Buuuuut, today should make up for yesterday, as I'm joining the lovely Erika and Shay for their new series "Workin' it Wednesday" where we focus on different topics every month. I missed last month's New Year's Resolutions, but this month's is a good one. We are talking about how we work on our marriages. I am always looking for new ways to spice up our marriage. Because just like anything, if you don't add new and exciting things, your relationship can become stale...or you could fall into a rut. Something that can quickly spiral out of control if you don't take hold of the reigns right away. That said, let me give you a little history into mine and Aaron's relationship...
We met in jr. high. Yep. We literally have known each other well over half of our lives. Granted, we didn't date then (he was the cool cat who always had a "girlfriend") but it was only a few short years later that we did. Fast forward to Valentine's Day, sophomore year (so 16 years ago next week :O ) and he asked me to our high school's Sweetheart Dance. He proceeded to ask me to be his girlfriend exactly one week later. I was head over heels for him from the get go. He opened doors for me, only held my hand outside of school, burned me CD's of love songs, took me to nice dinners, movies, gave me sweet little gifts to let me know that he was always thinking of me...I mean you get the picture. He was the definition of a true gentleman. He waited almost an entire year of dating before he told me that he loved me (while listening to a mushy Nelly song). It may sound weird, but at that moment I knew I would be with him forever.
We spent that next summer living in different states, as he had an internship in Seattle, and I had an internship here in Nebraska. It was the longest 3 months of my life. But also the biggest growth our relationship had ever had. Absence does truly make the heart grow fonder! I flew out to drive back with him the end of that summer, and that was where he asked me to be his wife. We were married the summer after we graduated college. Mere babies at 22 years old.
Neither of us knew what we were doing when we got married. We had never lived together, so that was a REAL wake-up call. Neither of us had nailed down "big girl/boy" jobs yet, so we were together non-stop. It sounds like a dream, but it was rough. Living on Costco hotdog meals (because hello $1.50) because we couldn't afford anything else. Things finally turned around for us when Aaron accepted a position with a financial firm and I accepted the position of Assistant Manager at a local retail store.
Things were good, but not fantastic. I still relied heavily on my Mom for advice, calling her everyday and filling her in on every detail of our life. That was the cause of 95% of our disagreements. I was telling her more than I was telling my own husband, and it needed to be the other way around. Once I figured that out, things amazingly turned a corner in our relationship.
Two years into our marriage we became parents, at the exact same time that we moved out of state for a new job for him. If you want to really grow your marriage and your bond with your husband, move somewhere that you only have each other to rely on. With a brand new baby. Yikes. I look back to those days and although they were extremely lonely, (I was a new mommy, who was staying home full time, with no family to help) we grew more in love and matured faster than we ever would've without that move. We still talk about it to this day that God knew exactly what he was doing in that moment. And we are forever grateful for that year that we had away from any of our support system. It was a pivotal turning point for us and our family. We now always put each other first, along with our kiddos.
Fast forward to today. 8 1/2 years of marriage and 2 little dudes later, and we are happier, our marriage is the strongest it ever has been and although we aren't perfect, we literally work on our relationship every single day.
We plan bi-weekly date nights. We have found that with the rush and hustle and bustle of kiddos, your marriage can easily fall to the wayside. Date nights are our chance to reconnect. We go to dinner, slow down and enjoy a nice long meal. We try to limit the discussions on our boys, and focus more on us. What we feel each other could improve on, what we are doing right, and goals for the upcoming weeks. We have found that if we are on the same page, the ship sails a lot smoother ;)
We do random acts of kindness for one another. Aaron's favorite way to feel loved is by acts of service. Little things like packing his lunch and laying out his clothes for the next day. Or buying him his favorite deodorant without asking. I am serious when I say that he feels more loved when I do those little things than if I were to buy him tickets to a Cowboys football game.
My love language is gifts, so I of course love to give gifts, but in turn also love to receive ;) It doesn't have to be big, but if you thought of me when you saw a cute coffee mug while you were at Starbucks, that means the world to me. Words of affirmation are also a love language for me. He knows that by him telling others that he couldn't do what he does, or be as successful as he is if I wasn't at home manning the ship, will more than likely bode well for him later ;). That always gets me right in the heart.
And finally, one more big thing for our marriage is going to church together. We can always tell that our marriage isn't clicking or chugging along as smoothly as it should when we miss a few weeks of church. We truly leave each service with a sense of renewed love for one another. More simply, if God isn't at the forefront of our marriage, you will find us in more arguments than if we were regularly attending church.
Whew...what a post! I didn't expect for it to be so long, but I feel like you needed to know our history (it's a long one) before I told you how we got to where we are today. It isn't always sunshine and rainbows, but we work for it and it's worth every ounce of effort.
Tell me...what do you do to make your marriage work? Big or small, I wanna hear!
Until next time...