I know what you’re probably thinking….”Hasn’t she only been married for like 6 months?” I know, right? What could I possibly know about marriage after such a short amount of time. Well, the answer is….a lot. In addition to my personal passion about the topic, out of all the hundreds of DM’s I receive….it’s quite possibly my most frequently asked question.
“What is your relationship advice?” So by popular demand, here we are 🙂
This post is for my newly weds, the soon to be wedded, the married for 50+ years. I think there is so much power in continually working to become better no matter how long you’ve been in the game. When I asked my husband what he wanted to say in this post he said be sure to add “You’re so beautiful and sexy and hot and you have the cutest bum and the prettiest smile and most amazing eyes. Give foot massages all day long.” Soooooooooooo yeah. There you have it.But in all honesty, we do talk about marriage, marriage advice, and our little tips all the time. And this is what we’ve put together for you.
Obviously, we have the basics. Communication, honesty, vulnerability, compromise, spirituality (if you’re religious) and forgiveness. If you don’t have those basics down…..that could be a really shaky foundation for your relationship. Although these things are super important, I don’t feel like I have the proper extensive knowledge on those to be able to give you proper advice. I’m not a therapist or a licensed psychiatrsit and I cannot fix those things. ALL my advice comes from personal experience and what has worked best for me and my husband. This is why we wanted to focus on the non-conventional tips.
- Let it go.
This has to be one of my most favorite pieces of advice. There are so many components to this line that I love. Let.me.tell.you. There will be so many things that you do wrong. Little things that add up to big things and there is no reason for them to be continually brought up. Use your communication, talk about it when its necessary and then let it go. This little thing can be so freeing to your relationship. It’s something that we worked on and now that we practice it, we are so much closer because of it. No grudges are kept this way and it eliminates the fear of “having to talk about it again. ” It also applies to the little things. If they put the toilet paper on the wrong way, if they forget to turn the lights off, or if they squeeze the toothpaste wrong…..who cares. Let it go. There are so many little things that you have to adjust to (especially when married or living with someone.) Once you let those things go, big or little, it will set you free.
2. Compliment often.
I think that we underestimate the power that compliments can have. One thing that my husband and I really try to incorporate is complimenting each other OFTEN. In fact, I think that’s why people make fun of us for having that puppy type of love. If you think your husband looks handsome, TELL HIM! If you think that his haircut looks extra nice, tell him! If you are grateful for him for doing the dishes because you are super tired, TELL HIM. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt extra crappy about myself and because we practice this…my husband will say something nice and compliment me and it lifts my mood from a 2 to a 10. It’s so crazy that once you start practicing something it becomes a habit. Complimenting someone often puts you in the habit of looking for the good in someone. That, my friends….is magic in your marriage.
3. Serve each other.
Make his lunch, write a little extra note to tell him how much you love him in it. Buy his favorite treat at the grocery store every once in a while EVEN if it doesn’t coincide with your diet. Wash and press his favorite outfit before his big work interview or pick up his protein powder drinks because you know he isn’t going to have time after he gets home from work before the store closes. Serving each other requires you to think ahead. Likewise, my husband often stops by the grocery store to pick up things we are low on because he knows I’ll probably forget. He will vacuum the car or clean up Lola’s messes because he knows those are my least favorite jobs to do. Dishes Laundry and cleaning? All. day. long. I could do it. Brushing Lola? Not my fave. It’s all about compromising and serving each other in ways that you know they’d appreciate.
4. Open about finances.
My husband and I were fortunate to go into our marriage completely debt free which I know isn’t the case for many couples….SO yes. We have been extremely fortunate in the finance department. We were given a brand new completely paid off car for our wedding as a gift which allieviated car payment stresses. I’m not going to sit behind a screen and post photos acting like we are more successful than we are. We are VERY fortunate to have had a lot of help financially to get us on our feet. But I am proud of the life we have created together as we are financially independent now. He has a stable job the provides amazing income and insurance for our family. We are able to save over 50% of our income each month and still live comfortably. On the other side of it, we live in a 1 bedroom apartment that allows us to be able to save money that we would be stressing to put towards a house payment. We decided that we didn’t want to be stressed about finances and paying off a house or go into a large amount of debt yet. SO, we swallowed our pride, applied for low income housing and realized that having a beautiful home is not the top of our priority right away. We are perfectly happy saving and working towards that. I know when the day comes, we will be so proud of ourselves for how hard we worked for it. SO. How do we split up finances? I remember before I even married my husband he was so open about finances. He even asked me my credit score. Which I had NO idea about at the time, but I am proud to say that due to our hard work we both have credit scores that will benefit us EXTREMELY in the future. 🙂 Although it was kind of awkward when we first started talking about money (I am a spender….I wasn’t proud of it.) It benefitted us greatly! Now we know our weaknesses financially and we are able to work on them. It even helped me learn! I was much better at managing my credit score than I thought I was. So thats how we split it up. When my husband gets paid, he first takes 10% out for religious payments. Tithing, if you’re LDS. He then is in charge of paying our rent and the rest of his check (about 50%) goes straight to savings. His work actually allows for his check to go into different accounts….so we don’t even see half of his check in our account each month. We basically see the 50% that wasn’t transferred to our savings. SO if your work allows that option, I highly recommend it! You’re saving without even really realizing cuz it automatically goes into a separate account. For our savings, we do.not.touch.it. The rule of thumb for savings (Charles’ family is SUPER passionate about it…) is you NEVER let your savings go under $1,000. That $1,000 is your emergency fund. If an emergency happens, you will AT LEAST have $1,000 to put towards it. Next, any money I make (blog, babysitting, etc….) goes to our credit cards and spending money. I’m in charge of making sure payments are made on time. Although it’s not a lot and we have strict limits on our credit cards, this system works extremely well for us. So find out what works for you! My husband makes the steady big chunks of money, so he is responsible for the bigger payments. I have oneeeeeee last tip with finances. SHARED BANK ACCOUNTS. SHARED BANK ACCOUNTS. SHARED BANK ACCOUNTS.
