A few weeks ago, Matt and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, marking 14 years together. We celebrated with drinks at Dylan’s Candy Bar
and a nice dinner out at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse
. I highly recommend both places if you’re ever in Chicago! We enjoyed our night overlooking Michigan Avenue. We enjoyed each other’s company and conversation even more. And we were home by 10 to go to bed at a decent hour.
Definitely not our most elaborate or creative anniversary celebration, but I am happy we enjoyed the night on the actual day. In the last 14 years, and especially the last 6 we have had so many ups and downs. And yet, we are as happy as ever.
It hasn’t always been that way. And I’m sure in the future there will be days where it won’t feel that way. But we both know our marriage is a priority. And it takes work and sacrifice. It takes biting our tongues at times and 100 compromises a day. It takes putting our family that we wished, prayed and worked for first.
But it gives us so much more. We each have a best friend. We have an ally against the world. We have someone who supports our highs and holds us during our lows.
We communicate, we actively listen, we do what we can for the other one. We take time to be a family and we take time to be a couple. We eat dinner together. We go to bed together. We support each other’s careers and we divide and conquer the housework and childcare. We actively and purposely make it look easy. But we worked hard for it to be that way. It took fights and tears. It took hard conversations and brutal honesty, but in the end, we knew it was worth it.
We weren’t meant to last. We met a bar when Matt was underage and I was looking for anything but a husband. Matt hadn’t finished college and I was looking to leave town. The odds were stacked against us. We had to do a long distance relationship where life events and maturity levels separated us by leaps and bounds.
But we preserved.
We experienced a time when one of us was unemployed and then severely underemployed. We picked ourselves up and we kept going. We disagreed on money. We suffered the loss of family members and miscarriages. But we never lost each other.
On our anniversary and every other day, I choose him. I choose to put our marriage first. I choose to listen to his highs and support him during his lows. I chose to turn to him before all others. I choose to be a part of a unit. I choose to give 100% today and every day. To celebrate the big and the little events in our lives.
How do you celebrate your anniversary? Do you celebrate? Do you give each other gifts? How do you make your relationship work? What are your relationship rules?
If I had to pick my top 5, I think they would be:
- Always listen – sometimes we are so busy and we are talking at each other and not to each other. I always want to make sure I’m listening to what he is saying, that we make time to have meaningful conversations and not just the logistics of the day.
- Spend meaningful time together – Matt and I decided before we had kids that we would be ok with babysitters. That we would still do the things that we loved- dinners, concerts, shows. That we would try to not lose ourselves when we became parents.
- Embrace the differences – Matt and I are two sides of the same coin. We complement each other, but we are very different. I’m an introvert who needs my space, shopping time, and good books. Matt is an extrovert who enjoys people, networking, and the outdoors. We can’t do everything together but we can do a lot together and support each other’s hobbies from the sidelines. We can also push each other to try new things. You never know, maybe one day I will like golfing or camping – but probably not.
- Divide and conquer life – housework, childcare, finances, everything. We really have come up with a plan that works for us. Where neither of us feels like we are doing everything. The key here is that we had to create a plan. It was a sit-down conversation where we decided to divide and conquer together. We put it on paper. It couldn’t be something we just assumed would happen or something I dictated, but a real plan. Now Matt knows I know my “jobs” and he knows his, so there are minimal reminders, nagging and “mothering”.
- Always be growing together – As a single unit, it’s easy to grow. To change and morph into someone, whether that’s good or bad. The key to a relationship for us is to grow together and in a positive way. We want to make sure we don’t leave the other behind or even worse grow in opposite directions. One of us wants to get healthy, cool, the other can always make improvements on their diet and exercise, we can take family walks, we can spend more time outdoors and at the park not on the couch, we can cheer eachother on during a race or particpate in the same race at differnt speeds. We don’t sabotage, fill the house with their favorite snacks and complain. Also, we share articles and podcasts – who can’t learn something new and it gives us more things to talk about and connect about.
Please tell me all the ways you celebrate your significnat other, big and small. I’d love to hear it and Matt and I are always looking for new date night ideas! What are your relationship rules? How do you find time as a couple when you have kids and jobs and all the other little things life throws your way? I can’t wait to hear it.