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Today Philip and I are celebrating our eleven year anniversary! I don’t talk about him that much here on the blog, but today I made him sit down with me and come up with eleven things we’ve learned in the last eleven years of marriage.
Not to say our marriage is perfect by any means, or that we’re perfect at any of these, but eleven years has helped us learn what really matters and what we should focus our energy on.
- Support each other’s dreams. My mom has always talked about the “wet blanket.” It’s the analogy of someone snuffing out any fire or excitement in one fell swoop. Don’t be that for your spouse. Philip is so good at this, and constantly pushes me to do what I want to do in my business, and I love and appreciate him so much for that.
- Listen to each other. I’m not the best listener, but Philip is a really good listener and always remembers little things I’ve said about the most random things.
- Work as a team. As parents, this one is especially important. We never pit each other against each other, and we never let our kids do it to us.
- Do little things for each other. little things like bringing flowers home, giving foot rubs or back massages, or sending a little text during the day are things that sometime fall through the cracks over time. Make sure they stay important!
- Set expectations. I read an article earlier this year that the biggest cause of divorce was unmet expectations. Everything from money, to who takes out the trash, to where you go for Christmas, to literally every aspect of your life can become a fight if expectations are not set and/or met. So make your expectations clear by vocalizing them! If you want flowers for your birthday every year, tell your husband!! Don’t get mad when he doesn’t show up with them because he didn’t read your mind.
- Make time for each other. Since I work from home, it’s really easy for work to take over my entire life. I used to work at night when the kids went to bed, but that meant I never had really quality one on one time with Philip. So I had my babysitter come an extra day each week, and make a huge effort to get everything done during my work time so evenings are now completely free. We can talk, watch a show, cuddle on the couch, or make out 😉 It makes such a difference in our needs being met!
- Couples trips are important. We did this for the first time when our second baby was one year old and had stopped breastfeeding, and we’ve done it at least once a year since then. We feel really blessed to have parents who are willing to come stay with our kids for the weekend (or my mom who came for 10 days last summer)! Getting away from home without your kids is so good for your relationship and your mental and emotional well being. If you can’t get out of town, find a babysitter you trust (I shared how we found ours here!) and do regular date nights!
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. For years after we got married, I had a bad habit of getting bugged when Philip acted immature. I thought I was so mature. But I’ve learned that being silly and crazy is what keeps us young! It’s so fun to be crazy and silly sometimes, and not take yourself so seriously.
- Find a hobby you can do together. As we get older and our lives get busier, and more kids are added to our mix, it’s easy to get buried in all of that and forget what you and your spouse have in common. Find something to do together, even as you get older — traveling, reading books, museums, sports, concerts, trying out new restaurants, hiking….the possibilities are endless. Find something you’re both interested in and stick with it to nurture your relationship!
- Ignore the small stuff. There will always be annoying things that your spouse does, and if you notice and get frustrated over every one, you’ll spend so much of your life frustrated. It’s NOT worth it. It takes two seconds to pick the socks up off the floor, so just do it and forget about it!
- Just say sorry. This is probably the hardest one. But it’s also probably the most important. I came from a family that typically said sorry and moved on. Philip comes from a family where everyone ignored what happened and moved on. So I need him to say sorry for it to feel resolved, and at the beginning of our marriage he didn’t feel that need, or the need to say it. It goes back to expectations. You as a couple have to decide what works best for your relationship, and we’ve figured it out for ours. We’re certainly not perfect, but typically just saying the words “I’m sorry” is the best beginning of the healing process.
We’d love to hear your best marriage advice! Leave us a comment!