Tomorrow, December 8th, is our 10 year wedding anniversary and I am totally shocked at how the time has flown by. I absolutely love being married to Nick Stewart. He is the best person you'll ever know and the best husband you could possibly find. Over the past decade, I've learned, grown and changed...so, I wanted to share my 10 tips for a happy marriage.
1. SAY THANK YOU
If Ironman takes out the trash, I tell him thank you. If I do the laundry, Ironman says thank you. If he stops by the store, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Sometimes we even laugh because of how often we say thank you to each other. But it's important! I don't want to ever forget to show Ironman how much I appreciate the things that he does for me and our home.
2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
I'm Ironman's only wife, so I want to be a good one! When he fell in love with me, he was attracted to the way I looked, dressed, my personality, etc. So, it's important that I do my best to stay the person that he married. Eating well, getting exercise and dressing nice are all things that Ironman notices and cares about, so I do my best to make them priorities in my life!
3. TELL EACH OTHER THE TRUTH
Although it's hard to be honest about the hard things, it's much better to do it before they become big things. When we think something or feel something, we take time to talk through it now. No need to wait until it becomes built up and one of us explodes. Most times, if we share in the very beginning, it will be something that we can more easily work through together and move past quickly. In the long run, this means less arguments!
4. TAKE A VACATION ALONE
I know it's tempting to go on vacations with friends and invite everyone you know and love so that no one is left out. I get it. But, the few times that Ironman and I have been on vacation alone have been some of our best. We get away from everyone, turn off the social media and focus on each other. By the time we get home, we almost always feel refreshed and have good memories of those trips together.
5. SHARE A HOBBY OR TWO
Ironman and I love to travel together. We love to go on bike rides. Finding a Netflix show to binge-watch together is our favorite. There are lots of things that we enjoy doing together and look forward to. This is important, but it doesn't mean we have to love doing everything together. For example, I will help with the yard but don't enjoy it. Ironman will walk the rail trail with me, but doesn't enjoy going as often as I do. Although we will still do things together that one of us likes more than the other, I think it's important to focus on a few favorites to share and look forward to!
6. TALK TO EACH OTHER DAILY
I don't mean just update each other on what you did that day, but really talk. Tell each other details of your day that stuck out or meant something to you. Share something that you've had on your mind. Talk through ideas that you've been brainstorming. Dream about the future together. Don't just talk to check off the list, talk to each other like when you were dating and trying to get to know this interesting person you're crushing on! When we got engaged, someone gave us the advice to go to bed together every night at the same time. We've been doing it our entire marriage and I think it's a great habit! Many good conversations come at the end of the day, while cuddling in bed, falling asleep.
7. GIVE COMPLIMENTS
Ironman thrives on compliments. He loves to hear that he's doing well, that he's a hard worker, that our Fixer Upper looks beautiful, that he's talented and athletic, that he's attractive and all the other little things that I love about him. Think about it, you go through most of your day not getting compliments. So, when you do get a compliment, it makes you all warm and fuzzy inside and you think about it over and over for a long time. Men and women are the same in that we both want to be complimented. I try to compliment Ironman as often as I think about it because I want to be the one that makes him feel like a million bucks!
8. NEVER SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE
When we got engaged, my Grandma Jackson told me the best marriage advice ever..."Don't ever say anything negative about Nick to anyone". Although Ironman is not perfect, he's perfect for me and that's good enough. The world's hard enough already and people are just trying to survive. There's no point in talking crap about your spouse to other people. For one, those people will get sick of being around you because they will be tired of hearing you complain. Another reason to avoid it is because the more you dwell on the negative, the more it will consume you. If you are someone who talks bad, complains or says negative things about your spouse, hears some advice: stop focusing on them and start focusing on the things that you need to improve on. I bet it will improve your marriage almost immediately.
9. GROW TOGETHER
Just like a hobby, you need to be learning together. Watch some documentaries, join a Sunday School class, read aloud to each other, take a course together. If you find that you have nothing to talk about with your spouse, it may be because you aren't learning or growing. Take time to educate yourself on something new and share your new knowledge with your spouse! It's always fun to be around someone who loves to learn and is excited about life.
10. GO ON DATES
Yep, get dressed up and go out to dinner or a movie or whatever you two enjoy. I know we are slack in this area because we don't have kids and we enjoy being at home, so it's easy to just stay in. But, there's something about making a plan, looking forward to it, putting on a great outfit and sitting across the table from each other at a restaurant. Plus, wives really appreciate not having to plan a meal, grocery shop, cook and then clean up. Less time doing these things means more time focused on her hubby. And men like extra attention, right? So, men, take your wives out regularly and treat them to a nice dinner. It will mean the world to her.
Don't you LOVE our photos?! Emily Christopher from Just Because Blog snapped them for us just two weeks ago! If you need any photos done, I can give you her contact info.