Daily Conversations for a Healthy Marriage

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Marriage is hard. Ask any couple who have been married for longer than a couple of months and they will tell you that’s it’s not sunshine and rainbows all the time. Your spouse is supposed be there for all of the highs and lows of your life so it’s not always pretty.

I’ve been married for a little over two years now but have been with my husband for eight years. We have had many great moments but have also had many struggles. There have been a few times where I’ve wanted to give up and walk away but at the end of the day Brett is my best friend and my person. He might upset me from time to time but there’s still no one else I’d rather do life with.

We had our first major fight a couple of weeks ago where I didn’t even want him to sleep in our room. One of my friends gave us the advice when we got married to never go to bed angry and I’ve stuck with that until this fight. I was so upset over something that was actually silly. I didn’t sleep that night even though I did end up letting Brett sleep in our bed. I woke up the next day and was really grumpy over my lack of sleep.

After that night I knew that something had to change. Brett and I don’t spend a ton of time together because he’s always busy with work or hanging out with his friends. We don’t have scheduled date nights and mostly communicate through text or when we talk before bed.

Throughout the day Brett tells me all about his day. I know what happened at work, what’s going on with his family, and what’s happening in his friend group. I tend to only share the big or interesting things so he doesn’t get to hear about a lot of my normal day to day activities.

Communication in a marriage is so important but ours was seriously lacking. I thought back to summer camp where we played the “roses and thorns” or “highs and lows” game. All we did at camp was go around the room and say the greatest moment (rose/high) and the worst moment (thorn/low) of our day. I thought this game would be perfect to play everyday with Brett.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve asked Brett every night before bed what his high and low for the day was. He usually answers that his low was going to work and his high was hanging out with friends, watching a weather documentary, etc. At first he never asked me the questions back but I’d answer anyway. Now it’s a habit and I look forward to what he has to say because his answers have evolved and have become more thoughtful. It’s a simple conversation that only lasts a couple of minutes but it really makes a difference in our marriage.

Communication is one of the keys for any successful marriage or relationship. Over the years communicating with Brett has become harder so I’m grateful that we have this new way to share things about our day.

Do you have any tips for communicating with your significant other?

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Learning How to Say “No”

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I’m a people pleaser and that’s not always a good thing. I hate disappointing people and nothing brings me more joy than helping someone in need. This people pleasing quality gets me in trouble a lot of the time because I make other people happy but don’t have time to chase my own happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately with this because sometimes people take advantage of how caring I am. I get myself in situations where I’m so busy taking care of other people that I don’t take care of myself. I end up exhausted, crying, and swearing that I’ll make a change and start saying “no”.

This weekend we had a family member ask me to do something for her and her family that went way too far. I want to help them but helping them would hurt my mental health in a way that would take too long to recover from. I don’t want to go into details but I had to have a serious conversation with Brett and luckily we both agreed that I had to say no.

Saying no is hard, especially when you love the person and want to help them. But sometimes you have to say no in order to protect yourself from damage. It feels selfish and wrong but it’s needed. I hate disappointing people and I know that this decision will hurt my relationship with the person. But this time I have to put myself first. I have to save myself from something that will damage me.

Taking care of yourself is more than just “self-care Sunday”. Taking care of yourself means protecting your mental health, your energy, and your well-being. It means learning to say “no” to things that will hurt you. Put yourself first, you’re worth it!

Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Any advice on getting over being a people pleaser?

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Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

The Truth About Closure

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When I was 13 I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book series. Tibby was my favorite character, I even named our cat after her. In the books Tibby wants to be a film director and carries her camera with her everywhere capturing everything she experiences. I was inspired so I asked for a video camera for my 14th birthday.

On my 14th birthday in October 2007 my parents bought me my own video camera. I took the camera pretty much everywhere with me for a year. My goal was to create a video about a year in my life. I filmed sleepovers with friends, after school activities, family events, and every holiday.

I forgot about this video camera until I cleaned out my parent’s basement earlier this year. I brought it home and stored it in our spare bedroom in a box until last week when I got the inspiration to start going through the boxes. I found the camera again and tried to turn it on but it needed a new battery. Amazon delivered the new battery the next day and my 12 year old video camera was back in action!

Going through the videos that I so carefully filmed was extremely hard. Life has changed drastically in the last 12 years and I’m no longer friends with any of the same people. I saw the girl I considered a sister give me a hug, I listened to 14 year old Hayley talk about love like she knew how it felt, I got to see baby videos of my two favorite kids.

At 14 I thought that I had it all figured out. I had the best group of friends who I thought would be with me throughout the rest of my life. I had my dorky little sister, my parents, and my amazing grandparents. I had a future career as a film director and I was going to marry my best friend’s older brother. Everything was going to be okay because I was surrounded with people who loved me more than anything.

