5 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

{full blog post here}

Happy Weekend, lovelies – 
When thinking about content for this week, I knew I wanted to continue on the track of going deeper with you guys.  Definitely not all of the time, but occasionally it’s a nice change.  After I posted this instagram on Monday, I had a few of you snapchat or email me about relationships.  John and I by no means have everything figured out when it comes to marriage or our relationship, but we do have quite a few years of experience.  This October, J and I will be celebrating our 7th anniversary and I can hardly wait.  Although I always joke that we got married when we were 12 years old (realistically  20 & 21), I wouldn’t change one second of our lives together.  We’ve started a sweet, little family of just us and our two pups (so far), built a beautiful home together, celebrated every moment, good and bad, and most importantly, loved each other through every single thing life has thrown our way in the last seven years.
After thinking about what I could say about relationships that would be useful, I decided to simply share what works for us, in the most honest way I know how.  How we continue to be each others favorite person in the whole world and what makes us fall in love with each other every single day.  The reality of a lot of relationships & marriages is that it’s just plain hard sometimes.  Every day is definitely not all sunshine and roses, but when those days come along (and they will), knowing how to strengthen your relationship is everything.  Whether it’s simply for a day or a longer period of time.  I love this quote that my father-in-law has said time and time again: ‘I’ve been married for 30 years with a couple of really bad days’.  When you look back on your relationship throughout the years, you don’t remember every argument or disagreement, you just know that the good has definitely outweighed the bad.  
I came home and talked to J about our thoughts on this and together, we came up with five things that have, and continue to, work for us.
1. Always try to out-do one another.  This one happens to be a daily thing.  However, IF you do this daily, it makes those really hard moments more bearable.  I’m not talking about material things or gifts, but in your actions.  This is something that John’s parents not only told us when we first got married, but we saw them live it out on a daily basis, and we never stopped doing it ourselves.  Whether it be waking up and taking your spouse a cup of coffee in the morning, sending them an encouraging text message throughout the day, or cooking dinner for/with them in the evenings, it’s all of those little things that make one big change.  If I ever go out of town and J stays home (or vice versa), I always leave little notes throughout the house, just reminding him of how much I love and miss him when we’re not together.  It’s something that’s so easy and doesn’t cost a thing, but it’s such a sweet reminder.  If you’re constantly trying to out do your spouse in ways of showing how much you love and care for them, it makes such a difference when those tough times arise.
2. Take a trip together.  I can remember the first couple of years after J and I were married and sometimes it was just difficult.  You’re still figuring out how to live with a person and how to co-exist with them on a day to day basis.  You get in your routine of waking up, going to work, coming home to a house that needs to be cleaned, figuring out what you’re going to have for dinner, and who paid what bills today, and for lack of a better word, sometimes that just literally sucks.  It’s called adulting and it’s no fun.  Haha, but seriously though, it’s hard to figure all of that out with someone else, especially when you’re as young as we were.  However, one thing that always worked for us was just to take off somewhere together.  Keep in mind at this time, we hadn’t traveled to all of these amazing places and most definitely didn’t always have the money to.  So by ‘taking off’ that usually meant a quick getaway to Charleston, SC.  I always joke that it’s our ‘love place’ because it really is where we would go when things were tough and we needed some time away from our norm.  Spending a short weekend together, just the two of you, can be a game changer.  When you don’t have to think about ‘adulting’ for a couple of days and you just simply get to ENJOY each other again.  John and I always loved (and still love) escaping routines for a few days and just getting out of town.
