I want to start this blog off by saying that I am not a relationship expert. Far from it actually. I’m just a girl who’s been on a self-discovery journey for some time, and during that process, I somehow discovered that the thing I was seeking most, was a kickass marriage. Through a ton of inner work, endless amounts of journaling combined with asking myself what I was actually looking for, and literally asking God to shine light on what I most needed to work on, it was finally made clear to me that what I needed most… was to water and grow my marriage. And so, I did. Well, I am. It’s a work in progress as all growth is, but I’m here to share that process with you. I hope that it inspires you to find the thing in your life that needs YOU to help it grow.
Now, I guess I should preface this with the fact that Matt and I have a fantastic marriage and life together and don’t struggle with any big relationship issues… Unless you consider my extreme indecisiveness when it comes to choosing a restaurant for dinner, or his sheer unwillingness to make a bed, at all, ever, in his entire life. LOL. All jokes aside though, we do both consider ourselves to be very lucky to have each other, and both love each other and our girls deeply. That said, I think that when things are good or great even, it’s easy to get complacent in your relationship and forget that it, like anything else in life, needs tending to grow.
If you read our marriage story, then you know that we started our family right away! We’ve been parents just as long as we’ve been spouses, and while I wouldn’t change a thing about our story, I do think that becoming a mom at the same time as I became a wife, made it tough for me to dedicate much attention to learning how to be the best wife I can be. As soon as a kid pops on the scene, they tend to take over… and then, before you know it, there’s a mortgage, and careers, and baby number two, and BAM you open your eyes, and it’s ten years later, and you’re trying to remember when the last time you went on a date with your husband was.
Now, if you’re reading this and thinking… “Girl.. this is not unique… This is just life!” Yes, you are right! I am totally aware that my story is not unique. Most of the mamas I know are trying to find the balance between the kids, the house, their work, and prioritizing their relationship. The problem is that, even though we’re all struggling to find MORE time to dedicate to our relationship, most of us are failing miserably at finding that time. And.. at the end of the day, we’re exhausted, worn out, and have very little to give to what truly matters. My goal here is to let you know that we all struggle in this area and even the most seemingly put together mama is more than likely trying her hardest to find balance.
Also, I should say, I sincerely hope I’m not giving you the illusion that I’m that put together mama. I am definitely not… Remember just a few paragraphs up when I said I had a literal coming to God moment and asked what I needed to do to get better in the area of prioritizing my relationship… yeah. That’s all true girlfriend. Not that long ago, I was really struggling with feeling like I was failing at all the important things in life. That as hard as I was working on myself and my own personal development, that I was somehow missing the big picture. That all of the enormous dreams I was focusing on in my business were simply not gonna happen unless I LEARNED how to give more energy to what truly mattered.
I use the word LEARN because no one is born with the skills of being a great partner to another human being. We all have an innate ability to co-exist… but to really be a great partner takes a willingness to learn and grow through your relationship. It requires taking a good look at yourself, your habits and your tendencies. It takes a desire to put someone else’s feelings into the mix of how you operate. Yeah… I know.. Not that easy. But, as I said. It’s a work in progress. One that I’m dedicated to getting better at. One that I know will be so worth the learning and growing process and most importantly, one that will serve my marriage goals well.
So, with that, here’s a list of FIVE tips you can implement right now to have a #kickassmarriage!
Remember, to always give yourself GRACE and room to grow into new ways of being. Nothing worthwhile comes quickly or easily, and the most amazing things are built from tons of dedication and practice!
1. Priorities. Yep. We all have them, and most of us have a pretty decent mix of the same ones. Kids, career, home, bills, relationships. Most of us mama’s put our kiddos first, and I’m in no way shaming that, I do the same. What I am saying though, is that a quick shuffle of those priorities from time to time will serve YOU and your relationship well. Not sure how to do that? Well, first things first, you need to make sure that you are prioritizing your own self-care before you can take care of anyone else’s needs. I talk a lot about that HERE if you need some ideas. Assuming you’re up to speed on the concept of self-care to promote health in all of your relationships, then the next thing you need to do is to schedule a DATE NIGHT girl! Now, I know that there are logistics to this like a sitter and the cost of going out, etc. etc. Just remember, where there’s a will there’s a way! Get creative! If you can’t find a sitter or don’t want to spend the money there, you could always swap nights with a girlfriend to watch each other’s kids! Also, if you’re not feeling the expense of going out to do something, you can always have a date night at home! Watch your fave movie, cook your fave dinner, and share a bottle of wine! So fun! If you do decide to go out though, be sure to snag one of these cute date night looks in my recent post HERE for under $100!
