5 EVERYDAY MARRIAGE HABITS
Blake & I met a dozen years ago & some change. (And if you know our story, you know that while he took a little bit to come around, I pretty much loved him from day 1.) We’ve both changed so much since then. (Thank goodness….we were 18 & 19!) I think it’s important to remember even good change is change. And we have to CHOOSE over & over again to grow together. I’m a lucky one– I have one of the best– the best, if you ask me. But it still takes effort.
These are five simple things we implement in our marriage to show up for each other every day.
Text throughout the day.
Monday through Friday, we are apart for around 10 ½ hours. Combined, that’s over two full days a week we are not seeing each other during the broad daylight. Thank the good Lord for modern texting that doesn’t require you to push the button three times to type the letter “C”! I get excited every time my phone dings & I see it’s a text from Blake. It lets me know he’s thinking about me—even when it’s an e-mail he wants me to proof for grammatical errors. Sometimes, we send each other funny gifs back & forth, & sometimes it’s just a simple, “missing you today!” text. Texting keeps us connected during the day when we would otherwise be living completely separate lives.
Say thank you to each other.
I make breakfast for the kids every morning, & I’m usually setting it on the coffee table in our living room as Blake leaves for work. And while we both know breakfast duty has naturally been delegated to me (let’s be real: ALL meals are dedicated to me), it makes an incredible difference when Blake notices my effort & thanks me in the moment or when he offers to pick up donuts so I have a few extra minutes to myself. (I really wish donuts weren’t sugar poison…we’d do this ALL THE TIME.) Another quick morning task is when Blake is running late but still stops to take out the trash before he leaves so I’m not stuck with it—I could just let it go as his job, but when I say thank you, it shows him I see him & appreciate him. Our days are filled with repetitive habits & tiny tasks—but when we feel seen doing them, it adds value to the ordinary.
Make our bed together.
We used to never make our bed—probably because I thought it was ugly even when it was made so what was the point? So when we got a new bed & bedding as part of our renovation this past summer, I vowed to start making our bed every day. I made this very dramatic bed making vow because I bought a duvet to decorate the end of our bed. Blake didn’t understand. Why would you buy this second blanket if we’re not even going to use it? Because it’s pretty & adds texture & dimension to our bed, I said. But we don’t even make it, he said. We will now, I said. And so we do. We upgraded from a queen to a king (hallelujah!), & it’s funny how it feels like it requires so many more steps to walk back & forth around it to pull the sheets this way & that & arrange the pillows. It doesn’t feel like a one person job. So we do it together, & it makes sense. We end the day together, so it makes sense to start our day together. It’s a small task that says we’re a team, & I like it.
Encourage each other to pursue his/her passion/hobby.
I used to give myself pep talks to not feel resentful when Blake wanted to play golf on Saturday mornings. That strategy worked about half the time. (And it wasn’t every Saturday morning, but I wanted him gone zero Saturday mornings.) He was already gone five days a week, & even though that was for work, I was still being left for a sixth day. Those days of caring for three real live babies were some of the sweetest & exhausting days of my life. It wasn’t until we hired a part time nanny & I started writing again that I understood—writing is to me like golf is to Blake. They help us be the best versions of ourselves. Participating in those things doesn’t mean we prefer that over our kids. Those things actually make us better for each other & our kids.
Date each other.
We are all about that date night life, & if you’ve been around me for ten minutes, you already know this to be true. I pop in the same pizza & broccoli dinner for the kids every week, we kiss the kids’ faces, & we’re off. I don’t care where we go—dinner downtown or to Barnes & Noble for coffee & book browsing or to the movies. When life throws curve balls, & we can’t make a regular date night happen, we still make one happen at home. We order in take out after the kids are in bed & talk & watch a show that makes us laugh. When we are empty nesters, I don’t want to wonder what we ever had in common outside of our kids. I want connection with each other to feel as natural as it was when we were dating. I want us to be electric forever.
Bonus: The Marriage Journal
Over the summer, I read Audrey & Jeremy Roloff’s book, A Love Letter Life, & then I promptly ordered their product, The Marriage Journal. It’s a journal Blake & I fill out together every Sunday night. There is room for us to go over our schedules for the week, & then we answer the same six questions every time. Most of the time when we sit down to do this, I’m tired & ready for bed. But when we start talking, a second wind almost always shows up, & it really helps set ourselves & each other up for the week ahead.