In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, let’s talk about L-O-V-E. I feel like this holiday is a love/hate affair. Some people are all about it, especially now that Galentines parties are a real thing, while some see it as nothing but losing a hundred bucks to a dozen fancy flowers that die in 10 days. Talk about bringing a party down.

Well, it’s probably no surprise that I’m in the first category because I love any chance to celebrate our relationship & get a date night out of it. I’d rather have a simple handwritten note over a present, but I for sure want us to spend intentional time together.

Life is a lot to handle, you guys. And to carry around the idea that tying the knot is enough to secure a relationship through all the bumps & turns is silly. And I’m not talking security as in just sticking it out. There are a lot of married people who are basically really great roommates. I’m talking about what it takes to be each other’s person. I want to be Blake’s best friend. I want us to be crazier about each other now than when we were dating. And that can be a steep challenge. Blake is a saint, but like I said, life can be a mess.

Three things to focus on to keep your marriage BFF-with-a-side-of-sizzle-material (Why yes, I did just make that up. I’m so clever, it’s unreal.)

Love is not blind.

There is maybe a 9 month window in the beginning of a relationship where love may be blind & everything is shiny & sweet. But tack on annoying habits, expectations, & dishes waiting to be washed & suddenly the claws can start to come out. Love means seeing each other in the best light– even when you’re tired & cranky (This is realllll hard sometimes). Love means calling out the best in each other. Nothing makes me feel more loved as when Blake voices a positive quality he sees in me. It encourages me & makes me want to keep growing as a person for him. Love is seeing everything, & choosing to hold each other up high.

To work on your marriage, you have to work on yourself.

We get this backwards sometimes. It’s kind of like wanting to feel fit before you step foot in a gym because you want to feel like you belong. It doesn’t work that way. And neither does marriage. To be a strong half in your relationship, you have to take care of  yourself. Self care, like Valentine’s Day, can get a bad rap because it feels like a made up excuse to get a pedicure. (Nothing against a good pedicure!) But that’s not what I’m talking about. The term self care was invented because people, particularly women, weren’t placing a priority on themselves. Really, self care shouldn’t be a separate thing we squeeze in– it should just be part of life. Healthy self care means taking the time to invest in yourself so you can be the best version of YOU. When you are at your best, your marriage reflects that. I can 100% vouch for this because our marriage has GREATLY improved since we got help with our kids & I started writing again. We made it possible for me to invest in myself, & it shows big.

Kindness does not equal weakness.

I love to be right, yes I do. I’m a horrible debater, but give me a heads up, & I’ll write the mess out of a topic. Where are my fellow internal processors? But marriage is teaching me something– that even in big conversations, the goal is not to win. Because as soon as that becomes my goal, I’ve created a line of division. A competition. A winner & a loser. I stop listening. It becomes all about me & what I have to say. Kindness is all the sudden substituted for weakness, & then really, nobody wins. I have to remember the day we said “I do” is the day we said yes to being on each other’s team for life. Now I’m not saying we agree on everything. We’re two growing human beings who have thoughts & opinions that differ. And I’m not saying we keep it to ourselves so everything stays looking glossy. We work our way through rough conversations together. But when we remember that we love each other & we like each other & we want the best for each other, the walls come down & we can talk without fear of being the loser.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovelies! Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone or group of Galentines, I hope fun memories are made!

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