Life is a wild ride and I feel beyond blessed that I get to experience it with the love of my life by my side. Andrew and I have only been married for two years but our relationship is one that has been intentionally built and treated with care. Here are my personal tips for keeping things golden – at least most of the time:
Nurture your friendship
You know in high school when you had that one BFF and the two of you were always together, laughed at all the same things, had all these inside jokes and everyone kind of knew you were like a package deal. Well that’s how you and your spouse should be. Be the obnoxious BFF’s who tell secrets and jokes that no one else understands. I think as humans people tend to reserve a more delightful and fun version of themselves for their friends than they do their spouse. Maybe it stems from a place of being tired, getting into a routine and deciding you can use that time with your spouse to hit your ‘off’ switch – then around your friends you turn yourself back ‘on’. This is so ass backwards. Andrew and I weren’t friends before we started dating but we quickly cultivated a friendship. Even now that we are married we continue to nurture and grow as best friends. We consistently joke around, get silly, do fun things just the two of us, give each other cheesy pep talks, reminisce on our inside jokes, and on and on. Sometimes during an argument, we will even look at each other, laugh and say, “I don’t want to fight with you, you’re my best friend”. As a married couple, there is going to be A LOT of mundane aspects of life that you get to face together – but that doesn’t mean you should place your spouse in that ‘mundane’ category as well. Grocery shopping for us looks like Andrew pushing me around on the cart and us singing embarrassingly loud, and cooking dinner always includes music and catching up on our day. He is my best friend first and my husband second.
Speak your mind
The worst thing, in my opinion, that you can do in any relationship is to hold things inside that bother you. Holding things in rather than speaking your mind will only cause these things to stack up and fester. You may think in the moment that you are ‘picking your battles’ or that it’s a small issue not worth bringing up BUT these small issues build up over time. Andrew and I are consistently calling each other out for things… if one of us says or does something that leaves the other with a negative emotion its almost instantly met with a “hey too far” or “I didn’t like that please say sorry” LOL! The thing to remember here is that this isn’t meant to be a fight, in fact it will prevent future fights. When you meet each other with mutual respect you can quickly and easily squash any negativity before it creates a problem down the road. Ever have a fight that seems to start from nothing but then suddenly 5 months of pent up baggage comes out? That’s because you didn’t speak your mind. Doing this also keeps us accountable, helps us to grow as individuals and within our relationship and ensures that we are meeting each other’s needs.
Treat your relationship like it’s brand new
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before but honestly do it! Your spouse is not an old reliable pair of shoes that you stopped polishing. Text each other throughout the day, make-out daily, hold hands, give each other compliments that go beyond “you’re beautiful”, go on dates regularly, and cuddle before bed. Studies have shown that couples who kiss more experience lower levels of stress and higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Don’t get stuck in a routine, make this stuff your top priority.
Hey everyone, Andrew here, bare with me because this whole writing thing isn’t really my forte’, but here we go… Here are my best pieces of advice that I’ve learned in the last two years of being married. I think that every relationship can benefit from these three tips:
One of the best things you can do for your relationship to help it grow and to show how much your significant other means to you is to intentionally listen. It’s easy to sit there and hear what is being said but are you taking it in? Are you understanding it? Don’t confuse hearing and listening. No matter what I am doing or what is going on, when Brittany is speaking I always try to stop what I’m doing and give her my full attention. This not only shows her that I care about what is being said but it also ensures I am truly processing the information. The lack of intentional listening in a relationship is what leads to misunderstandings, and potentially disappointment. How can I truly know what my wife wants and needs from me if I don’t listen to her rant about her day or express her feelings?
You don’t always have to agree
As they say… opposites do attract, and this is definitely the case for Brittany and I. I’m always running hot and Brittany is always so cold, I’m a great driver and Brittany is, well… not so great. So, this goes without saying that you are going to butt heads sometimes and have different opinions on things, lots of things, and that is okay. I think this is what makes relationships great, its two different minds coming together to form one amazing life. Don’t waste time beating a dead horse and trying to force your spouse to join your point of view. Celebrate and respect your differences. This also goes a long way in arguments. You don’t need to agree on the problem you just need to have the same goal in mind – happiness, love and respect.
Be a team
Because if you don’t support each other than who will? Brittany and I are constantly reinforcing that we are a team – this means that no matter what life throws our way – big or small – we can get through it together. It’s not enough to just verbalize this, you need to act on it as well. For example, some of the ways I show Brittany I support her are by doing more of the house work so she has time to pursue her goals, or trying Kundalini yoga with her because she didn’t want to try it alone. Also, one of the best things about being a team is that you have someone to step up in areas you may currently be lacking. When I’m having a bad day, she talks me off the edge… then it’s her turn for a bad day and I’m right there with her favourite snack and a shoulder to cry on. You should always pick each other up and be one another’s biggest cheerleaders no matter what. It is important to remember that you are both on the same side! That you are both working towards the same goal of a happy and fulfilled life and sometimes the littlest things, have the biggest impact.