2.18.2014

Four Secrets to Our Happy Marriage

Though Valentine's Day was last week, it's still the month of love, right? And in the spirit of love, I really want to share a few thoughts on marriage. I'm not one of those people who thinks my marriage is absolutely perfect and I need to share it with the world, but I do think that sometimes I focus too much on weddings and not on what comes after (which makes sense, you know, since I'm a wedding planner). That being said, here are a five secrets to our happy marriage.

1 // ALARM CLOCKS. Our marriage is just like any other, and there are ups and there are downs. At the beginning of last year, we had one of those downs. Like, really down there, and it was kind of a wake up call for us. You see, our lives, just like yours, are overrun with technology. We both have iPhones, and then there are the computers and iPads and televisions that overrun our apartment. It got to a point where we were checking our phones in bed before we even said good morning to each other. One day we realized how absolutely terrible that was, and our phones (including our alarms) were banned from the bedroom immediately. We headed to Target and bought some really old-school analog alarm clocks, one for either side of the bed, and the rest is history. Sure, I'll work from bed if he isn't home, and sometimes we'll go grab our phones later in the morning when the other has left for the day, but there are no phones in the room while we are in there together. If there is any moment in which I can say our marriage took a major turn for the better, this is it. 

2 // ALONE TIME. I'm an introvert. Robert doesn't like labels, so he won't ever commit to being either an introvert or extrovert, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am one thousand percent an introvert. Most of my friends know that sometimes I just need my alone time, especially if I spend an entire day with them. I'm usually completely quiet on the way home from an adventure somewhere, just because I need to regain my energy. And the same goes for my marriage. Robert learned a long time ago that sometimes I just need to be left alone, and vice versa. I think that there's a pressure in marriage to spend every waking, available minute together, but that's not always healthy. There are times when Robert will go lock himself in the office and I'll hang out on the couch, or he'll go to Starbucks and I'll go to happy hour by myself. Taking the time to nurture ourselves in this way is absolutely essential to our healthy marriage.

3 // DATE NIGHT. Though we need our alone time, we also need time together. Exclusively. I'm not talking about just going to a movie and holding hands; date nights, for us, can happen at home too. It's a time when we get to focus on each completely, without the distraction of the TV or our phones. Usually we'll just go grab a drink or dinner together, and spend a good hour just talking about everything from our day to our biggest secrets and dreams. Our relationship is built on these moments, which remind us why we're in this thing together. It's a really amazing, and humbling, experience to know that you have the full attention (and love) of another person.

4 // MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY. Though Robert is venturing into the land of cooking, I've made dinner for us pretty much four to five nights a week for the past seven years. It's not that I feel like it's my wifely duty really, I just like taking care of my husband. That being said, he knows that the day he comes home from school or work and expects dinner to be on the table, I'm done. There will be a major strike on my part. You see, we have a pretty distinct division of labor in our home (I cook, he washes the dishes; I clean the toilet, he takes out the trash), but there's also a mutual responsibility there. Neither one of us expects the other to do these things, and neither one of us feels resentful or upset if the other doesn't get their job done. Robert is really good at taking the trash out when it needs to be taken out, but I'll do it too if I need to. Same goes for dishes or whatever other chore needs to be done in any given day. I think our main goal is to just not feel resentful or upset if the house is dirty or there are no groceries in the fridge; we take care of our home mutually because we love each other and we love our home. Very few, if any, of our arguments are about dirty dishes or smelly trash, which I'm very, very thankful for. If I've learned anything in my ten years with my husband, it's to pick my battles, and fighting over a messy house is not a battle I want to have.

So, that's it. Four secrets to our happy marriage. They are our only secrets, and they may not even be the best, but they are four things we do consistently to make sure that our marriage is healthy and happy. What are your favorite secrets to your happy marriage?

22 comments:

Joelle Duff said...

I cannot tell you how much I love and agree with each one of these. I love my husband want to spend time with him, but spending too much time with him is never a healthy thing. I'm glad that we enjoy each other's company but can also spend time apart as well!

