Leave it to me to be a day late marking our second wedding anniversary. Legitimately, we had a pretty busy, albeit routine, day. It consisted of work at our full-time jobs, a long run out in the blazing heat and humidity and a bit of freelance. Maybe we’re completely alone in this, but we tend to be pretty low-key, and enjoy the comfort of our day-to- day events, like kicking back in the house and wrestling with the pets or our latest home and design projects.
I’m not sure how long we’re allowed to refer to ourselves as ‘newlyweds,’ but as we round the two-year mark and dive headfirst into our third year of marriage, I definitely think we’ve hit our stride. We’re typically not the type to pepper you, our dear readers, with advice, but over the past two years we’ve definitely noticed a few themes that have helped us, and we thought we’d share them with you today. As always, feel free to take what you like and leave the rest. You can also disagree with us, and of course, feel free to share your own advice; we’d love to hear it!
Neil hiking in Montana on our first anniversary trip.
1. Take care of yourself, i.e. “Don’t let yourself go”: We went back and forth on the best way to word this without offending anyone, because on the surface level it might seem a little antiquated. But without mincing words, making a priority of taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally has kept our marriage growing. Being happy with what we see in the mirror each day affects nearly every other part of our lives.
Neil’s best sandwich to date, aCucumber Egg Salad. You must try the recipe!
2. Make life easier for your spouse or significant other wherever possible: If you see something you can do to make life easier for your spouse or significant other, do it, and happily. Every morning, Neil wakes early and makes my lunch. It’s usually peanut butter and jelly, but it saves me time. I’ve recently started accompanying him to work after hours to help him finish his networking installs faster and easier. While small, these add up over time, and the less time you have to spend stressing them, the more you can spend doing the things you love.
Our gardening efforts have a huge source of pride and accomplishment for us — no matter how teeny.
3. It’s the little things: On the heels of #2, it’s definitely important to take joy in the little things. We live in a world that has us constantly bombarded with negativity, and everything we either aren’t or don’t have. It’s easy to let that take hold of you and affect your relationship. How do we know? We’re guilty. That’s why it’s important to take time each day to consciously think about what you do have, and what you are doing that is worthy of praise and being proud of.
Flat Top Mountain on our honeymoon. I had never hiked before.
4. Learn and do together: People tend to enter marriage after living unique and independent lives filled with hobbies, skills, and interests. Sharing those them is the perfect way to learn and grow with one another. Joining in and taking part in your significant other’s interests can not only be exciting, but can push you out of your element and be surprisingly fulfilling. You can also take up new hobbies that you can both learn and share with one another. You’ll find that overcoming fears and stepping out of your comfort zone can be amazingly fulfilling.
Haha, just kidding. No really, I’m just kidding.
5. Communicate honestly with dignity and respect and never go to bed angry: We might be in the minority, but we think arguments are healthy, if done right. Communicate your feelings honestly, but respect your spouse. Don’t hit below the belt and call them names, bring up old irrelevant history, or bring other people into your arguments. Above all, always listen to what they are saying, or possibly not saying. You may not resolve the issue in one night, but reconcile and agree to talk more about it more within 24 hours. Never go to bed angry.
Neil’s favorite “me-time” activity.
6. Time Outs Together & Time Apart: Time apart can be just as important as time together. There is nothing wrong with taking time out for just yourself and doing something that is unique to you. Maintaining your individual identity is necessary for a healthy relationship.
Our biggest adventure yet. Seems like only yesterday that the grass was alive...
7. Make Plans: Goals, goals, goals. Individual goals, collective goals, short-term goals, long-term goals. They are all important, and you need them for both yourself and your marriage. While they can certainly change (remember when we were moving to Colorado and then we weren’t?), it’s important to be on the same page with where you think you’re headed and where you want to be. This is especially important when saving money for big purchases you hope to make in the future, as well as big life decisions like having kids or changing careers.
Our impromptu weekend on the Current River. It was freezing, but so worth it!
8. Be Spontaneous: No, that doesn’t mean you have to be 007 and sweep your spouse off their feet to an impromptu trip to Europe, but the daily grind and monotony can begin to wane on any couple. So little last-minute decisions, even for something as simple as a trip to the dog park, a weekend camping trip or a special meal can breathe new life into your week.
9. Adopt a rescue pup: Okay, this is purely optional, but I highly recommend it. Look at that face! He has definitely been the greatest addition to our lives in the last two years. He reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.
In all seriousness, the past two years have been the best of my life (and his, I can speak for him right?). From the moment he asked me out, it was never just “dating,” it was about preparing for this, our lives together. He has ben completely unwavering in his support and loyalty, and I hope I’ve been the same to him. Together we are best friends, business partners, parents (to our furkids for now), cheerleaders, coaches and most importantly, spouses. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure most pocket knives don’t have that much utility. Thanks again for all your continued support, Neil and I wish you the best in love and life in all that you do!