I am by no means a marriage expert. But in honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to share a quick little post on what a healthy marriage looks like to me! And while Conor and I are going on 5 years of marriage- we have been a couple since 2007 (😳) so we have learned and grown a lot together as people and in our relationship.
Understand your spouse for who they are and accept them unconditionally: the good the bad and the ugly. What I mean by this is that if you are married (hopefully!) you really know your spouse inside and out. If you fell in love, you know all of the wonderfulness they bring to the table. But let’s be honest, no one is perfect. We all have our shadow sides. And knowing the dark sides of your spouse isn’t a bad thing. Always try to bring out the best in them, of course, but also allow them to not be perfect. Accept their imperfections and love them for them.
Along those lines, don’t try to change their essence. This may sound obvious, but we all have a something unique we bring to the table. I’ll use myself as an example. I am often floating high above the clouds dreaming big. I have lofty aspirations. I’m a very woowoo Pisces who loves reading books on self-improvement. My husband is not into any of it (at least not in the same way!). But instead of trying to change me to be more like his practical self, he loves me for it (even though I’m pretty sure it drives him crazy sometimes!). Along the same lines, my husband loves sports (playing and watching) oh so much, and I couldn’t care less most days. But instead of trying to change that part of him I have leaned in to the most important games for him (Indiana University Basketball, in case you were wondering) and prepare myself with other things to do for other big games I can’t mentally care about. Obviously, we compromise- he would watch sports all day every day if he could, but instead we watch lots of other things that we both like (current favorites being Schitt’s Creek and Medici!).
Spend alone time together. Make time to recharge your relationship. Having a regularly scheduled date night will help keep things fresh and fun. It’s easy to have your weekends dominated by social plans with friends and family. But it becomes increasingly more important as you have less and less time for yourselves (yeah I’m talking to you young parents!). You need alone time in order to keep your bond strong and to feel connected. Related to that, it’s important to keep intimacy a priority. Yeah, I said it. It’s easy to let it slip away, but if you prioritize intimacy it helps your connection stay strong.
Lastly, remain independent. Remember you are an individual first and foremost. Don’t rely on your spouse to define you or fill every need you have. Friends are important. Family is important. Your spouse can’t be everything to you. Other relationships are important to our mental health too. I don’t expect my husband to understand all my woowoo inclinations- but I have a whole other tribe for that! Just like he has all of the bros to talk/play sports with. Take responsibility for your own happiness! It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. You make yourself happy and the rest will follow. If that isn’t romantic, than I don’t know what is! ;)
Happy Valentine’s Day! Treat your boo right today and every day! :) -AHS