9 years. Married 9 years. Is that even possible? No way-not possible. Not this couple. We are still hip and totally cool newlyweds just living the life.
Ahh crap. I’m pretty sure saying “hip and totally cool” just instantly made us lame. Yeah-sorry Dale. You get included in my lameness. We’re “one flesh” remember? Thank the Bible for that one.
But really, thinking back today, I started to wonder-what makes a “good marriage” per say? I feel like the saying “good marriage” is pretty relative, as everyone’s perception will be significantly different.
But I am not talking about the storybook marriage with the carriage and perfect hair and engagements caught on film. I’m talking- “waking up to morning breath and trotting around the house in yoga pants and no bra” marriage. The messy, every day life marriage.
And ya’ll. I can honestly say, there are certain aspects of how to make a marriage work that always seem to fall into the equation for every couple, whether they know it or not. Here is my list ( In no particular order…)
*Disclaimer—-I am no pro-I am no guru. I just feel like we have learned so much along the way and wanted to share with you lovelies! And since my anniversary is tomorrow, I figured now would be as good a time as any to share what has worked for us along the way. *
“Respect your Mate..blah blah blah.. I already know that stuff.” Ok yes, you have heard it 100 times over, but it’s true. If you don’t respect your mate, every argument will ultimately turn into a battle of who is better. Who is stronger-minded. Who is stronger-WILLED. None of these are a good thing.
I was told way back when, by a friend in her 60’s, “My one piece of advice-marry someone smarter than you.”
When she said that, I remember thinking that was a jab at us. ( I was 18 OK? Cut me some slack.) But as time went on, that comment stuck with me. I realized she was right. If you don’t marry someone smarter than you-it would be so difficult to respect that person. How can you talk about the serious parts of life with someone you think is an idiot? How can you take their ideas seriously if you think they are doomed to failure?
I have realized, I 100% married someone smarter than me. He is innovative but he can follow directions to a tee. ( I am neither of the sort. )
He is kind hearted and I have learned so much from his generosity! He has always had a sound mind when it comes to money and has kept us afloat even in the harder times! He is spiritually minded and I can’t explain in words how grateful I am for such a wonderful family head. He is the dream!
So when looking for your mate, look for the one who will make you better. Look for the one you RESPECT as a person first. And make sure he/she respects you the same!
2. Marriage isn’t 50/50.
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. When we were engaged, I spent all my Friday nights watching my fiancé play basketball with his buddies. ( Sports are his thing-but Basketball is a definite specialty. If his eyes didn’t hook me, his athletic ability did 😆) One of the older guys told me ” You gotta know-marriage is not 50/50.” That threw me. Of course it is 50/50. But he promptly fixed my thought process when he said “It’s 100/100. You both always have to give 100% to make it work.”
Wow. Now that was a concept. We both ALWAYS have to be giving 100%. Now when you are babies and in love, you think this will be easy! But when times get a little rougher, giving 100% of each other gets hard. So start early-and keep it up! Men-stay romantic. Ladies-dress up every once in a while. Keep it fun!
And on the days when one can’t give 100%, you are prepared to step in and help them! Remember, we need to walk shoulder to shoulder–because when you are toe to toe, no one gets anywhere!
3. Pray together.his one is so important! I always feel closest to my hubbs when I hear him pray. To hear your mate speak genuinely from the heart is moving! And to hear them pray in someone else’s behalf melts your heart. Study the Bible together and things seem to fall into place.
4. Learn to Disagree.earn to disagree-not to argue. When we were first married, if we had disagreements, I wanted to “argue” in the form of not talking. This DOES NOT WORK. Ok? Doesn’t work. Now you know-don’t do it.
My husband FORCED me to talk when I didn’t want to and I HATED IT. But my gosh did I realize his heart in that first year of marriage. He made me tell him why I was upset ( and still does.) It’s one of the reasons I love him like I do. I have been mad before, and decided I would sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t have to talk about how upset I was. He laid on the couch with me, talked with me, cried with me- until I finally came in the room. So thankful for that night.
