This past year brought us into a new phase of our marriage. We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary last month and with three busy kids in our house [ages 6, 3, and 1] we have to really make time for each other. The time we used to have to do so many things together has gotten slimmer with each new baby in our family so we have to be really intentional about it. And since we live away from any grandparents or family around to help, it can be hard to find babysitters so once you do it’s like a treasure and you want to hold onto them. We love having a regularly planned date night each weekend and look forward to it so much. It’s the only time of the week we get to leave the house alone together without a diaper bag in tow or stroller to push around and enjoy some delicious food with uninterrupted conversation, including no phones out and just reconnect as a couple and be reminded of all the reasons you fell in love in the first place. It’s also fun to mix things up on date night, even though you can’t go wrong with a dinner and a show, it’s fun to try new things like playing a sport together [we like tennis], go bowling, ride electric scooters to a restaurant, set up a picnic in a fun location, or grab some friends for a game night. Recently we’ve been trying to do more things to connect with each other on a daily basis in the midst of our crazy schedules so we started listening to the Rise Together podcast and then we’ll talk about the episode that night once all the kids are in bed. I have loved listening to it because I can relate to Rachel and her husband so much and it’s just refreshing to hear someone talk about all the real life things you deal with in a marriage - kids, schedules, working out, chasing dreams, sex, and working towards the best possible relationship. I thought it’d be fun to share some of the tips that I feel like help you to have an exceptional marriage or partnership with your significant other even though we are a complete work-in-progress, but here are some that have worked for us.
-DATE YOUR SPOUSE [pick the same day each week to have a weekly date night so you can schedule a regular babysitter or trade with another couple. Take atleast one weekend alone together a year and this can be a staycation, spa retreat, or a conference together]
-SHOW UP FOR THEM [I truly did marry my best friend who values my interests and talents and wants to see me succeed and because of this I want the same for him. I think it’s important to remember to treat each other how you did when you were dating. Be there for them when they’ve had a hard day or need some extra love or someone to talk to or when they have that crazy idea of a big dream - be the one to cheer them on as they go for it. Be the kind of partner you want for yourself and it will come back to you]
-KEEP THE LOVE ALIVE [Even though you may not get butterflies every time you hold hands or every night in bed isn’t a romantic occasion - it’s important to take the effort to do the little things that keep that spark in your marriage. Write each other love notes or just a sweet text throughout the day, get dressed up for each other and take care of yourself like you did before a bunch of kids got in the way. You will never regret doing a romantic gesture for you spouse no matter how big or small because when you are happy in your marriage then you are better parents as well.]
-MAKE A LIVE LIST [This is like a bucket list you create together, but it doesn’t have to be for your whole life - you can break it down and make one for each season or each year. When we were first married I would make a list of everything we wanted to do for dates that year and then we had another list of all the restaurants we wanted to try since we love trying all the good food spots. Now 8 years later we still have LA spots on our list and new things we want to do so you won’t get bored and will always find new adventures together]
-BE THOUGHTFUL [I think a little thought into anything can go a long way and the little everyday things can make a big difference. Give each other compliments and speak highly of one another - especially to those around you. Remember the special days in your life and celebrate them. Learn each others love languages and what they need to fill their cup. Make sure your partner knows that they are the most important person to you]
-BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOU [best advice I heard when I was in college was to make yourself into the type of person that you want to marry - meaning that you can’t expect all of these things from someone else when you can’t offer them yourself. The best way to change someone else is by changing yourself. Work everyday to be the best you and they will take notice without you having to even say anything. We rise by lifting others.]