3. Change together, always.  I can’t explain how huge this is.  Because we have been married a bit longer than most of our friends and family, we’ve seen a lot of them have relationships – good and bad.  I can’t tell you how much John and I have changed as people in the last seven years.  We literally went from kids living at home with our parents to growing into the people we are today.  We’ve both changed careers, our opinions on life and what we want for our family, where we go to church (which was a really big one for us), and even down to what we like and dislike as people.  You figure out so many of those things in your 20s and if you happen to be in a relationship or married at the time, you have to figure it out together.  Change together.  Become the people you want to be, or go to the places you want to go, together.  For example, I literally hate when I travel to a new city for the first time and J isn’t with me.  Almost to the point where I won’t do it, because if I’m trying something for the first time, I want J to try it, too.  I don’t want to experience anything in life without him by my side doing it with me.  Don’t get me wrong, we are both our own people and have become super independent throughout the years, but it’s not about needing to do everything together, it’s about wanting to do everything together.  Or on a broader perspective, not needing to change together, but WANTING to change together.  We are such different people now than we were at 20 and 21 years old, but in every moment of figuring out this crazy life, we’ve done it together.  I can’t tell you how much of a difference this can make in whether or not your relationship makes it.
4. Just simply go to bed.  I know, I know, we’ve all heard the saying ‘never go to bed angry’ a million times.  As much as I can agree with that, I also know firsthand that sometimes, you just simply need to go. to. bed.  At some point, the conversation has to stop and you have to know when to give up, shut up, and take a few deep breaths.  It’s amazing what can change overnight and the fresh perspective you can have in the morning.  Just simply taking a break from whatever hard conversation or disagreement you were having is usually needed when coming to some type of conclusion.  (Or it is for me at least.)  I will say though – I would never recommend sleeping in separate rooms.  It really doesn’t solve anything.  You’re not awake during the night to be annoyed or mad anyway, so you might as well keep your normal sleeping habits and go to bed together.  Sometimes out of routine or habit, I’ve rolled over in the mornings and curled up with J, just to wake up and think a few minutes later ‘Wait, I was so mad at you last night!’  But in that moment, and with the start of a new day, it just doesn’t seem as important.  
5. Know there is a season for everything.  There’s no doubt about the fact that life is tough.  Things happen that you can’t explain, that you wish you could change, but can’t, and seasons in life that feel like they’ll never end.  However, what an amazing, beautiful thing it is to have someone to simply go through life with.  Someone you can lean on, someone who will love you past whatever pain you’re currently dealing with, and someone who cares enough to do it.  On the other hand, it’s really easy to go the opposite route and take things out on your spouse during a hard time.  Really easy.  They’re the person you can usually say anything to and the one that takes the brunt of your frustration.  However, if you just go through it WITH them and feel what they’re feeling, it changes everything.  In the last seven years, John and I have had some really, really hard days.  Things that I never thought I would HAVE to deal with, let alone KNOW how to deal with.  I’ve cried more tears on J’s arm than I would like to admit (or even think about for that matter), but I can’t tell you how much stronger it has made our relationship because he went through all of those seasons with me.  And you know what – they all eventually came to somewhat of an end.  He felt those moments of fear, confusion, anxiety, and heartbreak just as hard as I felt them and that has made me have a love for him that I’ll never even be able to put into words.  Yes, we still have hard days and no, things are not always perfect.  But, knowing that our relationship is strengthened through every struggle we’ve faced, makes for one amazing love story.
Thanks so much for reading + stopping by each and every day.  I’m loving these ‘heart to heart’ type of posts that are so relatable for us all.  These days, social media and blogs can be SUCH a downer, and it’s nice to know that we’re all human, all amazing women, going through and dealing with a lot of the same issues.  So, if you guys have any other requests for posts similar to this one (or this one), I would love to hear them!
Thanks so much for stopping by, xx.


Amy C

Thank you for sharing this! I am so encouraged by your honesty and authenticity in sharing your heart, I wish more bloggers would write posts like these!

Christy DuBois

Great post and thanks for sharing your life. Choosing to love your spouse each and everyday through good and bad isn't always easy but that's what it takes to stay married and with the one you vowed before God to do so with. As you have so specifically explained.
Hope y'all have a great week end.

Chantel Distefano

You write it out so beautifully and it is so very much appreciated! Thank you for these heart-warming post!


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