I have learned over the years, I don’t have to agree with him. I just have to disagree in an agreeable way. And this is still rough! Marriage is a learning experience, and we will never master it, but that is ok. As long as we are continuing to try!
5. Don’t talk bad about your mate. <<<
s is huge. If you are finding you are bad-mouthing your mate with other people-you need to sever those ties. It is so toxic for your relationship! Surround yourself with others who build up their mates–not the opposite.
I used to hang out with a friend who constantly downed her husband–then realized it was making me look for the bad in mine-like I had to say something bad about Dale to make her feel better about her marriage. It can't work that way. Look for the good in your mate and share it with others. Once they develop a bad view of them, they can't change it, while we will love our mate no matter what! So try your best to keep the positive attitude in the forefront- your marriage will be better for it!
6. Learn from others. <<<
k to older ones. See what they have done to keep things lively. Ask what makes them tick. Try to emulate their successes-but *WARNING* never compare your marriage to anyone else’s! I think comparison is what kills a lot of couples. We live in a time where everyone posts the amazing moments (because obviously, who wants to post the bad) and it seems like everyone is living a fairy tale. Let me tell you–their husbands aren’t perfect. They argue. They aren’t living a fairy tale.
This got to me for a while. My husband doesn’t buy me purses. He doesn’t come home with new diamonds for me every month. He actually doesn’t like to buy me THINGS at all. (Anniversary time is the exception.) So sometimes seeing everyone with their new bags and earrings and apple watches and what-not made me feel like I was missing out. This is the furthest thing from true.
Every person is different-and he is so giving. I have realized over the years, the way he gives to me-is his time! (Sounds cheesy but bare with me.) He takes time to build me beautiful things that I can display in my house to see every day-and maybe one day my kids will want those pieces! “Yeah, My dad made that for my mom when I was just a little guy.” Oh I’m swooning just thinking of that convo. 😍
So learn from others-don’t compare. Look for all the sweet little things your hubbs/wifey does for you and be thankful for the little things that he or she put some serious THOUGHT into. Those are the things that matter.
7. Don’t put marriage on hold to raise the kids. Do me a favor-gross your kids out. Kiss and snuggle in front of them. Let them know you genuinely care for and LOVE each other. I always say ” We are a couple first-THEN we are parents.” If the couple dynamic doesn’t work, the parenting dynamic won’t work. So cuddle, squeeze, kiss and snuggle- these have been so important for us!
8. Apologize. My husband is fantastic at saying he is sorry….I am not the greatest at this. It’s hard. Your pride hurts. But when it’s all over and you have admitted your aren’t perfect-life gets a little sweeter and the next apology gets a little easier. And believe me, there will always be a next apology.
9. Stop trying to change your spouse. This happens all too often-Man marries woman. Woman is embarrassed by man. Woman tries to alter man. Man feels defeated. (Or vice versa.) How devastating! As if this world isn’t full of enough crap to make us insecure-add in our mate trying to change who we are? That’s soul crushing. So let’s try to keep the one we married-the one we married. That’s who we fell in love with after all!
10. Say “I love you.” Overuse it. Kill em with it. Wear it out. We get made fun of for how often we kiss before we leave each other. How on the phone we ALWAYS say ” I love you.” Not just “luh-ya bye.” We make it count. We say it in the morning, at night, in texts throughout the day-nonstop. And it still means so much! To get that ” I love you babe” message during the work day still melts me. Don’t feel like if you over say it, it loses meaning. This is one of those things that has to be said to make a relationship work!
So there it is-just a few of the little things that have worked for us over the years. And again-no pro here. I really don’t think “the pro’s” exist. Really though, in 9 years, we have learned so much-and I can’t imagine how much more we will learn in the next 10, 20, 30+.
What would you all add to this list? What is your go-to advice? Let’s hear it!
All the love dolls 💋