Motherhood over 6 years ago by Liz Adams

5 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

5 secrets to a happy marriage - www.sequinsandstripes.comI am constantly asked questions about how Dave and I met, how becoming parents has changed us, what we fight about, etc. Our marriage is something that we work on every single day. Especially since having a baby.

I can honestly say that our relationship has become much harder since having a child. You realize that opinions that you thought you had in common are actually very different, it’s hard to relinquish control and there is a baby that requires 100% of your attention – which means less for your spouse. The first 6 months of parenthood took a toll on us but in the end, I think we came out feeling a new sense of respect and patience for each other.

It’s easy to get caught up in a moment. Something annoys you, your tone of voice sounds disappointed, you are too tired. I have been guilty of all these things a hand full of times. When I allow myself to take a step back and think about Dave on a bigger scale I am so incredibly grateful for the love, humor, trust and support he gives me every day. He makes my life worth living and has given me everything I could ever need.

I wanted to share 5 little things that work for us when it comes to making sure our marriage is healthy, happy and focused:

  1. Tell the other you’re annoyed the first time. One of the biggest issues we had when we first became parents was brushing things under the rug. This happened too many times eventually leading to a much bigger thing. We’ve learned that even if it is something as silly as “you are chewing too loud” (haha, guilty), just say it! It releases whatever stress immediately. A few examples: “Dave, can you please pick up your socks instead of leaving them on the couch every night.” “Liz, your tone of voice makes it sound like you want to kill me, can you perk it up a bit?” “Dave, if I see one more finger nail clipping in the sink I’m going to freak out.” “Liz, you need to stop being such a control freak and just let things go.”
  2. Never go to bed angry. NOTHING is worse than when you wake up after not talking to your spouse the night before. I always feel like I’m in the dog house even if it is for something I didn’t do. I know I’ll get in even more trouble because I decided to give Dave the silent treatment before bed. Just talk it out. It is always better to start the day happy.
  3. Give each other compliments. A quick little ego boost does wonders for relationships. Dave and I are always in better moods when we compliment each other (who isn’t?). Even just a “you look handsome” or “I loved your blog post today!” makes you feel more confident and gives you a better perspective on the day. After being together for 7 years, hearing a compliment from Dave never gets old. 
  4. Make time for each other. I didn’t realize the importance of this until we had Charlie. Dating my husband is something I want to make sure lasts forever. I never want to get so comfortable that I take those opportunities for granted. As human beings we are constantly growing. We are exposed to new things, witnessing something on social media, finding new hobbies or discovering things about ourselves. I always want Dave and I to be on the same page which is why finding time to just be the two of you is so important. For new moms out there, if you’ve been feeling guilty about getting a babysitter – GET THE BABYSITTER. I wish I had done this in the first 6 months when we really needed it.
  5. Say I love you every chance you get. A friend of mine recently lost her husband on new years eve. He was 30 years old and died suddenly of an unforeseen heart condition. He was healthy, handsome and their love story was something I admired. (She has been paying tribute to him everyday through her instagram account which is beautiful) I had never met him but had always shown Dave their incredible photos and always told him that they seemed so in love. When I heard the news that he had passed away I was heartbroken. Not only for my friend, their families and everyone affected by his death – but also for those instances when I let days go by arguing with Dave, wishing I had more time for myself, angry that it felt like I was always “doing more” (#6 would be don’t take score!!) or forgetting to say I love you. We all know life is precious but it is something I want to remember more on the day to day. Those little things end up being the biggest things and I always want Dave to know how very much I love him. 

My friend Emily is sharing her secrets to a happy marriage if you’d like to take a look! Our husbands are best friends so this was fun πŸ™‚ She my go-to when times get tough and her advice is always a sounding board for me. Enjoy! 


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  1. I enjoyed this post SO much! It’s one of the best blog posts I’ve read around the web this week πŸ™‚ Would you mind if I featured it in my 5 for Friday list this week, please? (It’s five links I think my small handful of readers should go and check out for inspiration over the weekend).

    I’m not married, yet, but my boyfriend and I listen to a podcast called ‘thank god I’m married’ by Eric Thomas. He talks a lot about the whole not keeping score thing, and we both get so much out of it. πŸ™‚


  2. I LOVE THIS! My husband and I have been married for 6 years and together for 11.5- we started dating the first semester of freshman year in college (WHEW) so we definitely have had our ups and downs.

    Little fights are something people don’t understand unless they are married or with someone for a long time and things that you used to love about the person now annoy you. I wish it wasn’t like that but it’s the truth and social media DOES NOT HELP. Of course everyone looks happy because why would anyone post a picture of a fight?

    I love that you were so open about it because believe me girl, you are not alone! Just last night we had a silly fight that ended up with not talking before bed and it’s just so dumb to go to bed angry- I kick myself when that happens. Thanks for being so honest πŸ™‚

  3. Loved this Liz. I always appreciate reading the honesty and realness that others experience with marriage. It truly is a marathon, challenging and rewarding but SO much work. Best wishes always to you and Dave! xoxo

  4. Aw I love this, Liz! Your examples are awesome because they’re so relatable and we’ve all done these before. Relationships by themselves are hard enough but then throw a baby in the mix and it’s definitely a new kind of challenge. I also always think about what it would be like to lose anyone I love around me or something happening to them, having lost my Dad last year and I also have a friend whose fiance had a paralyzing ski accident months before their wedding and he is still in physical therapy with no guarantee of walking or full recovery. We always should remember to be grateful and look at the bigger picture!

    Thanks for sharing this with us! I always look forward to reading these personal posts of yours πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve been loving these types of posts from you!

    #5 is so so so important. One of my favorite tips is remembering to say thank you, whether its for something huge and important or something small, like unloading the dishwasher or helping with something. It makes such a big difference.

  6. Marriage is definitely harder when you add in kids. Making time for us has been such a struggle this past year since having a second baby & date nights are so much harder. We’ve been trying to be better about at home date nights, making Friday nights movie nights & Saturday nights having a drink & playing a game. Being more intentional about doing something together versus just zoning out on the couch next to each other!

  7. Love this post Liz, all great reminders! #2 is a big one in our house. It’s amazing how hard you have to work at marriage, especially after kids are in the picture! Thanks for sharing. xx

  8. Thank you so much for this post! Being a mom to a little boy roughly around Charlie’s age, I can relate to EVERYTHING you say here, and I am also guilty of the chewing too loudly comments! πŸ™‚ I love following your family and how real you are in your posts! Thanks again!

  9. #5. I clicked on anjali pinto’s instagram, scrolled through her photos, and started tearing up. i can’t imagine losing my husband at age 30. every day it seems like i read inspirational quotes on social media about making the most of each day, etc. but this truly makes me grateful for everything i have. my health, my husband, my family, the opportunities i’ve been given. it seems insane that any of that could be taken away in an instant, but it can. i hope this stays with me and that i remember to say ‘i love you’ every day to the people in my life.

  10. Yes!!! Don’t keep score!!!
    Also, always use “I” statements. Don’t say “You never bring me flowers”. Instead say “I love whenever you bring me flowers” to subtly drop hints and not sound so aggressive.
    Great tips!