This post was written by my blogger friend, Amberly, from A Prioritized Marriage (bio below!)
Earlier this year, I read an article that talked about the things that we need to stop telling married couples. The premise of the article is that currently married couples are too often downplaying how great that union can really be. Rather than sharing all of the joy that marriage brings to our lives, we give them the idea that after a certain amount of time, the love in your relationship dies. We tell couples that things will be different after the first year, after they have kids, etc. While every stage of life brings with it unique challenges that require you to make adjustments as a team, you can keep that just married excitement and love alive throughout your life together. You have the power to determine how life and the obstacles that it throws your way will affect your marriage. You can choose find joy or you can choose to let things drag you down and turn your relationship into exactly what some couples say that it will be, loveless.
Personally, I choose to find joy in my relationship every day and continue to build the love in my marriage. Even on the worst of days, you can find at least one good thing to focus on and that one little thing can make all the difference.
Start a Journal for Your Relationship
This can be a gratitude journal, a good moments journal, a memories journal, whatever you want it to be. The important thing is that you are looking for at least one positive thing to write in it every day. If your spouse will participate and write down one thing as well, that’s even better! Take note of something your spouse did that you’re grateful for or really appreciated, a moment when you knew they loved you, a trait of theirs that you admire or something memorable that happened that you don’t want to forget. You’ll find that the more you are looking for positive things to write in your journal, the more joy you’ll have in your life and the more joy you will get from your marriage. When we shift our focus, our attitude and the things around us change as well.
When you talk to your spouse, make sure that you are not only talking about how your day has gone and all of the things that go into running your household. Just like when you were dating, you should still be talking about your hopes and dreams both as individuals and as a couple, your current interests and disinterests, and the things that you like to do for fun together. You may think you know everything about each other, but things change over time and there is always something new that you can learn about your spouse. The day to day workings of your household are important, but they won’t keep the spark alive in your marriage the way that the fun conversations will. If you struggle to find a way to get those relationship building conversations going, there are a lot of great books and games that can help you get started. I shared one of my favorites in a post on my blog a few months ago.
Create a Ritual
Rituals are a great tool for strengthening family and couple relationships. Knowing that you have that one special thing planned for the two of you will give you something to look forward to. When life gets tough, you can find a glimmer of sunshine together through your traditions. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a bowl of ice cream or a special treat before bed, watching an episode of your favorite show together weekly (or daily if it’s on Netflix), afternoon naps on the weekend or anything else. Find something that the two of you enjoy doing together, decide why that thing is meaningful to you as a couple, and start to make it a habit. If you want to add rituals later on down the road, or if your ritual needs to change depending on your stage in life, that is ok too. Just make sure to always have a little something out of the ordinary that you are doing together.
Having a happy, joy filled marriage no matter your stage in life or how long you’ve been together is possible, but you have to put forth effort in order for that to happen. If you are willing to make your spouse a priority on a daily basis, you won’t end up in the type of marriage that some people think is normal. You can be as happy as you were the day that you were married for your entire lives!