Monday, July 22, 2013

10 reasons why I am still married...

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. While I'm no expert on marriage, I figured it wouldn't hurt to write down some of the reasons that have played a part in why I am not only still married, but very happily married. 

1. Notice things. Notice the extra things that your spouse does. Notice the every day things that they do also. Don't take things for granted. Imagine how things would be if your husband or wife weren't around to do them. Make sure to say "thank you" when you notice things also. Who doesn't like to be thanked!?

Last year when I unexpectedly became pregnant, Alex had to take over all of my normal "duties". I was too sick to take care of Colin, clean the house, too sick to do anything at all. He was amazing and even though I know it was a struggle, he came home from work everyday and took care of things around the house that needed to be done and never complained or said anything to make me feel guilty (believe me, I had enough guilt on my own!). He now has a different understanding of exactly how much effort it takes to care for the kids and all of the tasks around the house. 

Even though it was a tough time for us, in the end it helped us appreciate each other even more than we did before. He now is better at noticing what I do around here and I try to notice the things he does to try to lighten my load when he is home.

2. Don't assume your spouse can read your mind. This is high up on the list because I do this ALL. THE. TIME. I get it in my head that I want him to do something or that I need him to do something but I don't tell him. Then what happens? Well, he doesn't do what I want and I get upset with him. Believe me, it never ends well. I'm upset and resentful, he's upset, and all I had to do was just tell him what I was thinking and it all could have been avoided!! 

3. Don't always expect something in return. Don't do something for your husband or wife expecting to get something out of it. You should do things for them because you want to! Any return "favors" are a bonus!! This kind of goes back to #3 a bit. If you expect something in return and don't get your way, you may end up irritated and that doesn't help anyone. 

4. Schedule some time together. I've been told this by more than one person but now that we have 3 kids (2 of them a year and a half and younger!), I'm finding it to be more and more true. Even if you just put the kids to bed and watch a movie at home. At some point before you got married, you were friends with your husband or wife and that relationship grew into something more. If you don't take the time to talk to someone or spend time with them, you probably are not going to be very close friends. It's no different in a marriage. 

5. Talk and Listen. This is similar to the last tip but it deserves to be on it's own. Talk about your day, talk about anything and everything. And maybe even more important than talking is listening. Sometimes Alex is talking about things at work or about some hobby he is working on and I'll admit that sometimes I am guilty of zoning out. It isn't intentional but he is a mechanical engineer and his brain works differently than mine so most of the time I only understand about half of what he is saying. I'm working on it though! I know that I like to know I'm being heard and he deserves the same (even if some of it does seem like gibberish to me). :)

6. Forget about your ego. APOLOGIZE!! This is a big one. Do not wait for them to say they are sorry. Alex and I have always been pretty good at this. We do have our disagreements but we never stay upset long because one of us is always quick to apologize. 

7. Admit fault. Even if it is mostly their fault (or you feel that way anyway). Most of the time in an argument, both parties involved are at fault in some way so you might as well admit it and get it over with. Trust me, this will make life much more enjoyable.  

8. Realize that neither one of you is perfect. I'm not perfect (not even close!) but neither is he and I shouldn't expect him to be. People mess up, they have bad days, and arguments will happen. Love them anyway. Don't hold a grudge, forgive. Life is too short to stay upset about something that really isn't that important (which is what most of our arguments are - so much in fact that I can't even tell you specifically what we have been upset at each other about recently). 

9. Show affection. Do you kiss your kids? Hug your friends? Well don't forget about your husband or wife. Don't forget how things were when you first got married. Hold hands-even if you are just at home sitting on the couch. Give each other a hug when you get home and before you go to bed (and several times in between!). 

10. Keep the compliments coming. Alex is the master at this one. He tells me I'm beautiful every day, even if I've been throwing up all day (when I was pregnant) or if I've been caring for the kids all day and look like a mess. A little compliment goes a long way!!

There are so many other things I could have listed but these are just some of the ones that have definitely had a positive impact on our relationship. A big part of the reason I wrote this post is so I can come back here and read my own tips. It's so easy to forget in this busy life that we are living and I need daily reminders of the "right" reaction I need to have when I am upset. Today was definitely one of those days!!

Happy Anniversary Alex. I couldn't have asked for a better match!

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