As two working parents with three little kids, Philip and I often joke that we’re like two ships passing in the night; handing off the kids to each other as one comes in the door and the other has to rush off to something. And then on the nights we don’t have anything, it’s easy to just sit and mind-numbingly stare at our phones or go to bed early.
But that connection as a husband and a wife is so important, and after almost eleven years of marriage, I wanted to share five things that we do to make our marriage happier and make those little pockets of time count.
- Listen to each other. I’m inherently a pretty bad listener, but Philip is a really good listener and will listen to me talk on and on about literally anything. I’m certainly not perfect at it by any means, but in the last few years I’ve tried to make more of an effort to be a better listener. And even if it’s something I don’t necessarily care about, it makes such a difference and he feels like I really care about him.
- Take time for yourself. I think the best thing anyone can do in a relationship is take time for yourself. It seems counterintuitive, but it fills your personal cup and then you’re able to give a better version of yourself to someone else. I get up super early now to do personal scripture study and exercise so that my evenings are wide open and I can have uninterrupted time with Philip without feeling stressed or rushed.
- Date nights. This is so obvious, but alone time out of the house is so good for your relationship. We rarely do anything big or fancy for date nights — usually just dinner, and then we walk or drive around somewhere and just talk. We also love doing little weekend getaways, which are also so good for our relationship.
- Dress up for each other. It’s a really good thing to be in a relationship where you’re comfortable being casual and grubby in front of each other, BUT it’s also important to dress up for each other sometimes too. Remember how you used to do that when you were dating and engaged? Once or twice a year, Philip and I go to Nordstrom together and pick up a few new things for him cause he’s not a regular shopper like I am. We both love shopping at Nordstrom because they have such a huge selection, and they have all the designers and brands that he likes. A couple of button down shirts, nice jeans, good shoes, and a jacket or two are essentials and are perfect for date nights, or whenever you feel like dressing up for each other.
- Take interest in each other’s interests. This one is huge. You’ve heard the saying that opposites attract, right? Well it’s true in a lot of marriages, and certainly is the case in ours. It’s a perfect fit for us because we complement each other well and many of his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. But many of our interests are different, so it’s important to find things you both love (a few for us are travel, food, and style), and take interest in each other’s interests (I watch sports with him even though I don’t care a bit about them, and he listens to me talk endlessly about blogging and sewing). You don’t have to love everything they love, but being supportive is key.
I’d love to know what else you guys do to have a happier marriage!