We’re celebrating 10 years of marriage this week! I can honestly say marriage has brought me more joy and fulfillment than I expected. But it takes effort to make it amazing, and we’re sharing 10 key marriage success tips we’ve learned this decade together.
10 Key Marriage Success Tips
Communicate Your Explicit Needs
This year brought lockdown, working from home, a remodel, and so much time from home we had to rethink everything.
We didn’t feel comfortable having a 20-something nanny come to our home, and we haven’t had childcare. It’s been a juggling act, to say the least!
But we’ve learned to very explicitly state, I need you to take the kids so I can get a break. Or “I need to feel like I got a date night out, even if it’s just a takeout car date night in the garage! It’s a reason we’ve loved The Adventure Challenge for Couples, sometimes we just need a date when it felt like there wasn’t one to be had.
We change our needs often, there’s a lot of feelings in a tough year. It’s been a marriage game-changer to state our needs explicitly.
Speak Each Other’s Love Language
I turned to Jacob a few months into lockdown and jokingly said, “I can’t believe how not sick of you I am!” and he said, “Same!” We laughed. But we also acknowledged how many people have confided this extra time together 24/7 has been really hard on their marriage.
After a long discussion, we concluded we’re both quality time love language people. That means this time has felt like a gift for us! But there is such a thing as it not being your thing, and a lot of time feeling a bit much. That doesn’t mean you’re marriage is doomed or crumbling. It just means you may need to focus on time away.
At every phase of marriage, it’s important to prioritize each other by speaking each other’s love language.
This year taught us more than ever leaning into each other’s love languages can mean everything.
Don’t Neglect All the Love Languages
Included in our big discussion listed above, we talked about the needs for all love languages. Want to know what’s lowest on my list? It’s the Gifts love language. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love a great gift or expect effort every birthday.
If you haven’t read the forward to the book, I would do it! They say all are important and everyone needs a little of each. While we focus on our primary, we try to remember to not neglect all the love languages.
Be a Team Player with Responsibilities
Wanna know the most attractive thing my husband does? It’s the dishes followed by the counter deep clean. Seriously.
That doesn’t mean we don’t fall into some stereotypes with chores, but we do both believe in being equal team players. If there’s a need, we dive in and clean/fix/take care of it. It’s all in the name of we’re a team. Our life is shared, and we’re teammates.
Make Weekend Plans
Obviously, we’re all about making find great date ideas and making date night plans when you can. But this year taught me Thursday deserves a little “Hey what are you hoping to accomplish this weekend?” kind of chat.
Sometimes he really wants to do a project. Sometimes he has to do some work on the weekend. Always he wants to fit in some fun time with the kids. I also love when one of us really wants to go out to eat or grab takeout from a specific place and we share those details.
They have been a weekend game changer and helped us both feel seen and heard with our hopes and dreams in the free moments we have together.
Wisdom We’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage
Share 1 Year and 5 Year Plans Frequently
We have remodeled about 2/3rds of our house this year. Guess how it happened? There was a lot of saving for five years to do a full kitchen remodel.
And then project creep happened and we learned to DIY more projects than we thought possible! Those happened because of “Here are my 1-year plans” conversations. I think those look more like discussions of where you’d like to take a vacation. Perhaps what home projects or decor you’d like to prioritize. They also help you get big and little things on the calendar that matter.
Home remodeling strengthened our marriage and relationship, and I think these conversations were the main reason.
Weekly, we like to talk about 1-year plans, and monthly we like to talk about 5-year plans. Not in a formal way. Just in a “What home project would you like to do next? How do we make that happen?” kind of way.
Now there we’re into 10 years of marriage, we can look back and see how these discussions have already molded us and helped us accomplish big and little dreams.
Support Each Other’s Careers
Juggling kids and jobs while home 24/7 taught us a lot about supporting each other’s careers. Not that we didn’t do this before, I mean Jacob put me through my MBA and I lived with a toddler alone for four months so he could take an international assignment. I would have given us an “A” without the pandemic.
But this year has taught us some things that get your relationship to an A+. Jacob has most conference calls on a set day in the morning, and you’d better believe I try to take the kids or a walk or play in the backyard during this window. Some of my meetings fall later in the morning. Guess when Jacob often takes his lunch.
We have talked about individual needs to complete work tasks more than ever.
Also, there’s a lot of plans for the future, and we make sure to bring those up often and talk about our future with our careers.
If you’re not talking about careers often, I’d add that into your mix. And find easy ways to better support and enable them to be successful in that individual aspect of their life.
It’s the Little Things That Make a Relationship
We have a favorite spot on the couch. It’s a sectional and the corner is king. When I need to work at night (which is most nights!), Jacob yields it so I can be near the outlet for a power source. When I’m not working, I let his long legs have it for a primo stretch-out spot.
And I think any time one of us yields the best spot, we smile and feel so loved and seen.
Put the Phone Down
I don’t think I need to explain this. Give your spouse more attention than your phone. Set it down. Don’t use it on dates. Have a clear open conversation to let each other know when you need their attention and to turn it off and don’t be offended by it. In 10 years of marriage, we’ve seen technology use increase. Setting boundaries together has been one of the most important things for us to stay connected.
Laugh Together Daily
Endorphins never hurt, in fact, they quite the opposite! The same is true for your relationship. Laugh together, share inside jokes, send the memes. Find some humor and pump those endorphins!
Photos: Chrissy Blake