So, you were hoping for dating tips?
Fear not, here's a Guest Blog I wrote with 5 Solid Tips for Dating.
And on to the good stuff...
So, now it's done.
You've tied the knot and said "I do." And whether that was six months ago or decades ago, you've made the commitment to stand together, " For better or for worse, 'til death do you part."
The vows of marriage are not to be taken lightly. Chances are, if you've been in this for longer than a year, then you know marriage is something you have to fight for. If I could be really honest, I would say there are even times where you're not feeling it and you just have to make it work.
Unlike dating, in marriage, you're together all the time. You experience each others company during the most desired (lovemaking & intimacy) and even the most undesired times (those bathroom moments...hello!).
Making marriage last is work. Romance and lust are feelings, but love is a choice.
Love is the decision to consistently put the needs and wellbeing of others before your own, and I mean your spouse especially.
When we stop choosing to love, marriage begins to fail and the family unit starts to crumble. Self-preservation and self-seeking become the certain end to building strong relationships. Marriage is a "we" concept, and any fixation upon yourself for an extended amount of time is bound to bring about problems.
But don't lose heart. There are ways to make it last. I haven't been married for too many moons (7.5 years to be exact), but there are ways my wife and I have learned to make it work. Here are:
3 Ways to Stay Married without Losing your Mind.
1. Pet Peeves & Pushing Buttons
Does your spouse know what sets you off? Mine does. And I know what drives her crazy, as well. In moments of disagreement (don't be delusional newlyweds, this stuff happens) you've got to lay off these triggers. Otherwise, crack out the karate gear and popcorn...there's gonna be a fight.
Learn to lay off the certain things that makes your spouse go cray. If you can disagree without taking jabs at each other, then congratulations, you're one step closer to a lifelong pursuit of happiness, and one less step closer to giving each other a black eye.
2. Prioritize Time to Recharge
Don't be disheartened, there is space in marriage for personal time & solitude. It exists, but, like other priorities, you have to plan for it. Before kids, it's MUCH easier to find time to yourselves. He plays Xbox while she's on Pinterest. See how easy that is. However, as your family expands, finding personal time to collect yourself and recharge can seem much like tracking a golden unicorn. But it's more possible than you think.
A few weeks ago, I could tell my wife was enduring some serious stress. She's a stay-at-home mom (and a fantastic one, if I might say) who spends her days watching our two daughters, one just 4-months-old and the other, a toddler. Somedays, toddlers are a little crazy.
I could tell my wife needed some time to herself, so I volunteered to watch the kids for a couple hours. Meanwhile, Casey went to have coffee all.by.herself. She didn't need a week to recover, but she did need some space. In fact, she called me an hour later to come pick her up. She wasn't asking for a sabbatical from her family. No, all she needed was some time to reset. I've done the same.
Sometimes, you're gonna need a moment to maintain your sanity. Set the time aside and plan for it. Your health depends on it. And your family is depending upon you.
3. Stay in the Hunt
I stress this often, but it's too important not to mention. Marriage is the pursuit of a lifetime and while you're dating, it seems that every moment can be special. She gets dolled up and he looks dapper. Then you both head out for a night on the town. It's an adventure; a pursuit together...towards something bigger and towards one another.
Keep at it. Keep carving time, space, and moments into your lives where you pursue one another. Keep a vision before yourselves. Determine that your going to continue to live for the betterment of one another, as well as those around. Regularly revisit your plans how you want to live your lives. Set short-term and long-term goals that can make your vision less of a dream and more of a reality. And while you're in the hunt, remember to have fun.
What got you together, can keep you together, but you'll have to work at it.
You can do this.
Challenges will come, but you can stay married without losing your mind.