My husband and I have been married for 6 1/2 years, together for almost a decade. Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes our relationship work. I still remember our first Valentine’s day together. It was a winter like this one, tons of snow in February. In fact, we weren’t able to spend the day together due to a snow storm. Instead, we went out to two fancy dinners, one the weekend before and one the weekend after. I cooked a special meal and even created a scavenger hunt for my husband (cheesy right?). My husband gave me a beautiful necklace with a small diamond heart that I absolutely adored and still love to this day…aside from my engagement ring and earrings I got after our son was born, it’s my favorite piece of jewelry.
Fast forward to our ninth Valentine’s Day together and boy have things changed. We almost never go out on Valentine’s night, aka amateur night. In fact, this year, we did a whole date day, instead. Sure, it wasn’t glamorous, but we spent almost 12 hours together focusing on ourselves and even had two meals, kid free! So, what’s our secret?
1) Own what you are good at and accept what you’re not. I rock at cooking but stink at cleaning. It just so happens my husband is a master bathroom cleaner. We are both able and willing to do laundry and shovel snow, and so we divide and conquer those chores.
2) Go on a date at least once a month, adults only! We are very lucky that we have grandparents who love to babysit, but I really have learned that this tip is key to most successful marriages from those who do and those who don’t keep dating. Remember, dates don’t have to be dinner. Also, a friend mentioned that babysitting gets expensive, so she and her friends rotate and babysit for each other; the kids get a play date, mom and dad get a date, and no extra costs. Wins all around!
3) Go to bed angry…but together. I’ll never forget when I was engaged and it felt like everyone gave me advice on how to stay happily married. The most common one was, ‘never go to bed angry.’ Well, I disagree. Sometimes, adults, like children, need to sleep to reset their emotions. In all our time married, my husband and I have only slept apart due to an argument….ONCE. The next day was rough, but we finally talked through it and agreed it wasn’t worth it. That was three years ago.
4) Don’t forget to communicate. My husband is no Shakespeare, but we did spend a lot of our dating time emailing. He was so cute and always made sure to use proper grammar and spelling. Now, in the era of texting, we don’t email as much, but we still try to ‘talk’ a few times during the day. They are simple check-ins throughout the day, funny stories we don’t want to wait to tell in case we forget, and even just simply stating, “I love you.”
I feel blessed to have found my perfect-for-me match and work hard to keep it going after almost a decade together.
What about you and your perfect match? Any tips to add?