On Sunday my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Every year this day comes and I’m always so amazed that our wedding day seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. It really was the best day of my life so far. We celebrated with a delicious brunch at Five Birmingham (one of my favorites!) and dinner at Perry’s.
Brides tend to get so caught up in the wedding planning and the stress that it can bring (I know I did!) that they sometimes forget that the REAL work starts after the wedding. I’ve seen an article circulating around the internet titled “Marriage Isn’t Hard.” I smile to myself every time I see it because the author has been married for all of 10 months, and every single person I’ve seen sharing it has been married less than a year. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble but at some point in your marriage, it IS going to be hard. Likely not right after the wedding when you’re still in the honeymoon phase, but hard times will come. A successful marriage requires you to put someone’s needs above your own, and that is not a natural thing for anyone. It’s hard. But it’s oh so worth it. SO worth it.
So how do we keep those hard times at bay? I’m certainly no marriage expert, and I’ve done a LOT of things wrong in my marriage. I’ve put myself before my husband frequently. But over the past 6 years I’ve learned some things to keep our marriage fresh and joyful. Here are 6 tips for a happy marriage.
- Choose your marriage first. Always! This is something my husband and I both struggled with. We both have demanding careers. We both have large families. And we both have friends we want to hang out with. A couple of years into our marriage I realized that we really never saw each other. No wonder it was hard! We had to start being selfish FOR our marriage. We told our families we were skipping out on Thanksgiving and headed out of town, just the two of us. I started skipping a few girls nights, and he started cutting out on guys nights. It stinks sometimes, but our marriage is the most important thing to us and we have to treat it as such.
- When you forgive, forget. I am the world’s worst about bringing up things that happened 6 months ago whenever we argue. “Remember when you did this?!” That’s completely unfair. When J messes up, I have had to learn to forgive him AND forget about it.
- Don’t stop dating. After being with someone for 10 years, it can start getting hard to stay connected. After a long day, I really want to just hang out on the couch in my sweatpants watching Netflix and eating pizza. However, during those times I’m not really present with my husband. Just because we’re married, doesn’t mean we need to stop dating. Each week we make it a point to go on some kind of date. It might be a lunch date after church, or a quick coffee date. Whatever it is, it keeps us connected.
- Remember the cute things you did that made your spouse fall for you when you were dating? Keep doing those. When my husband and I started dating I was so shocked at what a gentleman he was. HE OPENED MY CAR DOOR EVERY TIME WE GOT IN THE CAR. I felt like I hit the jackpot in the boyfriend department. Who still does that?! (For the record, your man should always treat you like a lady, I had just been scorned by dating guys who did not do that). My friends and I would giggle about it and we all knew that it would fade. But you know what? It hasn’t. My husband still opens my car door for me every time we get in the car. And it makes me smile, every time.
- Communicate throughout the day. It’s so important to say connected with your spouse. Unfortunately most of us can’t spend every waking second with our spouse…I mean we all have to go to work! Send your spouse a quick text message during the day or call them on your lunch break. It will help you stay connected! J texts me a couple of times every day, and I always look forward to those text messages.
- Don’t ever give up. Ever. Marriage can be so hard sometimes, BUT it is also the best thing. Marriage is being with someone who will always love you. It’s coming home to someone who adores you every single night. And it’s ALWAYS worth it.
J, I am so honored to be your wife. Thank you for choosing me on that perfect October day 6 years ago and continuing to choose our marriage every single day. I’m so happy to celebrate 6 years with you, and I can’t wait to see what the next 60 years has in store for us!