1. CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
Marriage can be hard and you are bound to disagree on some things throughout the course of your lifetime. Getting nitpicky over the little things is simply a waste of energy and causes more harm than good (in my opinion). One thing that a wise older couple reinforced to us a few years ago is to choose your battles. The husband said when he was first married he would get upset at his wife because she would buy two types of mayonnaise: the kind that he liked and the kind that she liked. Eventually he realized how silly it was to get frustrated over mayonnaise. There will surely be things that maybe one of you enjoys but the other doesn't (this goes for everything in life, not just groceries). After all, you are two different people. Focus on the bigger picture and don't let those things frustrate you. Just let it be and let it go and your life will be so much easier.
2. DATE YOUR SPOUSE
Put a date on the calendar. Find a sitter. Put on a cute new outfit. Try a new restaurant. Go to an old favorite. Catch a concert. Just spend time together without sitting in front of a tv and without your phones. There really is no excuse NOT to treat each other the same way you did when you were dating. It doesn't stop when you put a ring on it.
3. TRAVEL TOGETHER
Some of the greatest times we've had have been while we were traveling together. Exploring new places together. Learning new cultures together. Realizing that this world isn't just about us - together. There is no substitute for experiencing new things for the first time together. Before kids, we traveled as much as possible. Now that we have kids, we try to make traveling together (without kids) a priority once or twice a year. It's like a marriage refresher for your soul!
4. BE ON THE SAME PAGE
This is true before kids (hello, finances) but especially after kids (hello, molding young lives). You MUST be on the same page. You need to know exactly what values you want to teach your child. And sharing the load goes hand in hand with being on the same page (and teaching your children how to share responsibilities). You both decided to bring kids into this world, and now you are both responsible for them. Wives - let them be Dads. Don't try to control it all (you are hurting more than helping). Husbands - understand that Moms don't always ask for help, but we need it (even if we think it's easier to just do it ourselves).
5. EVEN IF YOU WIN, YOU LOSE
Look, I am the queen of trying to "win" arguments. My second choice when choosing a career path was to be a lawyer and eventually a judge. Well, when you continue this way of communicating in a marriage it wears you down (and your spouse). It creates distance and not oneness. It creates tension and not closeness. I can say in the 9 years that I've been married I've had to eat a lot of my words and humble myself. When you're married it's not just about you. I always think to myself, "is it really worth continuing this argument just for the sake of making a point?" I am at a point in my life that I care more about our relationship moving forward than I care about being right all the time. Do we still argue? Of course. But we try to communicate our feelings more than just talk at each other (most of the time).
What are some of the things you've learned? Leave a comment on my Instagram post and let me know!