Russell and I are celebrating our 9 year anniversary this month! March 10th, TODAY! We have been together since 2002 and married in 2006. We are about to have our 3rd (and last) child and NO, 9 years isn’t a really long time but if you were apart of those 9 years you would see a marriage that is a really good one. We work really hard on it and it is SOOO NOT PERFECT! We have our ups and downs just like all marriages do! There have been times we wanted to throw in the towel but our love for each other got us through! I look and listen to people around me with their marriages and I really am quiet grateful for mine. We BOTH work so hard to have a good relationship.
I hear so many tales of cheating, lying, talking down to each other and making each other feel like..well feel like shit! We aren’t perfect, we don’t do all of these all the time, we do get in our slumps but we always bring it back around with a lot of work and not giving up! I knew when I dated Russell he would fight for me, always has and always will. He won’t give up on me easily. He was a guy I knew would take care of me and love me forever if I gave him what he needed in return….a girl that would love him and take care of him forever. We work very hard and it is not easy! A lot of people think it is a fairy tale..they think of the movies with the musical score! A marriage does have a good story, it has its fairy tale moments, and at some points it is a like a love scene out of a movie – BUT NOT EVERYDAY! Your husband isn’t going to row you out in a beautiful secluded pond with white birds all next to you and kiss you in the rain right next to this house he built for only you EVERYDAY….my husband only does that once a year – LOL- just kidding! I don’t have this movie script stuck in my head of how my marriage/love of my life should go or be! I just let it be! A lot of girls can’t do that. They have this picture of how it should be thanks to movies and novels, like The Notebook (which don’t get me wrong I absolutely love and adore)BUT these screw up our head of what “love” should be like. Let love just be LOVE! Let it be what is is and stop trying to create the perfect love in your head.
I hear a lot of people talk down about their marriage. They think the grass is greener on the other side. Let me just tell you, we all come with our problems and baggage! NO relationship is going to be perfect! I love Russell and I love my marriage – don’t get me wrong… LOTS OF WORK – LOTS! ha But we actually have a good time together and enjoy spending time with just one another. It is hard and if something happened to Russell I wouldn’t probably marry again, just because he is the love of my life and I only want to work that hard with him. I don’t think I could work this hard with anyone else.
So I put a list together of things that make a marriage strong and actually fun!
- Encourage each other
- Show appreciation/ Say Thank You
- Appearance/AKA your looks
- Distance/Time away
Russell and I try to encourage each other constantly. He may be studying late hours at night for a test to better himself and our lives, he may be trying a new exercise routine, trying mountain biking, or whatever but I always TRY to encourage him and he does with me as well! I told him I wanted to run a 5k and guess who woke up at 5 am to “run” with me, I told him I wanted to try for a 10k and guess who came in almost last with me, I told him I wanted to try for a half-marathon – he didn’t laugh or smirk..he said AWESOME! I will help do whatever! He watched the kids while I went on my runs, had water, an ice bath or chocolate milk ready for me when I got back. He bought me a Garmin running watch to help me. These are just a few examples… there are too many to name like my art and so forth but we encourage each other. We don’t tear each other down or say ha, yeah right you can’t do that! We have enough people and things in life against us, we don’t need more discouragement!
Connecting/Intimacy is big. Don’t get so overworked or stressed from life that you let your passion die. It is easy to get stuck in a rut. Not every time that you and your partner connect will be dynamite! That is life, this isn’t the movies! But a majority of the time that connecting time needs to have effort put in so that it is dynamite. Intimacy doesn’t just have to be sex! Intimacy can be hand holding, a stolen kiss, cuddle, a make out session (yeah, you heard me! Act like you were a teenager again and just make out!) Those type things really connect you together AND like my mom always told me, You keep your man satisfied or somebody else will gladly do it for you (hope she doesn’t care I put that on here, ha! Sorry Mom, if so). And if that doesn’t give you enough insight …. to quote Ludacris & Usher Lyrics “we want a lady in the street but a freak in the sheets” You need time to connect, find things that make you connect together. Whatever the activity is that brings you closer together is what you need to be doing at least once a week. You need to connect once a week or as often as possible so that you don’t forget to connect!