Joelle Duff said...

Usually these kinds of articles are riddled with non-advice, but this is excellent. Well-written, great advice. Thank you for sharing!

Joelle Duff said...

I love this post. While I've only been in my current relationship for under a year I also have a child from a previous relationship so balancing everything and making time for every one is a harder task than I thought. My favourite point is the alone time one. If I don't get a certain dose of alone time it can really put me in a bad place. It's so important. I also enjoyed all your other points. I think I may need to try the alarm clock one when my boyfriend moves in next month!

Joelle Duff said...

The alarm clock is a great idea. My husband isn't too bad at this, but I am. I'll have to go buy one because my excuse is I use it for an alarm. Thanks for the suggestion.

Joelle Duff said...

Peter and I talk about the phone thing all the time. We agreed way before we got engaged that there would be no technology allowed in the room ;) I bet it feels as if a weight is lifted, huh?

Joelle Duff said...

I think that these 4 points are spot on. We are going on 5 years of marriage and have had ups and downs to. It all about communication and not expecting the other just to do something. I love what you said about picking your battles, this is something Im still working on :)

Joelle Duff said...

I love this post! I'm inspired to write one of my own :]

Joelle Duff said...

Nice article for happy marriage life...
http://www.iwedplanner.com/blog/

Joelle Duff said...

No phones/ipods/computers in the bedroom, just the two of us, has been one of the traditions that I'm so happy we started in our marriage!

Joelle Duff said...

I feel like so many people, at the beginning of their marriage, feel like they have to spend every waking minute with their spouse. I don't know if it's healthy for anyone, really, but I definitely need my alone time! And I don't think that we should feel guilty about it either. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

Joelle Duff said...

You are so right! I wanted to stay away from anything that people could construe into "me telling them what to do", which is why I wanted to share OUR secrets to OUR marriage. Glad you liked it!

Joelle Duff said...

I think it's the small things in a relationship that keep it going strong! It's always SO important to say goodbye to each other - I completely agree, and we always let each other know where we are and when we get there. Like I said, little things :)

Joelle Duff said...

It's so true! I think we just need alone time - from our spouse or family or children or friends - just to say sane! And definitely go buy yourself alarm clocks. You'll appreciate it in the future, I promise!

Joelle Duff said...

It seems like such a simple thing, but I promise that it makes the biggest difference! I don't know that I'm one to believe that everything has to stay out of the bedroom necessarily, just while the other one is in the room. It's a place to focus on each other, that's for sure ;)

Joelle Duff said...

I think you'll really tell a difference! It's so important that we focus on each other, and not email or Facebook or whatever other notifications we get while in bed :)

Joelle Duff said...

That it did ;) It was crazy the difference it made! All of the sudden, our bedroom felt like OUR space again. It was wonderful!

Joelle Duff said...

Communication really is key for a safe and happy marriage, I think! And managing expectations, for sure. It's all about being flexible, and realizing that people change over time. Once you're realize that, you're golden ;)

Joelle Duff said...

You should! I think it's probably good for everyone to take a step back and think about what makes THEIR marriage successful, since it's such a different experience for everyone!

Joelle Duff said...

It doesn't sound like a big deal, but doesn't it feel amazing once you finally take the plunge? I can say, without a doubt, that that has been one of the main things we've done to improve our marriage, and we'll never go back to the way it was before!

Joelle Duff said...

This is a fabulous post! <3

Joelle Duff said...

Thanks Victoria! I'm glad you liked it ;)

Joelle Duff said...

So, I found your blog through Casey. I must say I have found a new read! I love love love your "secrets." I like the "no phones" in the bedroom idea. I'm not sure how my husband would feel though..haha. I got him to do the no TV in the bedroom though! We had one in our bedroom for the first couple years, but since then we haven't. I love it. I also kind of have a silly question for you. What font did you use for your post text?