazing feeling. Seeing and appreciating life together and the journey you two have been on brings a change in perspective. It allows you to appreciate even the smallest of things. Most importantly, gratitude for one another. How wonderful does it feel when you feel appreciated and loved? Amazing right? So let’s remember to reciprocate that back. Say thank you-when he takes out the trash, when she cleans the house. Say thank you for the long and hectic day she just had with the kids, thank him back when he gives you a night off to be with your girlfriends. The smallest of things makes the biggest difference.
Sometimes the unspoken words are the most powerful. A soft and subtle hand squeeze or a genuine hug speaks volumes in any relationship. Remember to be empathetic, you don’t always have to speak back. Sometimes just the comfort of knowing someone values you, hears you and is here for you is gratitude enough.
Honesty….just as important as breathing. If you stop breathing, life is over. If you can’t be honest in your relationship, that too will come to an end. There isn’t much to say about this except that this is a huge one for us. No matter how big or small, honesty is the best policy. It’s something I try to teach our kids every single day, above all never lie to us. If there is something heavy weighing on your chest, talk about it. This goes back to communication right? Talking about everything, even things you don’t want to talk about. Being open and honest about even the silliest and smallest things. There is nothing we keep from each other…and that will forever be true.
I can’t tell you enough how important teamwork is especially when you start growing your family. From day one, we have always looked at our life as 50/50. Everything from cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, finances and now rasing our two girls. Everything was always based around how we could help each other. Sure, some days I might do more than my husband and many times its the other way around. At the end of the day, we are grateful for everything that was done…we don’t dwell on who did more. When we had children, I needed him the most. During those early stages with a newborn, its a given, a mothers job never ends. But neither should a fathers. As part of that teamwork, he should be there right next to her if she needs anything. He should help with things around the house that his wife can’t get to. When you see your partner as your other half, you take pride in helping each other out. A successful marriage is when you realize you are on the same team.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is the space to be his or herself without the threat of you leaving”
This couldn’t be any truer. Allow each other room to breath and to grow as an individual. Give each other the support and confidence needed to strive. Not only will this boost ones self confidence but also make your relationship stronger. Give each other space to have a night out with friends, escaping from all the responsibilites. No guilt trips, no questions, no interruptions. A night out with friends can be just what the doctor ordered to help you de stress and refresh you mind.
“It’s better to bend a little than to break”
A relationship that is able to compromise and reach a common ground will flourish. Realizing that your partners happiness is just as important as yours is key to a successful marriage. You give a little to get a lot. That’s how it should be. Now, this doesn’t mean you compromise your morals and values for the sake of another person. I would hope you wouldn’t be with someone who asked you to change that. But, find things your willing to bend on for the sake of your relationship, find that person that will bend with you. At the end, you both will have gained much more than you realize.
Go back to that first date, that first kiss...do you remember how badly you wanted to be there? Can you remember the feeling and the emotion of that moment? That’s the passion that should always be there in a relationship, from day one till the very end. That’s the passion that allowed you to open your heart and soul to someone. It made you fall in love, over and over, with the same person. Don’t lose that passion just because “life” gets in the way. Okay, so maybe you can’t always have crazy, wild spontaneous sex...maybe it has to be a little planned. We have kids now and kids come with distractions and chaos. They interrupt and snuggle right next to you in bed. What are you suppose to do? Ask them to go back to their room for a few while you finish what you've started? No. You find the time and you make time. Perhaps wait till the kids are sound asleep...light some candles, play some soft music and set the mood. Plan date nights. Go to dinner, have a few drinks and come back home, remember that first night, no one could pull you two apart. It should always be that way. Ignite the fire over and over again. Also, step out of your comfort zone. Try new things and talk about things that perhaps makes you uncomfortable...you just might surprise yourself. Most importantly, remember, a marriage requires work. It has needs and cravings. It needs a reminder every so often that you are here and that you are ready to work your ass off for it. It wants to know if you’re still here, hot and heavy. Passion is all of those things that make the heart go Bidi Bidi Bom Bom (tribute to Selena) for that other person, even after so many years.
Never Go to Bed Angry
This! I will be up all night, tossing and turning and probably crying myself to sleep because we fought over something and didn’t resolve it before bed. I fear a lot of things in life. More so after I had kids...yikes! I’ve become such an anxious person. I just always wonder what if something goes wrong, did you tell your loved ones how much you love them? No, because you went to sleep not communicating and angry at one another. Aside from the crazy side of me that is anxious all the time, I truly believe going to sleep with happier and more positive feelings results in a happier you and a happier marriage in the long run. Holding on to something without any resolution only makes things worse. Going to bed with unresolved issues makes for sleepless nights and even harder mornings. At some point this becomes a habit, every time there is an argument, we rollover and go to bed. Repeat this pattern over and over again and eventually you’ve built a wall of resentment so high, it’s impossible to fix. No one wants that! So please, talk to each other, communicate, compromise and love each other wholeheartedly...let nothing stand in your way!
Life is Short
At the end of this journey, we want to be able to say that we lived the best life we knew how. We loved with all our heart, we worked hard to make our relationship work. We never gave up on each other. We were committed to sacrifice and compromise. We want to enjoy our days together and with our kids. Now please, don’t get me wrong, our days are tough too. We are after all, normal. We’ve gone to bed angry before, I usually end up crying, he hears me and finds a way to cuddle next to me...we will eventually talk about it but till morning at least I’ll be ok.
Make every moment count!