Building a Loving Home: It’s Not All Construction (3rd Wedding Anniversary)

I’m interrupting our 30 Days to an Organized Home series to talk about love.  After all… what’s a home without love?  And, because it is our 3rd wedding anniversary!

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As I’ve said in the past, building love in our home, between the two of us, is a big part of this blog.  It’s the reason that “love” is even in the name.  I truly believe in the importance of building your relationship- the work is never done.  This week, this is even more at the forefront of my thoughts!  You see, Eric and my anniversary is TODAY!  We are actually celebrating our third wedding anniversary, and our fifth year being together.  It’s truly amazing how time has flown.  At the end of the day, our relationship is definitely not perfect, but we hold that while we aren’t perfect, we’re perfect for each other.  This is key, since NO ONE is perfect and if they ever claim to be, you should run!!!

Before you get married, you hear your elders say that your love will grow stronger with time, and you just don’t really understand.  Well, I can attest, that every day I fall more and more in love with this man.  He is my heart and he brings so much joy and adventure to my life.

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We often have friends and family members come to us for “love” advice, whether it’s dating or marriage.  I think there are a lot of reasons that this happens, but I believe there’s one reason in particular that makes people comfortable in approaching us- we are always willing to share our own personal experiences.  We believe that by sharing our experiences, our trials and tribulations, these individuals can see that we are human and we all have struggles.  We also hope that our struggles will somehow be relatable for them, and that in hearing our story, they may find a new way to approach or overcome their struggle.

 

GROWING OUR LOVE & MARRIAGE

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To celebrate a day of love and marriage, I wanted to share some of the most important things we do to maintain, build, and grow our marriage include:

  • Challenge Each Other.  Eric and I don’t always enjoy the same things.  For example- he was a Nascar guy, and I liked to ride road bicycles.  From the beginning we both introduced each other to our hobbies.  By challenging each other in new ways, we’ve built commonalities.  I’ll now watch Nascar with him and he’s become a complete cycling enthusiast!  We also challenge each other’s thinking- we both tend to fall politically along the same lines, but issue to issue, we don’t always agree.  We debate and discuss, and I truly feel like I grow with every discussion.
  • Open Discussions.  We don’t always agree with each other, and we make a point to always express our opinions and thoughts with one another, but always in the most loving way we can.  By talking about how we feel, it allows us to never harbor any underlying feelings that might eventually lead to some kind of resentment.  If something is really bothering one of us, a lot of times, we’ll go for a walk.  Getting out of the house and getting moving somehow releases a lot of the stress and allows a difficult conversation to come more naturally.  One discussion we’ve been having a lot lately is about kids.  We both want them and Eric is ready.  I’m still struggling with being ready.  But, we both agree that we want to wait until I finish school.  I will be done with school within a year from now, and we both agree that we’ll likely be ready for kiddos then.  Our discussions are what put our minds at ease.
  • Ask Questions.  We are constantly questioning each other, and I’m not talking about the habitual “how was your day” type of question.  On any given day, I’ll ask Eric ask questions like “how are you feeling,” “am I doing enough for you,” or “is there any more I can do for you?”  He asks me questions like “can I make dinner,” “how are your businesses going,” or “will you snuggle me on the couch?”
  • Go Offline.  In the world of constant connectivity, it is sooooo important to disconnect.  I simply cannot stress this enough.  Put away the phones and computers people.  You need to do this to really focus on one another.  On any given night, we’ll put away all electronics and sit down for some wine and scrabble.  Or, if we’re feeling the itch to get out, we’ll go out for a walk, bike ride, or wine tasting.  The time away really helps to recharge the batteries and the love.
  • Take Time for Each Other.  Life can sometimes be one big “to do list” for us.  With the blog, projects, my new business ventures, Eric’s demanding job as an attorney, and family and friend obligations, our schedules are generally maxed out.  It’s easy to get caught up in everything else we have going on and skip quality time, but that would be catastrophic.  Taking time for each other is what keeps us both going.  I’m going to be really honest here, too.  It’s not all about sex people, but sex is important.  So, my best suggestion is make sure and make time for intimacy, whether that intimacy involves sex or not.
  • Serve Each Other.  For those unfamiliar with “serving” your partner, this may sound a bit antiquated and submissive.  I promise you, it’s not.  In fact, serving goes both ways, and involves dedication from both partners.  Serving each other really comes down to doing things for one another because you want to.  A great post about “serving” can be found here- I’ll introduce you to the source later in this post.  When getting ready for bed, whoever happens to be breaking down the bed always puts the other persons pillows in their place so the bed is ready for them.  Eric has surprised me many a nights with an awesome home-cooked meal.  The other night, when I got home from class, he had a glass of wine ready for me- he simply knew that I’d be needing it, and he was right!  I rub his arms and back every night.  It relaxes him and puts him at peace… and me too.  I also will randomly make him little cards and love notes and leave them around the house.  It’s really fun to find new ways to serve each other, and if you don’t do this, I’d recommend giving it a go!

NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP? CONSIDER THIS…

If you’re not in a relationship, I’d like to share my “important factors” of a mate.  These factors are not criteria for dating someone, but rather, they are things to consider when you are dating someone to know if this person is “the person.”

  • People Are Who They Are.  Don’t try to change someone you are dating to make them into the person you want they to be.  At the end of the day, the way they dress, how they talk, or how messy/clean they are, is simply who they are.  Now, this isn’t to say that people don’t change, but each person must be the catalyst of their own change.
  • Find Someone to Challenge You.  Don’t think of fighting and challenging in the same way.  I believe that without Eric challenging me day-to-day, I’d get bored.  It happened in my past relationship.  He was a great guy, but I was bored out of my mind.  I needed a challenge.
  • Have Fun Without Money.  When Eric and I were just dating, my dad told me that he thought Eric was “the one” because we could have fun together doing nothing.  When Eric and I started dating, I was barely out of college and he was knee deep in law school.  We both made nominal salaries leaving little money for going out.  Yet, we had fun anyways.  In life, money comes and money goes.  If you’re with someone that has lots of money, or someone that spoils you with fancy things, I urge you to consider whether it is the glitz of it all that makes you tick, or if the person fuels your fire!  If you’re not sure, try having some “no money” nights where you hang out at home, go for a walk, or try an activity that doesn’t require money.  If the night isn’t just as much fun as a glitz’d-out night, then you’ll know.
  • Have Similar Values.  People downplay the importance of values these days.  Values are important.  They’re essential.  They are the foundation on which our make up as people are built.  You should discuss things like marriage, kids, where you want to live, and where you see yourself in five or ten years, before you make a serious commitment to that person.  Eric and I had almost identical upbringings and happened to develop the same values from those experiences… crazy!  We happened to luck out in this department, but we were both very upfront, open, and honest from the get go.

OUR FAVORITE LOVE BUILDERS

As you can tell, love is a lot of work.  I was talking to a friend the other day and told her, marriage is the hardest job you’ll ever have.  I truly believe that.  Not only does marriage require work, but it requires dedication and forgiveness.  I mentioned above that Eric and I had some serious struggles when we were still dating.  Looking back, we both don’t understand how we made it through those times and agree that we don’t know how we didn’t just call it quits.  Now, we know that God had a plan for us.  And those early struggles gave us a stronger foundation for our marriage.

The Five Love Languages

One thing that I truly believe helped us through those times was a recommendation from a dear guy-friend of mine.  It was a book called The Five Love Languages.  I am not a reader.  I simply don’t enjoy it, so telling me to go read a book to fix my relationship was like pulling teeth, but I was at a point where I knew I needed to do something.  So, I bought the book.  The book breaks down, with real life examples, how people give and receive love.  It was a revelation for me.  Literally, all I had to do was rub Eric’s (clean) feet and tell him he’s awesome and he’d feel fulfilled!  Seriously, I wished someone had made me read this book sooner.  I would’ve stopped busting my butt to clean, cook, and make home life perfect.  After I changed my approach to Eric, I suddenly felt more fulfilled than I knew possible!  But remember, change takes time, and it’s always important to revisit these things.

