*Original artwork written by Hubby and I, painted by Alaina Muckell*
My baby brother is getting married tomorrow!!! I am overjoyed with sibling pride, bursting with excitement for his next big role in life, filled with gratitude for my close relationship with my soon-to-be sister-in-law, and teary-eyed with nostalgic memories of my wedding day, just three years ago this very weekend.
Recently, an old friend contacted me for some relationship advice. She was moving in with her boyfriend and I was flattered that she chose me to share my ‘wisdom’. I use that word playfully because there are obviously no real guidelines or rule books, which is what makes each couple’s bond so special and unique. Only you two know what you really share.
However, I did used to write a sex column back in college (My Carrie Bradshaw wannabe days…) and am currently a Relationship Writer for Engagement 101 Magazine, so I’m no stranger to the topic at hand. Now, I’m not saying I have all the answers. Who could? But when asked for my advice, I was excited to pull out my old Carrie hat and give a raw, true, no holds barred reflection of what I believe works in my marriage.
I never would’ve shared this. Really. It was written with sincere intentions to be a private, girl-talk moment, offering a little insight for a woman entering a new chapter in her life. However, her response got me thinking: “Jenn, I am saving this somewhere as my bible. This was exactly just what I needed to hear. This should truly be published somewhere if it is not yet!”
And so, I decided, who better to share this with then all of you?
You can pick out pieces you like the best, take it all, leave it all, frame it or delete it. I hope somewhere, you’ll find at least one part that makes you smile.
THAT’S SO JENN’S RECIPE FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE:
Respect each other, Choose your battles wisely, Make an effort to comply with the other’s simple wishes and think before you act. (You’ll begin to smile as you stop yourself from repeating a habit that bugs the other in an effort to show you care about your partner’s request. Ie: It’s easy for you to execute restraint from hanging your purse on the doorknob, or for him to steer clear of putting his dirty gym bag on the bed. Neither of you are asking for a lot and it makes a huge impact on the theme of RESPECT in your relationship.) Hug all the time, Give your full attention when they get home and greet them at the door. (Not while on the phone, distracted, doing something else, but an all in, arms open wide, cheering, hugging, kissing, I’m-so-glad-you’re-here event.), Focus your energy on making a game out of who can be the most helpful and the kindest to the other, Let things go, Anticipate the other’s needs (“I noticed you were running low on shampoo so I bought you more…”), Show your appreciation when they do something thoughtful, Leave love notes everywhere, Understand the difference between a routine and a rut, RESPECT each other. Seriously. I can’t say it enough. Listen, Talk things out, Argue when you believe in something, not just to make a point, Agree to disagree, Always sleep in the same bed, Always kiss each other goodnight, Deal with things, face them, solve them together, Remember sometimes you both just need a tight squeeze and a good night’s sleep, Have lots of sex, very often, in every room of your home, Be a team–it’s you two against the world, Share responsibilities and switch them up, Try new things as a couple so days don’t become mundane, Cook together and relish in what you can BOTH bring to the table–literally. COMMUNICATE, Never assume, Don’t involve outsiders in petty issues that will quickly be solved, leaving their lingering judgement out in the universe, Do your own thing when you can so you can come back and tell the other about it, Fulfill your individual hobbies even if they differ completely, Spend time apart so you can miss each other, Spend time with mutual friends together so you can appreciate each other in a group setting, Have a picnic in your living room, Call to say ‘I love you’, Laugh, laugh, laugh, Have fun, Make memories, build a life together, Enjoy it.
And if you’re the last to use the toilet paper, just refill it.
From my heart to yours. Whatever stage of life you’re in. Happy EVERYTHING.