This past weekend we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Since we took a trip to Sedona earlier this month (our first kid-free trip by the way) we just had a normal day at the house…it was perfect. We had some time to reflect on the last 6 years and how we’ve become better as a couple. We’ve come up with 6 things we do that enhance the quality of our marriage the most. Every couple is different, so there are probably things in here that just don’t fit your marriage, but everyone can benefit from number 3!
1) Travel > Gifts
We actually started this pretty early on in our marriage. We’d rather create memories than have another outfit hanging in our closet. By traveling for birthdays, anniversaries, etc., we get to see and experience amazing parts of the country and it’s a time for us to connect, too. In the last 2 years we’ve gone to: San Diego, L.A., The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Santa Fe, Taos and Sedona. These adventures have drawn us closer together. And to us… they are worth more than gold.
2) Teeter Totter
Anderson’s diagnosis was without a doubt the hardest thing either Andy or myself have ever been through. We were both distraught and grieving. But we realized we did something amazingly well together. Whenever one of us was having a really low day…the other one would step up and be the encourager. It wasn’t that the other wasn’t upset that day, but just knew that someone needed to be strong. We realized we couldn’t both be down at the same time. This goes for arguing too. We can’t both be angry, one of us needs to step up and be the rational one when problems arise or nothing will get accomplished.
3) No TV Tuesday
This has been one of the most fabulous things we have done for our marriage! The first time I heard of a girlfriend scheduling sex with her husband…I thought it was totally weird. Once we had kids…I got it. On Tuesday nights, after the kids are in bed, we go to our bedroom and spend the entire night there. It’s not always just about sex either. It’s a time for us to talk, reflect and also to be intimate too. No, this is not the only time we have sex…it’s just a way to make sure that no matter how busy the week is…there WILL be sex during the weekdays. Guys, you’re welcome.
4) Find Common Hobbies
Every couple is different, but for Andy and I it’s important that we spend time together. We don’t even watch separate TV shows because we consider unwinding together at night important. We also love hiking, trying new restaurants and entertaining. We don’t share all hobbies. I’m never going to get into Crossfit…it just ain’t happening! But we enjoy spending the majority of our free time together rather than apart and we think it’s a great thing for our relationship.
5) Speak Up and Shut Up
Andy and I have always been good about communicating. Even in the beginning of our relationship we were very open and honest with each other. But, when we got married and started living together, I got a little too honest about what I was feeling. It’s one thing to point out to your spouse a habit they have that either hurts or annoys you, it’s another thing to point these things out on a daily basis. Yes, confessions of a former nag! I think we’ve both gotten better at knowing when to speak up and when to shut up.
6) Learn Each Other’s Love and Hurt Languages
There’s a reason The Five Love Languages is such a popular book. We all have different ways of feeling loved. Thankfully, both of our love languages are the same: quality time (see #4). But we have different secondary love languages. Mine is Acts of Service. Now that Andy knows this, he knows that it actually hurts my feelings if I ask him to do something and he forgets. His is touch (I have a feeling this is probably pretty common for guys!). And I realized that I had let cuddling and kissing fade away a bit in our marriage. Now that we know these things, we are better at loving each other. I mentioned “hurt language” everyone processes tough moments differently. When we were in the diagnosis phase, I wanted to talk all of the time. Andy wanted to NOT talk about it. We realized we had to meet in the middle to meet each other’s needs.
We have been through a lot in 6 years: Dental School, Working Morning shifts, Working Weekends, Residency, 2 kids and a life-changing diagnosis. We are not experts, but we feel that we are getting better at loving each other all of the time and that’s because we work on our marriage all of the time. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years bring!