After 19 years of marriage we have come up with 19 lessons we have learned, and feel they are some of the most things to do. Of course this is not all we have learned, but these lessons are what have brought us closer together. These lessons have helped us get through the hard times and create the happy moments every couple wants.
A date does not have to be expensive but it does need to happen because dating is why you fell in love in the first place. To keep the spark alive must keep dating. Our dates come in all varieties and sometimes they are a getaway trip to Mexico while other times they are as simple as a quick drive to Del Taco. Going on dates frequently provides the time and space where you can slow down set aside other responsibilities. That is when you can focus on reconnecting with each other. If you are interested in hearing how our first date went we share it here I'll let you listen to our podcast and decide if it was the best or worst date ever.
We you are dating all the experiences create as a couple are new and exciting. In a marriage sometimes the mundane activities get in the way of trying new things. Our advice is to focus more on creating new experiences together. Try going somewhere you have never been or learning a new hobby. Looking back you will see that these experiences were worth it.
I read years ago in parenting books that when you are helping your child change you wait until the thing they did has passed and it's a calm moment to talk to them. This principle applies in marriage as well. If you need to have a hard conversation like sharing how your feelings were hurt by something your spouse said or did, wait until after the heat of the moment to talk to them. Once your emotions are settled down, bring up the conversation in a calm atmosphere.
When somebody else is talking listen do just think what to say next. Try not to think while your spouse is talking but take a moment after they are finished to think things through. In a heated argument this simple lesson works wonders to calm things down. Listening to the person talking to you is a life lesson. If you love someone, your spouse, your children, your friend, take the time to listen. It's the Christlike thing to do. Check this post out if your are looking for more communication tips for a healthy relationship.
Sometimes you go through the darkest of the dark and forget there is going to be a sunrise. But during these hardest times is when you need the reminder that it is going to get better, there will be a new day and it will get better. This is true whether it is a struggle between you and your spouse or you are facing it together, like a health problem or financial crisis. This is when you need to build each other up not alienate each other.
One of the 19 lessons I have learned from marriage is when we have gone through the darkest of times there has always been one of us who says "we've got this" and is that strength the other person needs. The dark times, though they are painful and hard, are what bring you closer together. After you get through the mud and see the sunrise you realize how much love you have for each other. You will appreciate each other more as you recognize the strengths you each have to build each other up.
Learn how to smile with each other and learn how to have fun together. Learn what your spouse has fun doing and even if you don't enjoy that thing sacrifice yourself and your time to go have fun with them. Even if it may not be something you particularly enjoy you can learn to have fun being present with your spouse and spending quality time with them.
Having fun and laughing are two separate things in my mind. Have fun and do what is fun for you, but also laugh. Do something you both enjoy and do what makes you laugh. I laugh at Jase's jokes all the time or we watch a comedy show together. We love to quote movies and have inside jokes together. You should have inside jokes that make you laugh and have fun together.
We have to have hard conversations about this because. It is not fun if one person is making all the decisions. If you are happy doing whatever ask your spouse what they would like to do. Or if it does matter ask them sincerely what they would like to do. Especially for the big important decisions come together and make a decision that you both agree on.
Have kid whether they are your own or you adopt the children in your neighborhood into your life. Our 6 amazing kids have given us the more growth, new experiences and joy than anything else in our lives. God's plan is for us to have joy in this life. You get more joy from serving others than from anywhere else. Children need your help from their beginning, to grow and learn. Serving kids will bring you more joy than anything else as you watch them grow, and overcome their own challenges knowing you where there to help them. It is an incredible experience to partnership with your spouse and raise children together.
Find trustworthy people to watch your kids while you go on a mini vacation or even get out for the evening. You don't want your children so attached to you that they are always homesick for mom and dad. Instead you want children to feel confident in themselves and in God that they can do things on their own. Our own children have a deep bond with us and their siblings but they also have learned how to rely on themselves as well. Also, leaving your kids home gives you and your spouse time for dates. These vacations or evenings out are meant to be "us time" where you don't think about the kids or all your responsibilities at home. Instead your present with your spouse and the activity you are doing right then. treat your vacation as a retreat so you feel refreshed when you come home.
Have a vacation with your kids. It can be a vacation near home or somewhere far. But take your kids with you and step out of your home to create new experiences together. Create fun memories as a family and you and your kids will remember them forever. You don't have to be crazy like us and do extreme things. Simply going to the park and leaving your home will get your children to ask questions and open up. It's amazing to see how different your children act outside the home. They open up in a whole new way and show their personality.
Have a conversation while on the toilet I dare you. We did this right from the beginning of our marriage. I was going to the bathroom and Jase comes in and sits on the counter to have a conversation with me. It is weird but psychologically it strengthens you. It is a vulnerable position to be in. What better way to open yourselves up to where you can share everything with your spouse than doing it in such a vulnerable place. It's also the time when you can have a conversation and kids can't interrupt!
This is one of the 19 lessons I have learned from marriage that is not emphasized enough as being important. You should have conversations about your most intimate parts of your relationship, which is sex. Jase and I have an understanding that we don't kiss and tell. We respect each other and if these conversations about sex come up with friends we try to help them know how to have their own conversations with their spouse rather than going into detail about our own relationship. Sex is a very vulnerable thing that is meant to bring you together even more, so talk about sex with your spouse.
This is one of the 19 lessons I have learned to appreciate in our marriage. Jase loves being tickled and I hate it. But we still have tickle fights and you should too. It's one of those things that is funny and makes us laugh together. Tickling each other is another one of those vulnerable things brings you close together.
Make an effort to do things that your spouse enjoys even if you don't like them very much. This will help you find new ways to bond with each other. And you might even find something new you both like to do together. So try new things every chance you can get even if you might not enjoy it as much as your spouse.
I had some really old ladies tell me at a bridal shower to date your spouse often and don't go to be angry. We were really good at not going to be angry but once we started doing our businesses together we have had to work on this one more. We love doing business together but our personality types are so different and are both very strong so we have to work on this more. Even if the issue may not be resolved yet, you can say something nice to calm things down so that you don't go to bed angry.
We kiss in front of our children all the time. Not making out but we kiss, this is something Jase learned from his parents growing up. Out of the lessons we have learned this lesson, in our 19 years of marriage has meant a lot to me. I don't mean a quick peck of a kiss, but a real kiss. Give you spouse a real kiss because you love them so much and you want to express that emotion to them. When you do this you build up your love bank for each other.
Whether you express you love in notes, out loud, on Instagram it shows that you care for them. Simply by touching your spouse, hugging them, writing a note or whispering in their ear how much you care will make a difference in your relationship. Expressing your love should happen daily because you love your spouse and they mean the world to you.
Gifts do not have to be elaborate. You can bring home a single rose or a match box car of their favorite vintage car. Give a gift that will mean something to your spouse and simply say I was thinking about you and got you this gift. Gifts do not need to be expensive. Honestly some of my favorite gifts Jase has given me are a poem he wrote, or a note he wrote. It can be so simple. But the important part is that giving these gifts are an expression of your love for your spouse.
I hope you enjoyed reading 19 of the most important lessons we have learned in our 19 years of marriage. A happy marriage is created as you put your spouse before yourself and make time for each other. I loved sharing my experiences with you and I hope you find these tips helpful for your own marriage!