8. Never leave the Queen! If my family suddenly came into a fortune, there is one thing I will never trade up on… my queen size bed. My husband is 6’2” and I love how our bodies sleep like a twisted pretzel in our cozy queen. Even when we fight, our toes still find a way to touch.
7. Pick a team! Even though our 3 little ones have us outnumbered, we can never be defeated if we stay on the same team. Consistancy helps 1, 2 & 3 know asking one over the other is not going to change the outcome of the game. However, when it comes to sports teams & influencing our kids on what team is better, that’s another story. Go go White Sox!
6. Lose a battle but still win the war! In 8 short years of marriage, my husband and I faced some devastating blows… My mother passing away, our first born needing open heart surgery at birth, a misscariage and stillborn loss to name a few. These types of heartaches can put your marriage through major battles… but you can still win the war together if you fight for your love.
5. Respect your partner’s process! I cannot stress this enough. When I suffered such devastating losses (see #6), depression and anxiety took over my life. It took months and years to overcome, yet right around the corner was a new loss to beat me down. My husband, on the other hand, took our losses as an opportunity to better himself. For example, after our stillborn loss, he started a vigourous exercise routine and was determined to pour all that love he had for our son into our other two children. Meanwhile, I wanted to dig a dark hole and sleep forever if not for our kids forcing me out of bed each day. I share all of this because our grieving processes could not be more opposite. And if you are married long enough, you will experience loss too if you haven’t already… just know that each person grieves differently and if you choose to respect eachother’s process, instead of resent it, healing will come to both of you in time. My husband was patient and when the depression & anxiety lifted, it was the most liberating, freeing feeling ever.
4. Don’t go changing as Billy Joel would say! There is this idea that men and women can be trained and changed once they are married. Don’t try it, just don’t do it. When I told my husband I didn’t like to cook when we were engaged, he told me “I’d learn to like it.” When I thought I could make him like a clutter-free home, I found him garbage picking the old Sports Illistrated magazines I threw out. 8 years strong and I still don’t like to cook and he still garbage picks things I throw out. How you marry them is how they will be, so accept and love them as is. Take Billy’s advice and love him just the way they are.
3. Leave your kids behind! There I said it. If an opportunity arises where you can get away with your spouse and leave your kids with a trusting family member or friend… do it!!! My husband and I live for these trips and has literally been the best marriage booster. It’s a chance for us to take off the “parent hat” and replace it with “the fun, free, before-kids hat” for a night or two. One of the best gifts I can give my kids is to nurture my relationship with their dad. After the trip, we come home refreshed and super excited to see our kids too.
2. Throw another log on the fire! If you have a stack of fire wood, you don’t burn it all at once right? Same goes for your marriage. Don’t put all your “logs” in your marriage fire at once, add a log or two along the way to keep the flame going. The surprised look on my husband’s face when I “add one of those logs” is priceless. (I’m writing in code in case my mother-in-law reads this.) When I was getting married, my sister’s advice to me was to “keep poking the fire in order to keep it hot!”
1. Enjoy the Ride! My favorite advice to give to anyone starting a new chapter in life. This roller coaster called life will take you on quite a ride. Power through the scary times and savor the thrilling moments, but enjoy it for all it’s worth.
Lucy Riles, Life of Mom Co-Founder