Happy Monday! Today marks my 5 year wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe 5 years have passed since we said our “I do’s” in sunny Mexico. That was such a fun trip with our friends and family – an entire week at a beachside resort with drinks flowing, sunshine, activities, and lots and lots of laughter.
As I look back at our 5 years as a married couple, we’ve had some really good times and we’ve had some hard times. I can say that it hasn’t always been easy, but I can tell you that it’s worth it.
Here’s my 5 tips for a successful marriage that I have learned over the last 5 years:
1. Recognize that the first year after a baby is the hardest.
No matter if it’s the first or second (and beyond), bringing home baby adds a new dynamic to the household. I found the first time around to be the hardest transition, but even with baby #2 we have had to go through figuring out our new family dynamic of caring for a toddler and baby. This has had an impact on our relationship.
For one, we are getting less alone time again. We used to have our evenings together once Big Kid went to sleep. Now Little Bro isn’t on a set schedule and is sometimes up with us in the evenings. I have to remind myself that soon he will be on a more predictable schedule and we’ll get that couple time again. For now, we try to schedule dates so that we can spend one-on-one time and focus on each other.
2. You don’t have to spend all of your time together (but you should make time for each other).
Just because you are married doesn’t mean that you have to be the same person and like the same hobbies and activities. We are still uniquely our own with our own passions. It’s important to continue to carve out time for yourself but it’s also important to spend time together. The husband and I typically will schedule an hour or two for our own enjoyment each week and the rest of our free time is committed to time together, usually with the kids.
Our marriage works better for us when we communicate our wants and needs, our schedules and our commitments, when something is bothering us, and also to say I love you. You might think, “Duh!” but it took us time and several fights to figure this out. So don’t forget to communicate, even the little things.
4. Say “I love you” AND show it with your actions.
I’m the type of person who needs to hear it and see it to believe it and feel it. My husband is someone who prefers to show love through actions and so he’s not always one to say it first. I happen to say it more than I probably show it in my actions. This is an area we are working on. It’s important to share your love in the way your spouse prefers to receive it.
It’s important that we step outside of our comfort zone and communicate our love, whether verbally or physically through actions, in the manner that our spouse will best receive it and understand it.
This is the hardest thing to do at times. We come from different backgrounds and have differing values in some areas. We have very different personality types – opposites in fact. Those differences work well sometimes, but they can also backfire. We approach problems differently, we view the world differently. We have different expectations, and passions, and what makes us tick.
Over the last two years we have made it a point to invest in the thinking that neither of us are totally right, or totally wrong. We strive to meet each other somewhere near the middle. Sometimes we have to let go and give the other person what they need, knowing that we’ll get our say or share next time.
I’ve learned that marriage takes work, like a garden it needs tending and weeding. But when it grows, it’s beautiful. Marriage is worthwhile work.
Do you have any secrets to a successful marriage to add? Leave them in the comments below.
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