I obviously never made the video about a year in my life. The summer before I turned 15 was when everything started to change. One of my best friends was a guy and I think we both always cared about each other a little differently than we cared about our other friends. We started dating that summer that I stopped filming and were together for the next 2ish years.

Seeing this boy that I used to care about in these videos hurt my heart a little bit. Not because I have any feelings left for him but because before watching I couldn’t ever remember being friends with him. Our breakup during our junior year was messy, mostly because I was immature and decided that there was no way we could ever be friends again. I cut him out of my life completely and lost most of my other friends along the way too.

Watching my life from my 14 year old self’s perspective was eye opening. Being brought back to a time before braces fixed my teeth, my acne was not quite under control, and I only wore band t-shirts and converse made me realize that I never quite got closure from this time in my life. This group of friends meant everything to me and I lost them.

I think that 14 year old Hayley would be really proud of me. I know that I’m proud of her.

Getting closure isn’t always about having a conversation or making amends. Sometimes it’s just knowing that it’s okay to leave the past in the past. It’s okay to be sad about what you’ve lost while still appreciating all that you have gained.

I’m thankful that I captured all of these little moments of my life. I wouldn’t have remembered the time my sister and I had a funeral for our goldfish, the way my dog Scooter snored, rocking baby Riley to sleep, or what we talked about at sleepovers.

I’m not quite sure yet what I will do with the 36 hours of videos that I have from 2007-2008 but I’m really glad that I have it.

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Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

 

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

I love summer reading! I’m always looking for a book that I can relate to that’s not too serious. Something that I can get lost in for a little while. I had read a few other reviews for Love and Other Words and added it right away to my TBR list.

Summary:

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

Review:

I started reading this book on one of the nights where we had a bad storm and our power went out. I read for about an hour and decided that I didn’t really like it. I was disappointed because I really thought I’d like it. My friend encouraged me to keep reading it and I’m glad they did!

I fell in love with Macy and Elliott. I loved their story and their characters. I cried with them, laughed with them, and cheered them on throughout the book. I loved the flashbacks to when they first met and fell in love. There’s just something so magical about falling in love and this book was special because you get to see it happening twice.

Macy’s story was rough to read but so powerful. I loved that she was fiercely independent but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do with her life. This book shows her struggles and you get to watch her overcome so many things from her present and her past.

Favorite Quotes:

“I give myself three more seconds to look at him, and it’s like another punch to the gut. He’s my person. He’s always been my person. My best friend, my confidant, probably the love of my life. And I’ve spent the last eleven years being angry and self-righteous. But at the end of the day, he tore a hole in us, and fate ripped it wide open. “I’m going to go,”

“Sometimes it feels like I think about you every minute,” he whispered.”

“Tell her you love her. Girls need the words.”

“Admissions make feelings intensify simply because they are given space to breathe. Admissions lead to love, and admitting love is like tying yourself to a train track.”

“Don’t spoil her with toys; spoil her with books.”

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Again, I didn’t think I would love this book after reading it for a little bit. But in the end the powerful story and brilliant characters won me over. Macy’s family dynamics broke my heart but her love with Elliott sewed it back together.

Love and Other Words was a cute read but felt more meaningful than my normal YA romance book. It brought me back to my first relationship and heartbreak. It made me feel for these people who are really just characters in a book. It made me wonder if maybe these characters are based off of real life people?

I haven’t rated a book so highly yet in my book review series. I thought long and hard about this but honestly I think Love and Other Words deserves 4.5 stars. It was almost perfect in my eyes.

Have you read any good books lately?

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The Key To A Successful Marriage

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Happy Thursday!

I got some good advice this weekend from a family member and I thought that I’d take a quick second to share it with you:

The key to a successful marriage is communication.

This seems simple and I’ve heard it many times before from other people but it really stuck with me when my cousin said it.

We were talking about marriage and the difficulties that sometimes arise. My husband, Brett, works pretty strange hours because he works in event management. He has to work any night or weekend event that he is in charge of. Because of his job we don’t get to spend a ton of time together and he misses most family events.

I work a normal 8-5 Monday-Friday job which means that Brett and I really don’t see each other a lot during the week. It’s hard to communicate besides a series of text messages that are exchanged throughout the day. But no matter what we do communicate with each other. I always know what’s going on with him, if he’s having a  good day or bad day, and what his hours for that day are.

Communication is the lifeline that holds us together. We may not be together but he at least knows that I care and am interested in what’s going on in his life.

While it is important to have the regular day to day communication it is equally important to communicate about any challenges and goals for the future. We are always talking about our short and long term goals.

We have only been married for a year (on August 19th!) but I can already tell that communication can make or break a relationship. I never want to get to the point where Brett is no longer my best friend.

What do you think is the key to a successful relationship?

Thanks for reading!

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