Thirteen years ago today, on a wet Saturday afternoon in Seattle I vowed to spend my life – come what may with this guy. At the time, I didn’t fully know what that meant or what was in store but before the clock struck midnight, I had a new last name and was embarking on the greatest adventure of my life.
Thirteen years later I can say unequivocally that he is the best decision I ever could have made for myself. I trace every good thing that has come into my life back to the moment I said yes to him.
We are far from perfect and still have so much to learn. But we also smile over how far we’ve come and how many miles it took us to get here. We’ve lived in 3 states, moved 9 times, brought 3 children into this world and have grown into the people we are today…all together.
Over this last weekend Taylor surprised me and took me to Whistler, Canada for our anniversary! We had an absolutely amazing weekend! While we drove I asked what he attributes to our marriage being strong? You’ll find his answer at #1, the rest are mine or a collaboration of both of us.
I share these with you not because we have it all (or even most of it) figured out, far from!! But because what I have learned thus far has been because of the wonderful examples and influences of others plus I always love hearing how other people do what they do – so here’s a little about how we do what we do!
10. There is no exit strategy. When I first said, ‘I do’ I had no idea what that really meant, but I had a new husband who taught me that quitting was not an option. He believed that happiness really was possible and that through thick and thin we were in it all together. We’re in this for eternity. There is a perspective that comes with planning to spend forever together that helps you to see past right now frustrations and build on forever happiness.
9. Two Minutes. This has been a newer one for us but I really love it! The first 2-minutes after Taylor get’s home are just for each other and not to discuss anything negative. He walks in the door, comes and grabs me and we just hold each other. Of course the kids try to pry their little bodies right in the middle, but we just smile and hold tight to each other.
8. Sweet Surprises. Leaving a little note, planning a special night, sending a thoughtful text. Taylor is way better at these than I am, but it’s amazing how they make my whole day so much brighter.
7. Saying Why. I love to hear ‘I love you’ but it’s said so often that sometimes I feel like it lacks some of it’s power, but when he tells me why…when he says why he appreciates me, why he loves me, why I did a good job that day or why he thinks I’m beautiful, it takes ‘I love you’ to a whole new level!
6. Little Rituals. There is something that feels so safe about having little rituals that are just ours to have. They aren’t anything to big…trying new specialty root-beers, dancing to no music in the kitchen, waiting till we have at least 2 of our favorite shows recorded so we get “more closure”, putting the kids to bed at 8pm and then having our time.
5. Time away. I always new I wanted to be the cool wife who was going to encourage her hubby to go out with the guys. We have so much fun together, but we are also very different…I’m a girl, he’s a guy – that pretty much sums it up. So there are adventures that just aren’t meant for the other to be a part of. Some are bigger like when he goes on fishing trips or heads off for one of his Spartan Runs and I go on girl’s weekends and to my photography events, but others are just once in a while. It’s important that while most of what we do is together, we also have interests that are our own. Besides, it gives us new stories to tell each other which at this point, they are all pretty much re-runs.
4. Consider the other. We and when I say we, I mostly mean me, are not always great at this one. But hands down…we are at our very, very best when we are considering and taking care of each other! When we are each looking for how we can lighten the others loads life is so much sweeter and more enjoyable!
3. Date Night. We have never stopped dating. We try to go out on a date once a week, sometimes life is to crazy, but when it does get crazy, we typically make up for it with a full weekend just the two of us. We have always been the kind of couple who loves and lives for date night. Our babysitters are on speed dial and they know they can count on us to pretty much finance their wardrobes…it’s an investment that has been well worth it!
2. Novelty. We continually try new things together and I think this really helps us to stay young in our relationship! We’ve tried cooking new things, trying exotic restaurants, traveling to amazing places, outdoor adventures (which I do only because I love him – my still purple nail is proof of that!), dance lessons…we even read the Hunger Games trilogy together during several long road trips last year. It was actually really fun! Sometimes they are things for me (i.e. ballroom dance lessons) and other times they are things for him (i.e. backpacking into the woods for a weekend). But the bottom line is, we are always trying new things together. The together part is what’s so important. It gives us knew things to talk about, laugh about and get excited about.
1. Birds & Bees thrive here! I know this is totally not a PG answer and I’m pretty embarrassed to even be typing it. But if you’re married than sex shouldn’t be new. When I asked Tay why he thinks we’re so strong, this was his answer and he followed up with this statement. ‘Look at our friends who seem the most unhappy in their marriages and they all joke about never having sex.’ He had a strong point. There is something vulnerable and powerful about coming back together…often.
So that’s what I came up with. What about you? What is the number one thing you attribute to a great marriage?