|my poor broken husband. he's doing much better - this was taken|
right after he broke his collarbone. doesn't my hand look HUGE here?
I swear I don’t have man hands in real life!
"Love your other how they need to be loved, not how you need to be." A friend told me this simple mantra, saying that it had transformed his parents' marriage. It has stuck with me ever since. It makes so much sense and yet is so easy to forget because I think by nature we tend to be pretty selfish. Love is selfless, though, and what truly makes me happy is when my husband is happy. So, a key to a good marriage is trying your best to focus on what your significant other needs you to be to him, instead of what you want him to be to you.
P.S. Nathan told me I should write, "Have drunken sex as often as you can." Ha. (sorry mom and dad!)
-- Anna Bond, Rifle Design
1. Talk it out: No matter how angry you are, talking always helps. I wasn't a big talker before meeting Aaron (I was a big "slam the door"-er) and he taught me the value of talking through any and all difficult situations.
2. Support each other's dreams: AC loves to play poker and guitar, and he also likes mixed martial arts. If he wanted to leave his job to pursue any of those, I would support him 100%. And I know he'd do the same for me. I realized a few years back that no matter how good the salary or benefits, if your partner isn't happy, even the best job is the wrong job. If you're both truly happy, then material things really do become less important.
3. Go on adventures: Whether it's a scooter ride to Coney Island or a backpacking trip out west, remember to experience new things together. AC and I are complete opposites, but we both love to try new things, which keeps us growing together.
-- Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge
One of the smartest things anyone ever said to Josh was that marriage is like a garden. You have to tend to it every day lest it become overgrown with weeds. Now we try to nip any issues that may come up in the bud. Just today, for example, Josh left me holding our 21-month-old daughter while he ran inside to grab a last-minute item before we set off to catch a ride into town. He checked his email and (as happens so often when you run your own business) got caught up in a work-related emergency that needed immediate attention. When he emerged ten minutes later explaining what was up, rather than a) blowing up or b) seething and saying nothing, I chose option c) gently reminding him that he left the two of us hanging and that a quick "hey, something's come up, I'll be a few minutes" would go a long way. He apologized, we both felt better, lesson learned, annoying afternoon averted!
Another super important tip: Make your relationship a priority, especially when you have a family. What your kids need most is to be loved by parents who are happy and productive participants in the world. And what keeps your partner feeling great is a spouse who feels great too. So get a babysitter so you can have date night, or take that ceramics (or karate or skydiving) course that you've always wanted to take. The whole family will be better off.
Last word to the wise--everything is a negotiation and agreement. Remember that there are two parties in the relationship, and together you're so much greater than the sum of your parts. When you're headed out to see District 9 instead of Julie & Julia, you may just find that the action flick is exactly what the doctor ordered.
-- Brooke Williams and Josh Liberson
Think play, not romance.
Forget flowers, dinner and candles, and instead play a video game, have a water-gun battle or play in a photo booth (or with Photobooth if you have a Mac!).
Accept that you're both going to make mistakes, and if the mistake was not intentionally hurtful, let it go. Adjust your expectations and align them with reality (dirty towels on the floor, pre-menstrual hormone insanity), not fantasy (a pristine house, a perpetually perky disposition).
Reinvigorate the Old.
Life's grind sometimes whittles away the parts of us that are carefree, inspired, focused or fun. One of the best things you can do for your spouse is to defend the parts of them that you married them for. And that doesn't mean saying "You used to be so..." It means reminding them that they ARE those things; they're not gone, even on their most beaten down days.
Discover the New.
Embark on unplanned adventures. Often.
-- Nichole, Little Brown Pen
"put your spouse before yourself. be spontaneous and do nice things that will make him/her feel loved and appreciated. did you notice your nice clean house when you came home?"
-- Andy, two seconds ago on the phone (yup, I noticed. thanks babe.)
when I'm a mess, Andy rubs my head. when he's a mess, I rub his back. sometimes loving each other in silence speaks louder volumes than loving aloud.
flirt. tease. tickle. sing. dance. chase each other around the house. push each other's buttons (but know when to stop). repeat inside jokes until you're crying with laughter. bring up old memories.
make the CHOICE to focus on the positive.