5 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Strong

Hutchinson Wedding 2013Today is Hubby and I’s fourth wedding anniversary.

Four years… just saying it’s been four years since I became a Mrs. is mind-blowing.

The time has zoomed by.

Hubby and I married young which we’ve discovered to be both a good and bad thing.

Marrying young means we’ve had four years of just the two of us (and our two pug boys of course!). Four years of learning from one another, of supporting one another during life’s trials, and of coming up with a myriad of nicknames and inside jokes for one another.

For years now we’ve both worked from home, side-by-side on our small couch, running our own businesses (our two businesses honestly couldn’t be more different from one another) and carrying on with our work and personal lives both separate and yet intertwined.

Four years has come and gone in a flash. And yet so much has happened over those 1,460 days.

In the past year and a half we’ve lost three grandparents. We both left our full-time, well-paid jobs in finance and took our house savings to launch our own businesses.

It’s been a scary, dramatic, rough, and trying four years. But since I started dating Ian just weeks before my father’s early death, nothing about our relationship has ever been “normal”. We became close much faster than I ever expected. I never thought I’d be married at 25 (Hubby was only 23!) but at the same time, even after just a year of our relationship I couldn’t envision myself with any other person.

He’s my person. He’s my best friend, my confidant, my therapist, my business coach, my IT support (thank god he knows so much HTML!), my sous chef, my workout buddy, my partner-in-crime. He’s even occasionally my photographer (he shot this outfit in a snowstorm — talk about serious husband cred!).

It sounds cliché but in a lot of ways, my husband is my everything. Things have never felt terribly smooth. And we’ve both said and done some embarrassing things over the last four years. It’s not been easy but that’s what’s made our relationship just SO powerful and SO meaningful. We’ve been through hell and back together, holding hands and forging on against the raging storm of life with a resilient spirit that says “I can do it with you at my side”. We’ve been poor and wealthy together. We’ve been jobless together and overworked together. We’ve studied for brokeraging licenses together, wandered the dusty fields of countless music festivals (I’ll never forget Bonnaroo June 2011), shared a baguette along the Seine, stepped onto glaciers in Alaska together, and adopted our second pug together.

What can I say? Doing things together with him is always better than doing them solo.

I love you Hubby. Happy Anniversary!

5 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong

1. Dance Together

Dancing is one of the funnest forms of physical expression a couple can do together. It infuses random moments with a lovely dose of romance. And is a great way to build intimacy outside of the bedroom. There are times when Hubby and I dance right next to the stove while we’re cooking dinner for no reason other than we can.

And it may seem weird but it’s one of my favorite things we do. Especially when we dance to this:

2. Practice Little Acts of Kindness

All the time Hubby and I are leaving little notes and tokens for one another. If I’m gone all day shooting, I’ll often come home to clean laundry, a new bouquet of fresh flowers, or a note on our front door saying “Welcome Home”. And every time Hubby is gone for business on the East Coast, I always make sure he comes home to clean sheets, one of his favorite meals, and a glass of good wine.

It may seem unimportant but these little acts of kindness bring so much strength to a relationship. It ALWAYS brightens my day and makes me happier to see a note from Hubby waiting for me on our dresser. Even if all it says is “I love you”.

3. Discuss EVERYTHING, No Matter How Hard

Little or big, everything needs to be discussed when it comes to the ONE family member you’ve actively chosen in your life. No matter how hard, how embarrassing, or how painful, discuss it with one another. It’s not healthy for any of us to hold in anxiety, frustration, or pain and none of us are perfect — we all need at least someone to depend on to vent to. While I do occasionally resent how much Hubby knows about me, it also builds a strong sense of trust in one another that we’ve found to be invaluable, especially during the last year a half of family illnesses.

4. Cultivate Inside Jokes

Hubby and I have a million inside jokes. I swear we can’t go anywhere without turning it into an inside joke. Our biggest inside joke surrounds Sue, the largest in-tact T-Rex skeleton ever found, currently housed in Chicago’s Field Museum. So naturally many of the gifts and cards we give one another include at least one T-Rex. I even give Hubby a T-Rex ornament every year for our Christmas tree!

Having inside jokes helps not only to diffuse tension during rough patches but it also cultivates a unique layer of closeness. There are times we don’t even need to say the jokes any more — a glance is all that’s needed.

5. Say “I love you” as much as possible

Obvious but ridiculously important regardless. Say “I love you” every day. Every hour. In a world where more than half of all marriages end in divorce, love feels like the only true solution.

Love one another fiercely, loudly, and frequently. We’re imperfect beings who make mistakes and deal with a multitude of struggles during our lifetimes. We need love and we undoubtedly need it more than we care to admit. We need to be loved for our imperfections, not judged for them. Say “I love you” as much as possible and watch as the repetition alone strengthens your relationship.

What strengthens your closest relationships? How have your relationships evolved as they’ve aged?

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  • Jen

    What a beautiful post. I love what you said and you can tell how much you love him.