2. Consistency. This doesn’t sound like a monumental tip, but I’m telling you it may just be the most important one of all. Think about it, what’s the one thing that separates successes from…. well, not successes. It’s consistency. No matter what you’re doing in life, you’re always gonna get out what you put in. So, if you’re consistent with things like a date night every week, a sit-down dinner at home most nights, or even a simple, daily, good morning text, you will create a pattern of engagement that lets the both of you know that you are making the other a priority. Often times, it’s the little things that make the most significant difference. Obviously, you want to do what makes sense for yours and your partner’s’ schedule, but setting up some sort of consistent time for just the two of you to connect really does make a massive impact on your relationship.
3. Selflessness. Now, this one is really tough, and I don’t think that anyone can fully embody this concept 100% of the time, but it’s one worth trying out and finding your level of comfort in. I know, for me personally, it’s one of the tougher ones. I don’t consider myself a selfish person, but I definitely have tendencies that make me think of my own feelings, wants, and desires before considering Matt’s. Within a marriage, it’s easy to fall into scorekeeping mode. You know the one, it’s the “I changed the last diaper, you need to change the next one!” or “I washed the dishes the last two nights, you need to do them tonight!” Believe me, I know, and struggle with this, because, as a mom, who is home most of the day, I tend to do a lot around the house and sometimes feel the need to count my points up and suggest that someone catch up! LOL. But, in all honesty, what works a thousand times better is selflessly doing things that need to be done around the house or with the kids. When I’m not complaining or demanding help, these are always the times that Matt steps in on his own to lend a hand or take over a task to give me a break. Now again, everyone’s dynamic is different, and I’m not suggesting that you do it all and just hope that your partner helps, but what I am saying is that you might be surprised at what your partner is willing to contribute if you give them the opportunity to decide to do so.
4. Communication. Ah, communication. We women are the masters of talking about our feelings aren’t we?!? We can figure out problems, fix issues, and stop an argument between two siblings by getting them to talk it out, hug, and makeup! Wanna know what’s the hardest thing in the world to do though?!? Telling our spouse why we’re mad, hurt, or angry, in a way that will actually get to the bottom of the issue so we can talk it out, hug, and makeup! Why though?! Girl, I don’t know, I told you I’m not a relationship expert, I just know enough to know that this behavior is ingrained in our DNA. For whatever reason, we, myself included at times, feel like our husbands should just understand why we’re having an issue… And if they don’t, well they should probably start guessing, because telling them is not an option! Now, obviously, I’m making jokes and laughing at this type of behavior, because we all do it, and we all know it’s a little ridiculous. I know, for me though, that when I make a conscious effort to communicate my feelings, Matt and I can 100% of the time resolve whatever the issue is pretty quickly. Believe me, it’s so much easier just to stop, breathe, and communicate. PROMISE!
5. Expect to Work. This is going to be tough for some people to grasp but I’m gonna say it anyway because it’s true. Marriage and relationships require work. The absolute worst thing you can do is to buy into the theory that marriage is supposed to be easy. Ask anyone who’s been married for 20+ years what the secret to a long and happy marriage is, and I guarantee you that they’re gonna tell you that it required time, dedication, and a willingness to work on themselves and the relationship as a whole. There’s just no way around it. If you want to be great at something you have to work at it. This is true in all aspects of life, but especially true for the things that matter the most to you. For me, it started with working on myself and my own personal growth, which led to wanting to then grow within my relationships with my husband and children. When you work on yourself first, you’ll find out what makes you tick. You can then learn how to be a better person not only for yourself but to others in your life as well.
Alright! That’s it! I hope you find these tips as helpful as I do and I genuinely hope that you have the happiest of relationships full of lots of LOVE and LAUGHTER! Remember, that it’s always a work in progress, and none of us are getting this right all the time! All that matters is that we have the tools that we need and the willingness to work on ourselves and our relationships one day at a time!