If you both have access to your bank accounts, there is no dishonesty and it’s all out there for both of you to see. Having the mentality that its “our money” makes you less selfish when it comes to spending. I don’t believe in “his and hers” money in marriage. You both live in the same house and are working for the same things. You should combine your income and have shared bank accounts. Amen.
5. Set goals together.
Setting goals is a great way to grow closer to your significant other. My husband and I are always setting short term and long term goals. Short term goals may be as simple as “Okay, this week we need to clean out our storage closet and give the dog a bath.”
Long term goals could be
” Ok in the next 5 years, we need you to get further into school and start saving for a house and second car.”
Do you see the difference? We also love to set other goals such as going to the gym a certain amount of times in week or calling a friend that we haven’t spent as much time with lately. Little or big, goals help you work towards a common end result with your significant other. The result? You grow closer along the way. And those little things like cleaning the storage closet together or giving the dog a bath…..are a lot more enjoyable with your best friend by your side. And then neither of you are left with or expected to do those chores alone. It’s a common goal. It’s worked great in our marriage.
6. Date each other.
THAT PUPPY LOVE is so important in your marriage! Although my husband and I are known for spending every second together…we still have to set aside distinguished and separate time to “date each other.” The other day my husband said “Hey can I take you on a date tomorrow?” and it switches the mentality of “oh we’re together all the time” to something a little more special. It’s so important to continue to work towards making your marriage stronger through dating each other EVEN after all the years of being together. I told my husband “I never want to get used to it.” I never want to be casual in being with him. Maybe I’m cheesy, he’s just so special to me that I want to make sure I always date him. It’s the best way to make memories!
7. Keep it spicy.
hahahahahahahah. I’m not even going to elaborate on this. BUT……ya’ll know. Don’t let the flame die. Don’t let it become casual.
8. Be present.
It’s soooo easy when you get married to start focusing on the future. Wanting babies, a bigger house, more vacations, yada yada the list goes on and on can really take the focus away on where you are in your marriage PRESENTLY. I’m not saying by ANY means that wanting these things are bad. Trust me. Ya girl has baby fever. BUT they can be distracting if you focus on them too much. And do you really want to make your husband feel like you’re not happy with where you’re at?! Enjoy the journey. Those things will all come with time. Focus on making memories now. Be present, it goes fast.
9. Have their backs.
When it comes to marriage, you’re entering a whole different world. You not only marry each other, you marry 2 completely different families as well. Incorporating two different families can be confusing and difficult. Especially when it comes to holidays, special events, or even just time spent. Divide it up, and ALWAYS have your spouse’s back. I know that going into any situation, my husband will always have my back. Even if I’m wrong. He knows that I’m the same way for him. It makes it so much easier to handle situations when you work as a team. If there is an argument about where you’re going to spend Thanksgiving or a birthday… having your spouses back makes it a million times easier and less scary to talk about.
10. Keep your privacy.
This seems kind of hypocritical as I’m sitting here being open about my marriage. But….I’m a true believer in keeping privacy. My husband and I have a strict rule of keeping our personal topics private. If we disagree, we discuss it in private later. CAN WE ALL NOT AGREE that there is nothing worse than being in a situation, at an event…and having to listen to a couple argue or fight?! It’s my biggest pet peeve and it makes me so uncomfortable. For that reason, we keep our disagreements private. And by the time you get home…guess what. You’re probably not even bugged about it anymore. So it helps you let go of the little arguments and it spares everyone around you.
Like I said…I’m no pro and we’ve only been married for about 6 months but hey, everyone told me “Your first year is the hardest.” And if that’s true…..we’re gonna be JUST fine. 🙂 I hope all of you take the time to tell your significant other how much you love them today! It goes a long way!