Understanding/Forgiveness definitely needs room in this list because nobody is perfect. We are going to make mistakes we are going to do things/say things that aren’t exactly right. But we need to understand that is human and forgive them! We can not be perfect, and nobody is – not even you!
Please show each other appreciation. Russell and I try to show appreciation and say thank you to each other. We forget sometimes but I try to say thank you for washing dishes or for letting me sleep late. I try to say thanks for cooking breakfast or starting my bath. I try to tell him every once in a while, thank you for being such a good man! He is such a good dad and husband. He takes care of us and supports us, no he isn’t perfect and he has his moments but so do I and so do the kids…because we are HUMAN!
OH HONEY – APPEARANCE/Your looks! When we get married and have kids we tend to let this one go – we let this one run wild! Russell has seen me at my worse, dying from a stomach virus, a drinking binge, having children and NONE of it was attractive BUT this isn’t what I am talking about. I am talking about our daily appearance. Do we take care of ourselves? Do we sit around in nasty unattractive stained clothes all day, hair a mess, no makeup, and not brushed our teeth??? Okay, I have done this a few times, after the children were born and I had no sleep BUT I mean a lot!?! Even if I am going to sit at home with the kids all day, I still try to comb my hair and put it in a cute messy bun, throw on a little mascara and blush put some cute and comfy pants/shirt on! We had a date night the other night and we were just picking up take out and we went to his office to watch a movie on Netflix. (yes, we were desperate for quiet time alone with each other) When I came out Beck said “momma you look so cute”. ha-ha I wasn’t “fixed up” by any means but I threw on a cute loose top and black leggings with furry boots and a dash of makeup! I could have went in nasty old pjs, nobody would have seen me BUT I fixed up just a touch for him and me! I was still very cozy and comfy but I didn’t look like a homeless person! Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Shave your legs, put on make up, try to eat healthy and hit the gym. Just because your married or have kids doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself. Stay attractive so that your spouse finds you attractive. When I first started dating Russell I wouldn’t have walked around all skanky looking, he wouldn’t have found me attractive then so why would he find that attractive now? I fix up so that I feel good about myself but also so that he remembers how cute I am 😉 Men this applies to you as well! That beer belly wasn’t the most attractive thing in college and still isn’t! lol
Distance or time apart is such a good one! Sometimes when you are so close to each other and do stuff all the time together you can get annoyed with each other or irritated. Time apart allows you time to miss your partner and look at the qualities of why you miss them! It can make you connect more because you send sweet text or exchange phone calls about how much you miss them. That never gets old to hear, right? I miss you and I love you, are two of the best things you can hear! Time away also gives you time to experience life on your own, to be your own self, and that is needed. It is a recharge to who you are so that when you get back home you remember who you are and you don’t lose yourself.
Compassion and kindness are two oldies. When somebody is around us 24/7 for some reason we think we can be harsh or meaner to them and it is OK. We think, they aren’t gong to leave us or whatever but you never truly know that! They might have had just enough of your shit one day and hit the door running. If somebody is mean to me every single day for years then guess what, I will eventually get fed up and leave. Be compassionate and kind. Look at Hank and Kendra, she has stated that some of it is her fault because she wasn’t so kind and compassionate towards Hank when his NFL career was over and he didn’t know what to do. She told him to get over it or man up. She didn’t take the time with him and help him find what was next in life. How do you want to be treated? Take that and that is how your spouse wants to be treated!
I AM NOT PERFECT. RUSSELL IS NOT PERFECT. MY KIDS ARE NOT PERFECT. WE AS A COUPLE AND A FAMILY ARE NOT PERFECT! There are days when I forget to say thank you, when I forget to really show I care, or give kindness. All of these things don’t happen on a daily basis, we try. We really do try but we are human!