I don’t know about you but I’m trying to have a healthy marriage, one that lasts, endures and thrives! I wanna feel like a newlywed when I’m 100. Early on into our courtship Mr. A and I made the commitment to make our relationship top priority and after attending our first marriage retreat a few years ago, we decided we would commit to a couple’s retreat once a year.
Last weekend we attended our second marriage retreat (we’ve been married two years so we are two for two!) and I left there feeling even more excited about the life we are creating together. I plan on writing a few posts about our experience and maybe I’ll even get Mr. A to guest host but here are the 7 things you should do everyday for a healthy marriage.
The Rule of 3
This might seem pretty straight forward but “touch” is a huge part of the way we connect! In this day and age, so many of us are busier than we’ve ever been and if you are a parent on top of that, time together can be very limited. When we show affection to each other we are acknowledging one another and giving the other attention (which can also be a sign of respect), showing them they are important and cherished and most importantly, affirming your bond to one another.
Kiss each other three times for 3 seconds everyday
Hug each other for 3 minutes everyday
Speak to each other (in a meaningful, undistracted conversation) for 30 minutes at least once a day -holding hands if possible
Half of an adult’s day is spent consuming media. Reread that. Half. The average time adults spend on media (listening, watching, interacting) is 18+ hours a day. Young adults ages 18-34 spend 43% of their time consuming media on digital platforms. (Source: Nielsen) These statistics are so startling it makes me want to make major changes in my life. A few of these small steps can have a significant impact:
Set media boundaries. For example, no phones at the dinner table is a great one!
Place a limit on how many hours of television/phone/tablet etc. you use
Turn off all media 30 minutes before bed. This includes phones! This is part of the reason why we don’t like televisions in bedrooms. Bedrooms are for retreating, sleeping, connecting or mattress mambo. :)
Envision Your Marriage
Take time each day to envision what you want your marriage to look like. One of the exercises we did before we got married was write a family prayer. I definitely encourage you to do this with your spouse and family. You can call it a guide, blessing or mission statement/manifesto for your home but it was a great way for us to write down exactly how we want to live and what we hope to accomplish together as a family. Everyday we pray together. We pray for our family, our marriage and anything that is on our mind in our lives. Thoughts become things, things become habits. The more you envision what you want, the more likely you are to take the steps you need to make your vision become a reality.
Walk With Your Spouse
Ever since buying our home and becoming parents we’ve done a lot of walking. Maybe it’s cause when you have a newborn and want to get out of the house, a stroller walk seems like the easiest way to get fresh air. It could also be cause we are absolutely obsessed with our hood and love how close we are to the beach and all of our town’s stores and restaurants (we are so grateful). When we walk together we talk together. Go on a walk everyday with your spouse. Make it a thing. I’m telling you it will change your life. A walk is great for your heart (literally and figuratively). It gets your body moving, blood flowing and energy going. It allows you to decompress, connect with nature, relieve stress from the day and time to talk. And if you don’t want to talk, you are still walking side by side, breathing in fresh air, observing the world around you. We used to say that the sunshine was Milly’s babysitter cause no matter how upset she was we could take her outside and she would immediately stop fussing and start smiling. Connecting with the Earth allows us to connect with each other.
Do Something Together
This can be as simple as sharing a hobby or making dinner together. Even laying in bed and making a bucket list together, planning your next trip or reading the same book together (Chris and I do this sometimes) is doing something together! I know sometimes it can be easier for us to watch our own shows or do our own thing but incorporating each other in those hobbies or tasks or at least watching the show together is always better. You make memories and hopefully have a lot of fun. #BetterTogether
Let Go of the Little Things
The same things you fight about now will be the same things you fight about 20 years from now if you don’t let go of the little things. And, the little annoyances can lead to bigger issues if you don’t find a way to overcome them. Whether it’s figuring out who’s in charge of doing certain chores around the house but also understanding that all tasks are both of your responsibilities or accepting that they will always forget to hang up their wet towel and you’ve accepted you will always pick up the wet towel for them, you’ve gotta let go of the little things.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
No marriage is perfect. Even the healthiest marriages have challenges but what sets the ones that work and the ones that don’t apart- is exactly that. Work. Both people have to be on the same page about dealing with challenges and obstacles. This means resolving conflict together. And the quicker the conflict is resolved the better. Daily check ins are so crucial to making sure each person’s needs are being met. This is something you can do each evening or some time in the morning.
I’d love to know if you have any tips for living a healthy marriage or please share any activities, resources, etc you use in your relationship below. And keep coming back to the site for more posts as I continue to share more of what we learned at our retreat. Thank you!