Now, I’m no marriage expert, but I’m a wife who loves her husband and who is equally loved by her husband, and has been through a lot with him over the course of 9 years. Like any marriage, we’ve had our good times and our bad. But I’m thankful to say, divorce never has been, nor will be an option for us. When we said for better or worse, sickness or health, till death do us part, we truly meant it! This day in age, people are quick to just divorce each other. Just like your career or any goal you have, it’s not easy and you have to work for it. Things will bring you down, but it’s not about how you fall, or how hard you fall, it’s about how you get up.
These are things that helped Renaldo and I strengthen our marriage, some were intentional and some were unintentional.
- Have a wedding: Nothing against court house weddings, because we almost did it! But planning a wedding is serious! It takes a lot of planning and budgeting. You see someone’s true financial colors when it comes time to plan and pay for a wedding.
- Buy a house together: Buying a house is so stressful, from saving up all your nickels and dimes, pulling up 2 months worth of bank statements (that exposes my true target and Dunkin Donuts addiction), actually finding THE house, agreeing on it, and then moving in! It’s a surreal feeling, owning a house, and what better person to experience it for the first time than with your spouse!
- Make a big purchase together(like a car): Renaldo and I have purchased 5 cars together and 3 of which being new cars, and the time we put into researching those cars brought us closer together. We had to compromise on features, and negotiate deals together.
- Go through the struggle together: Now, I’m not saying intentionally go through the struggle, but I’m saying when you go through the struggle together, it can either make or break you. There was a time when Renaldo and I had to figure out how the heck we were going to put gas in our car, and make $30 last until our next paychecks. We had to get creative, and figure out ways to make a dime last. We had to come together as boyfriend and girlfriend (at the time) and figure it out! Looking back at those times, it made us stronger as a couple. If you’ve never had to go through the struggle, I APPLAUD YOU! lol
- Share bank accounts: I am a FIRM believer in sharing bank accounts. Unfriend me, unfollow me, whatever you want, but I believe all paychecks should go into one account. His money is my money, and my money is his. There is no such thing as mine! Now what we do have are separate accounts, that each of has access to, that every week we each get an allowance that we can buy whatever we want from it. But you’d never ever hear us say “oh, you have to pay for the boy’s tuition this month, I paid for it last month” or “I’ll buy groceries this week”! Whenever I hear that from couples, I’m like HOWWWWW and WHYYYY?!?!. Everything is open in our marriage, each of us know where OUR money is going.
- Go on dates: going on dates whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly is so important. And make sure it’s intentional! Both of you need to want to do it! Put the phones away and just engage with each other. If you can, try not to talk about the kids! But talk about each other’s well being, talk about goals, JUST TALK!
- Travel WITH your kids together ALONE: Alright so we went to Boston (we live in Florida), and we have NO ONE in Boston. So we didn’t have family helping us out with our three boys, we didn’t have a family member’s house to drop the kids off for a break, we didn’t have a helping hand, it was just us in a hotel room working together. And we’ve traveled with family, or to visit family, but never alone and I promise you it’s a completely different experience. We had to rely on solely one another, we figured things out by ourselves, all while having a baby strapped to my chest trying to breastfeed, a toddler screaming in the stroller and a 5 year old complaining he’s hungry, his feet hurt and he has to pee. So yeah, we came back from Boston feeling like we just got back from a marriage renewal getaway!
- Travel with your husband ALONE(no kids): This can piggy back off number 6, but I also think on top of traveling with kids, its also important to have some one-on-one travel time with JUST your spouse. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, it can just be one night away at a hotel 2 towns away! Just anywhere, that’s not at home, and not with the kids. We love doing this like 1-2 times a year, because we can just be irresponsible and stay up till whatever time we please, and sleep in till whatever time we please (well until checkout). But it’s nice to get away and not have to stress diapers, bottles or car seats!
- Renovate a house, or do a project together: Many of you all know, we gutted our house out. Ripped tile out, tore our kitchen cabinets out and rebuilt it all. Well during all of this, we didn’t have AC, we didn’t have a walkable floor, we practically lived in our bedroom and the kids playroom. We had to figure out what to eat without a kitchen, how to not stink without running water, and how to make our money last (renovations are NOT cheap). Plus we had to come together to agree on paint colors, cabinet styles, countertop stone options, and faucets….gosh I would’ve never thought a darn faucet could be so stressful! But during this messy and dusty time, we grew so much closer together.
- Do a marriage class: Sounds simple, and obvious, but doing a marriage class can help so much. Taking a marriage class can save a marriage that’s in a crisis, or strengthen a strong marriage. It’s beneficial no matter what!
- Go to bed at the same time: I love snuggling up next to my husband at night, And just talking about our day. I’m guilty of staying up late on my phone pinning things, or aimlessly swiping through Instagram, but cuddling next to my husband and falling asleep with each other is more important.
- Be each other’s best friend: He’s my best friend, we know each other on a deeper level. We talk on the phone like how I would with my girlfriends and he talks to me like he would with his boys. We can joke around with each other, gossip, or help each other pick out outfits. Every weekend, we’re out eating lunch and shopping with each other like the besties that we are! Little disclaimer: My husband is a different breed, your husband can STILL be your best friend and not like to shop with you. Shopping is just something we both enjoy doing together! So find something you and your spouse love doing together, whether its cooking, going to sporting events or even playing video games!
- Be emotionally and physically present: A woman needs her emotional needs met, and a man needs his physical needs met (or vice versa). Men tell and show your wife how much you love her. Ladies, don’t be lazy, and have sex with him- yep I REALLY said it!!
- Pray together: THE most important one of them all. When you and your husband connect spiritually and can keep God at the center of it all, the doors that can open up for your marriage are endless. Take the time at least once a day to just pray with each other for each other. It’s amazing what prayer can do for both of you.
- And lastly, look at everything as a learning experience: Everything you and your husband do TOGETHER you all can grow and learn from, even driving together, cooking together, or dancing together, as long as you all are together!
Thank you for reading, if you have any personal tips that worked for your marriage, share it with me in the comments, I’d love to read them