As I celebrated my first wedding anniversary last week, it really reminded me of some key elements to having a successful marriage and making it through anything side by side.  Though there are always bumps in the road, don’t let it ruin what you have built over the years.

Sure, my husband and I have been together for almost 8 years now and we had two children before we chose to get married – but there was still something about being married that was different.

Was it the true commitment to each other?  The sharing of the last name?  The rings we wear with pride on our fingers? It was all of these, and so much more.

1. Say I love you.  Say it every day, at least twice a day (in the morning and at night).  No one is ever too sick of hearing someone they truly love telling them how much I love them.  It’s because it means something more than just three words, it’s that butterfly feeling you get when they look into your eyes and you feel like your falling in love all over again.  Don’t say it because you messed up or because you feel like your supposed to, say it because you mean it; and if you don’t mean it, you shouldn’t be saying it and you shouldn’t be together.

2. Take time for yourselves.  My husband seems to think that I hate guys night and wishes he would never go.  The reality is, I LOVE guys night.  For more details, please see the post why I love guys night.  We all need some time; I have a weekly girls night and it is needed.  Of course, I love spending time with my husband, but the reality is we all need a little time with the girls and vice versa.  After all, his friends were there before I was and just because I came into the picture, is not a reason for him to have to end friendships or never make plans without me.  Plus, my husband really doesn’t want to hear about gossip or listen to why I hate the way my hair looks or tell me what shirt looks best when I ask.  Girlfriends are there for a reason and I am blessed to have so many awesome ones!

3. Say thank you.  I can’t even stress this one enough.  In relationships you might have some sort of agreement where he does one thing and you do the other.  But just because it’s chores and things you both have to do – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say thank you.  Appreciate that he works hard and is practicing putting the girl’s hair in ponytails.  “Thank You” goes a long way.

4. Spend time together. Just like it’s important to spend time apart, you must spend time together as well.  This can be watching your favorite TV shows together at night, which of course we do, having a date night, or just a walk around the block.  Spending the time together catching up on your day, talking about an issue with the kids, or just to share a laugh – these are all extremely crucial to a healthy relationship.

5. Listen. Listen to each other.  You can’t be successful if you don’t.  You can’t be effective parents if you don’t listen to what the other person has to say and in my opinion, your relationship won’t last if you can’t listen to each other.

6. Laugh. Laugh a lot.  Laugh at each other, laugh with each other – when they say it is good for the soul – they mean it.

7. Have lazy days. Even with kids, everyone needs lazy days.  The days where you sit on the couch, binge watch tv, don’t clean the house, and just relax.  If you are always doing something or going out – how can you just be?  Sometimes you just need to stay at home, laugh with the kids, take naps together, and enjoy the moments before they pass.

8. Pick your battles.  Sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong.  The point is, don’t stress about every little thing.  If you spend all your time micromanaging each other, whats the point in being together?  You’ll know when it’s worth fighting over, when you need to make a big stink and get your point across.  But that’s not every little thing; don’t waste your time fighting over silly trivial things – no one is perfect all the time.

9. Don’t be too frugal.  Of course, bills come first and as an adult and a couple you need to learn how to be smart and responsible with the money that you share.  But make sure you splurge once in a while.  Whether it be a sporting event, a fancy dinner, or a carnival with the kids.  It’s important to not let everything pass you by because you are trying to save for down the road.  Money comes & goes but you only live once and you don’t want to look back and wish you lived more.

10. Be a team.  You didn’t marry someone to play the “that’s mine” game or try to one up each other.  You are a team.  You make decisions together, you share everything, and you are a unit.  You came together, fell in love, and vowed to love, cherish, and support each other forever.  Don’t lose sight of that.  Don’t forget why you fell in love in the first place.

I definitely knew all these things – but sometimes you need a reminder so you don’t lose sight of what is important.  I have an amazing husband and though he makes me absolutely crazy – I can’t and don’t want to imagine my life without him.

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