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5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage

11:45:00 PM

5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage


The Subtitle of this post should be "....after two kids and five years in 1200 SQ feet of living space"


In honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would talk a little bit about marriage. Mine specifically. What has and hasn't worked for us over the last five years. However, I believe these are all broad reaching principles that can be applied to any relationship.

Let me preface by saying that our five year anniversary is coming up in May, so to some these principles may seem young and naïve, to others they might not apply just yet. But, I hope the underlying theme of love and humility can be taken away from this no matter what stage of life you find yourself in.


1) Check your pride. Every day. Make that every hour.

I found that the biggest shock to both of our systems was discovering how different we are. We coasted for a very long time on how compatible and alike we were and were pretty blindsided to discover that there are some majorly different thought processes happening in our heads. After 25 years of figuring out how to navigate the world you begin to feel as though you've really got it down.

And then when you are stuck inside a small building everyday for years with someone else you realize that the other person also thinks they have it all figured out. You may know exactly how to load a dishwasher or budget money or raise children. But so do they. And it's completely different from how you do it.

In every situation, I would say the most important thing to acknowledge is that you may not be right. Truthfully, maybe neither of you are. But if you go in to your relationship with real humility and voluntarily let go of your pride then you open up real discussions and growth and intimacy that you cannot find on your soap box.

5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage


2) Cherish Them

What you think in your mind plays out in the rest of your life. That secret thought you had about how annoying your husband is will eventually become a running monologue if you don't find healthy ways to alter it. 

All of our spouses are imperfect and we already talked about how he can't load the dishwasher or spend money or raise the kids the way you see fit. But if you relish in those thoughts and feelings of annoyance they will grow. And fester. And come out in your speech and actions. Obviously, this creates an unhealthy vibe in your home. Where there should be grace and love you may find bitterness and resentment.

So before it plays out in your life, you have to alter the thoughts that fuel your actions. I'm not saying it is easy. Especially if you've already been bitter for months or years.

But, I think the best tip is to practice cherishing them. Not in a throw away, Hallmark statement way. But in real practical ways. There was a time when you felt that they were a gift from God. Literal treasure.

How do you treat treasure from God? Do you mentally pick it apart for every surface scratch or dull point? Or do you hold it tight like your greatest possession? To cherish means to "protect and care" for someone. We must protect our love and our loved ones from all forms of bitterness and resentment, especially from ourselves.

5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage



3) Don't Force Your Burdens On Them

So, we already addressed the fact that we are flawed and prideful individuals. Along with that comes a certain amount of crazy and insecurities. Personally, I struggle with anxiety, hypochondria and major feelings of inadequacy.

One of the most  beautiful things about a loving relationship is the emotional support. I can't tell you how many times Jamy has pulled me through an anxiety attack or talked me out of my head. But, that is a loving gift of time and emotion that he is choosing to make (because he "cherishes" me.. See what I did there?)

Where this can become unhealthy is when we abuse our loved one's support. Have I forced him to put up with my panic attacks for days on end without proactively seeking help? Have I let him bear the weight of my own insecurities? Have I made him feel guilty for an innocent statement that I took offense to because I feel inadequate.

Well, yes, I have done all of these things. And it is unfair to him. And counter productive to growing a healthy and balanced relationship.


4) Don't Give Yourself an Easy Out

(Before I talk about this, let me preface it by saying that I truly believe and advocate for the fact that divorce is a necessary step in extreme situations. If your marriage is putting you or your children in danger, then some kind of action needs to be taken). 

With that said, it is my personal belief that a large cause of marriage failure is a lack of reverence for the commitment made. I won't go too deep into this, because it is understandably a sensitive topic for many of us. But, my overall point is that if we go into a marriage believing that we have an easy out, then we are less motivated to work through all of the rough patches.


5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage


5) A Common and Intangible Foundation

What is the glue of your relationship? Is it your passion for one another? Is it your love for your kids? The overall life you've made together?  I don't think I know anyone like this, but is it money? All of these things can be taken away from us. Passion shifts and changes to look completely different over the years. Kids grow up and leave. Money is just... not a good reason.

So, I 100% believe the most important key to a happy marriage is that your relationship is built upon something that cannot fade, die or be taken away. I do not know what that will look like for you. For Jamy and I, it is our shared faith. It is intangible and unending. By both of us revolving our lives around this thing that no one can take away from us, we have an eternal glue that brings us closer and tethers us when we are tempted to stray outwardly or inward.

5 Tips For a Happy & Healthy Marriage



Now, if you're still with me, congratulations and thank you! I know this post was long and not about fashion. But, it's something that has been on my heart as this holiday of love is approaching. These are all things I have seen work for us in the past and still need to be reminded of regularly. If any of you find it beneficial then, I'm so happy to share.

I would also love to hear what tips you have for happy and healthy relationships. With something as nuanced as a lifelong contract to love someone, there are for sure more than five things that can make it great.



Formal gowns for tall women

P.S. If you're looking for something more lighthearted you can check out how I got this makeup look, here! Dress is by Jarlo from ASOS.

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8 comments

  1. These are such great tips! I think constant communication and having fun with each other's company is really important with any relationship.

    Belle | www.OneAwesomeMomma.com

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  2. Beautiful post. I also deal with anxiety attacks and so many times I feel like I am putting that burden on him even though he says i'm not and hes happy to help. But I do need to maybe tone it down about with being so dramatic lol!

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  3. I love this. Especially not putting the burden on them. Love how you emphasize being a team and not taking any time for granite!
    www.whatrivawore.com

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  4. This is beautiful. I think the part about pride and nitpicking because they don't things exactly like us is so important. I feel that's the source of it all for us. This post really helped me realize a few things and reminded me to cherish my fiancé with all that I have. Thank you!

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  5. I just recently read a guest post on Ann Voskamp's blog and it was fabulous as it was about "Cherishing" and the difference it has from "Loving." You hit it on the head! Cherishing puts a delight in the other that doesn't quite come to par with loving. Great tips!

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  6. Love this! These are all tips you can apply whether being married 5 months or 50 years. After 10 years of marriage I would add, learn to let things go. We all make mistakes, both big and small. So if you have forgiven your husband for something, you have to let it go as well.

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  7. Great tips! Marriage takes a lot of work. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. You have a lot of stuff figured out that took me a WHOLE LOT longer and things we continue to work on. Best wishes to you and your family! I expect to read your 25th anniversary post someday. I wrote mine this summer after we celebrated our 25th. http://www.almostemptynest.net/25-secrets-of-a-25-year-marriage/

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