Since being introduced to the book, I’ve loaned out my copy over seven times.  Each time, the borrower returns it, they tell how it’s changed the way they think or the way they were approaching their relationship.  It. Warms. My. Heart.  Every time! If you want to get your hands on a copy, you can buy it off Amazon, here.

The Dating Divas

Another source, that I discovered very recently thanks to my beloved Pinterest is The Dating Divas.  This blog, like The Five Love Languages, has totally inspired me!  It focuses on dating your husband.  Sounds ridiculous, right?  Some of you may reply that you’re not “dating” anymore, you’re “married.”  Yes, I understand.  But, hear me out.  As their tagline reads, their goal is really to “strengthen marriages one date at a time.”

This is what they say about starting the blog!

We began this lil’ venture of dating our spouses, just like anyone else…..waaay back before we said, “I Do”! Back when dates were the most important element of our life and held a high status over all else. {WINK} Being at the top of our lists, the focus on dating helped us fall MADLY in love with the men we now call our DEAR husbands. Since those dating years some of us have had children, finished school, started careers, and quite simply have embarked on what we know now as, “The Married Life”. We all know that marriage can become TOO comfortable {a.k.a. routine} and dating your amazing spouse – the way you did when first falling in love… is the sure-fire way to keep that SPARK in marriage!  We are sharing with you the SECRETS to our success! We hope that you will find ideas that keep your marriage healthy, happy, and full of love!

In a nutshell, each Monday the Divas will offer an awesome date already completely planned for your upcoming weekend! {Aw geez… you’re totally welcome!} Throughout the rest of the week we’ll also post quick & easy ideas to serve your spouse, unforgettable family outings and activities with the kids, intimate moment ideas to spice things up in that room, and fun “romance” crafts to boot! There is definitely something for every couple!

After reading that, I bet a few of you are feeling inspired too!  The best part… the dates almost always cost next to nothing!  Think, ten dollars or less most often!  Making dating in marriages is awesome, but making it affordable is revolutionary!

TODAY, ON OUR ANNIVERSARY, I CHALLENGE YOU TO CELEBRATE LOVE!  We celebrated over the weekend with a trip to Tahoe in our newly purchased used camper!  It was the most awesome and recharging break we could have asked for! 

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TELL ME, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO BUILD YOUR RELATIONSHIP?  NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO FIND LOVE?

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Comments

  1. Happy Anniversary! And what a fabulous post to celebrate with. So thoughtful and helpful. Best wishes and many happy years to come!

  2. I completely love this post. Chris and I always check in with one another with — how’s your love tank? Totally based on the book! We also know that if one of us is a little edgy and grumpy with the other, it’s because we’re not speaking each others love language. It’s amazing what a quick and easy fix it is! :)

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! :)

    • Love Tank is FULL!!! Glad you know the book too! I seriously believe it’s the most amazing relationship book ever! It made our relationship so much better and easier! Work smarter, no harder, right?

  3. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for linking my post always say yes from The Dating Divas. Before it aired we were worried that people might take it the wrong way thinking we shouldn’t have to be slaves to our spouses, but I love the way you put it. “For those unfamiliar with “serving” your partner, this may sound a bit antiquated and submissive.  I promise you, it’s not.  In fact, serving goes both ways, and involves dedication from both partners.” I think your post is worded so well and I’m glad to see others encouraging selfless service in marriage.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS! Happy Anniversary!

    I was just telling some friends about the 5 Love Languages the other day. I have the audio version so I can loan it to my “non-reader” friends. :)

  5. Happy Anniversary! Best wishes for many more continued years of happiness :-)

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