August 21, 2009 we said “I do”
Six years ago we made a public commitment to each other, in front of all of our friends and family. And like most anniversary posts, I could tell you how much I love that guy standing next to me up there, and how we are meant to be, how he gives me butterflies and all that hoopla that will either warm your heart or make you gag.
So, instead I thought I would share with you 6 lessons I have learned over the course of 6 years of marriage. It is frightening the statistics of divorce out there, so I thought you would all appreciate a little advice about keep it together, forever.
F.Y.I. I’m no Oprah, so this “advice + lessons” I’ve learned are my opinion only – what works for me may not work for you. So use your head, and don’t blame me.
1. Get Naked
For over 12 years Dan and I have been together. When he first met me, it did not take a second thought to enter my mind before my clothes would come flying off (Sorry, Mom). Gone with the wind, bearing it all, proud of what I had and no room for lacking confidence. I was secure with my body. For god sake, I was the era of “I don’t think your ready for this jelly” music, so I don’t think I ever felt insecure about a few dimples here and there. Now that I’ve had two children, both BIG babies for my size, my skin has been stretched, my boobs have gone from nothing to motor boaters dream and back. Getting naked in front of the husband for a few years was not on my list of things to do.
I went from my clothes flying off to hiding behind my closet door not getting them on fast enough. Thankfully, after paying close attention to my man and noticing how much my lack of confidence bothered him I took to the wind and decided it was time to let my thighs fly. To appear confident, to give it a go and just behave like a normal married couple. After getting buck naked a few times in broad daylight I am telling you it will do wonders not only for your marriage, but for your self-esteem.
We’ve all got imperfections we want to cover up, but keeping the flame burning should always be a priority. So change your clothes in front of your spouse. I guarantee they will not be staring at your cellulite or post baby belly … in fact, you may not be putting clothes back on for another 20 more minutes.
I’m a gal who loves to chat. Even better, I am a pretty darn good listener for those that need to vent. I’ve got ears that like the attention and I definitely enjoy being social. Listening in marriage can be super difficult though. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard something, or have been asked to do something and in return I let it go right out the other ear and do what I need to do. It usually happens most when I feel like I am consumed with the boys, and listening to someone elses needs just seems like another thing on my to do list. My face is that of a mime. I literally contort my face into a million different expressions ( good and bad ) and I know when I am listening to something I do not want to hear, it shows.
It has taken years to really understand the art of listening. That it doesn’t end there. It is not a one way street, nor is it a reason to get your feathers ruffled. There are times when we both get upset about a situation, and there is no way to get around it but to settle it. Talking, listening, and truly understanding where the other half is coming from will make every marital spat go that much smoother. Do not dismiss your own feelings, or your partners, but find a way to listen and RESOLVE – so that you are not sitting down talking about the same crap 2 weeks later.
Not other people! Geez, you guys are awful! (jk)
I know how difficult it can be to find alone time to get out together. Trust me, it has taken us 5 years to finally get to the point where set aside time for ourselves. We never did. The kids would fall sick. Work would run late. Or hell, I would be too freaking tired after taking care of the kids all day that the thought of going out and trying to look somewhat not worn out would give me anxiety.
Years of not getting date nights took its toll. We got FAR to comfortable with ordering in and getting a movie. Which, by the way is totally acceptable, in fact one of my favorite things to do. But once month, if you can, snag your man or woman and take them out to dinner. I’m telling you. Just being out in public (like real humans do) enjoying a meal alone, staring at each others eyes across the table and playing footsie…ha, okay maybe not that one. But true, uninterrupted time together even if it just one hour can work wonders in a marriage. It spices things up, brings some life back into our restless parenting bodies and reminds each other that we need to focus on ourselves more!
4. Learn what they like
“Duh, Abby!” If that’s what you’re thinking I get it. I know what my husband likes for dinner, or his favorite coffee drink or pair of underwear (for you ladies). Blah Blah Blah. But the point here is, know what they like and act on it, FREQUENTLY. Nothing beats being thought of. Even better, someone doing something for you out of the blue, just because. A LOT of ladies complain that their man isn’t romantic enough. Well, I’ve got one and let me tell you I have cracked the freaking code. Do onto others what you want done onto you. Simple. As. That. Just as I said, whether it be me coming home with his favorite Starbucks latte at random. Or slipping on a pair of underwear I brutally hate just to make him blush. Making a snack, favorite meal, filling up gas tanks, picking up a movie. ANYTHING you guys. Nothing beats seeing their surprised look when you do something nice, and believe me, it will be returned. If it doesn’t, shred those stupid panties that give you a yeast infection and tell him you’re wearing boxers to bed from now on. HA.
This probably seems super shallow, but here ya go.
From your nether regions to your brows, try a little. Whoa baby did I use the “I’m a busy mom” excuse FAR too many times when leaving the house looking like I was trying to be stopped by someone on the “What to wear” show. I would say to myself, “I don’t have time for makeup!” “Who cares what I am wearing, I’m with my kids all day!” “I’ll shave my legs tomorrow, I’m wearing jeans.”
Oh boy. A slippery slope of not maintaining can not only age you like a raisin, but really decreases how you feel about yourself. Take a few minutes every single day (this is for men + women) to fluff yourself up a bit more. Because nothing is better than when your darling spouse is looking totally adorable, you notice, compliment and both of you suddenly feel 100% better. It’s worth the 10 extra minutes.
6. Lighten up!
We’re not perfect.
FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR from it.
So if you can’t crack a joke, or laugh at each others stupidity, youre doomed.
Just kidding, see, lighten up!
Time and time again we find ourselves getting our feathers ruffled over the same situations that rub us the wrong way. Or those pet peeves we have … once they are brought to our attention, finally, after 12 years together we have learned to laugh laugh laugh it off.
Taylor Swift was so wrong, you shouldn’t shake it off. It’ll come back to smack you in the face.
Do not think you can change what the other does. Who they are. How they are. Embrace each other. Love each other. Lighten it up when the mood seems to fall sour.
I think we’ve spent 89% of our relationship laughing. And we owe 100% of that to our lighten it up attitudes!
See that guy up there? He’s a freaking stud. An amazing Dad, and a man I cannot wait to celebrate many more anniversaries with!