Maintaining An Amazing Marriage In The Mundane
This year, I will celebrate 11 years since my husband and I started dating. We met while we both worked at a summer camp in the mountains. We literally met on a mountaintop, and I naively assumed life with my man would be a mountaintop experience. The truth is that life is not a mountaintop experience, and the beginning of a relationship often brings false expectations because it is easy in the beginning. We were putting on our best faces for each other, romance came naturally and life was bliss.
Over the next few years we got engaged, graduated college, got married, began careers, bought a house, began a family, and even *gasp* bought a minivan. We have grown to realize that even though those early blissful days are great, amazing marriages are built in the mundane. Although the excitement and newness of the relationship is gone, we have a deeper connection that can only be built in the everyday rhythms of life.
I fall in love with my husband all over again when I watch him paint our daughters nails, or share a favorite movie with them. I smile from ear to ear when he comes home from work with my favorite candy just because he knew I’d like it. I get butterflies in my stomach when he sneaks up behind me while I’m doing the dishes, and I jump for joy when he does the dishes for me! 11 years later, I love my husband deeper and more passionately than ever before, and I know he feels the same.
Here are 5 things that I believe (in my humble, totally not-an-expert opinion) keep your marriage amazing, even in the mundane, everyday parts of life:
- Focus on the positive: We attended a marriage retreat where the speaker said that the happiest marriages have a compliment-to-criticism ration of 5 to 1! Thats right, five compliments for every one criticism. We have worked to implement this into our marriage. Some days it is easy, but other days we have to work at it. Focus on the positive, even if its a stretch. Find something small you can compliment your spouse on!
- Get physical: No, I’m not just talking about sex (although thats great too!)…. Make physical contact a priority. Hold hands, hug in the kitchen, give him a long kiss before you go off to work, snuggle on the couch. Do it even if you don’t feel like it. I promise you’ll feel better!
- Laugh together: I’m fortunate that my husband is the funniest guy I know and laughter comes easy in our home. For others that means finding a funny show or movie to watch together, or turning on some music and busting out some silly dance moves. Laughter is good for the soul and good for the marriage.
- Be friendly: Choose your friends wisely. This has been huge in our marriage. We have chosen to surround ourselves with friends who want our marriage to thrive. They may listen to me complain about my husband but are quick to remind me what a great guy he is and how much he loves us. The same goes for my husband’s friends. Good friends will keep your marriage amazing.
- Prioritize each other: Make time for just the two of you regularly. This can be particularly difficult when you are raising small children, but its essential. You can’t have an amazing marriage if you never spend time together. It doesn’t have to be a luxurious weekend away or expensive dinner. We just love to get takeout after the kids go to bed and eat it on our patio in the backyard. We spend time connecting and talking about nothing and everything.
Those are some of the ways we’ve worked to find the amazing in our marriage. What are your tips for finding the amazing in the mundane?