I 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:
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂 She my go-to when times get tough and her advice is always a sounding board for me. Enjoy!