- Always put your spouse first: This to me is huge! Your spouse is going to be the one in the end with you. As sad as this sounds… your parents will pass away, your kids will marry and get their own families, your siblings will have their families, your friends will come and go and whats in the end is your spouse. Put their needs, wants and desires first. always.
- Pick your battles: Is it really that big of deal they fold laundry different? Take a different route? Want something different for dinner? Forgot to do something? no. its not… in the long scheme of things it doesnt matter! Pick your battles, so when something is serious and bothering you, your spouse will know its important.
- Remember you are on the same team: When having a disagreement don’t hit them with low blows. You are on the same team! Keloni and I try to say to each other if we are having a disagreement, “remember we are on the same team.” This helps me remember he isn’t my enemy in that second, but my biggest cheerleader.
- Dont compare your relationship to others: This one is a must in todays society. You look at instagram, Facebook, twitter and snapchat and think “dang they have a perfect relationship.” THIS IS NOT TRUE. Especially when it comes to, “oh man he did that for her… they are so in love… they probably never argue… .” Couples do disagree and its okay! But it is important to remember No one or relationship is perfect. People highlight their happiness, not trials. Don’t compare.
- Don’t talk about your spouse to other people: Everyone has an opinion, that is great… but you don’t need to hear others opinions on your marriage and relationship. My husband and I made a pact when dating we don’t talk about our problems or disagreements with ANYONE. Why? Because you love that person… others don’t. It will be easy for you to forgive and forget because you love them. Others won’t be so easy to forgive and forget. Don’t taint your relationship.
- Trust each other with everything: Keloni and I have zero secrets. Our passcode to our phones, social media and everything else is synced up to be the same for both parties… and guess what? We have never ever checked each others phones or social media because of that. I have full trust in him and he does in me. The door is completely open. You simply can not build a foundation for a happy marriage with out trust, allow your spouse fully into your life.
- Have each others back: Keloni and I also set a standard that no matter what we will ALWAYS have each others back, especially in front of people. It doesnt feel good when your teammate in life is on someone else’s side, not backing you up or defending you. We will always defend each other to everyone in the world. Even if i may not agree with him I will make sure I stand by his side, then carefully discuss the problem in private. This sets a great boundary with you two, family and friends that you are one unit. Not two.
- Their feelings are not wrong: In our daily relationships sometimes we don’t mean to offend someone else, make someone feel stupid or do something that will upset them. Why? Because we are all human. In our relationship, we always apologize for the way WE made them feel. I may not mean to hurt his feelings, he may not mean to have made me feel dumb, but that is why we always apologize. Their feelings are not wrong and incorrect, its their feelings and their emotions. A good way we like to say it is, “I apologize, that was not my intent to make you feel that way..” its clears up a lot of things rather saying, “you shouldn’t feel that way, or thats your fault you took it that way.” Even if its a miscommunication you can calm the fire with apologizing how you’ve may came off.
- Show appreciation: One important love language is words of affirmation. I don’t care if he takes out the garbage, wash the car or ran across the world and back for me. They need to hear you appreciate it. Nothing is better than doing something and knowing your spouse appreciates it. We try to thank each other, show that we recognize they did it or return the gratitude with doing something nice for them.
- Be present: One thing that is big in todays age is being present. Not being on the computer, phone or letting your mind wander. When we are venting, talking about our day, in a disagreement or just with each other we try to be present. Listen with an intent heart, have a meaningful conversation and don’t allow issues to become problems. A spouse maybe telling you something they have an issue with and if we aren’t fully present it may turn into a big problem. We can differ situations and make them feel import by being present.
*ONE EXTRA, BUT IMPORTANT TIP*
11. Physical Affection: ANYONE in the world can make your spouse lunch, wash your spouse’s car or do their errands… but you are the ONLY person who can show your spouse physical affection. Don’t allow your spouse to be neglected because of self body issues, disagreements or busy schedules. You are the only person that can fulfill this department, so show them physical affection constantly on a daily basis…. even if its a simple back rub walking by or kiss on the forehead.
*Now I am not claiming to be a marriage counselor, marriage expert or perfect. These are things that have helped us stay close to each other and have a great, happy and meaningful first year of marriage. It is a work in progress and I do slip sometimes, but that is the great thing is we can remember we are all imperfect and working to become better.