Just over 2 years ago I married the love of my life and while we may have been married ONLY 2 years so far, we are officially no longer newlyweds, which makes me somewhat of an expert. Okay, not really, but in celebration of this milestone, I shall grace you with things I have managed to cram into this brain of mine in these short 2 years.

1. There will be a honeymoon stage and it will end. Once married, routine set in and seeing him everyday wasn’t so suspenseful. A bad thing? Not at all, but I’ve learned the art of keeping things exciting and alive. I may not be surprised anymore to turn over in bed and see his handsome face (even when he’s snoring), but I sure do enjoy it when he surprises me with a “good morning” note or flowers when he gets off of work. In turn, he may have gotten used to seeing my sleepy smile first thing in the morning (or after a few minutes when I’ve woken up a little), but what a smile that lights up his face when he finds a little love note in the bathroom or a “welcome home” sign when he arrives after work. Routine is nice, it’s comfortable, it’s inviting. But surprises are great too and keeps you looking forward to being with each other.

2. Men and women are different. Duh, right? Turns out that’s a hard concept to remember when you’re arguing and you’re getting frustrated of having to explain the same thing over and over and he’s STILL not getting it. My brain works differently than his. His brain works different than mine. Accept it and learn to work with it.

3. Sex, Friendship and Food. Guess which one of us said these are our top 3 needs? I’ll give you a hint….it wasn’t me. I’ve heard another husband list his top 3 as “sex, laundry and food”. See any similarities? Yep, you got it. Food! Okay, so I know you’re thinking of the other one, but give me a minute. For many guys (I’m not dumb enough to say ALL), they want food. They love food. I can’t recall any man I’ve ever met who was ho-hum about eating. Us women may get so busy that we just scarf down whatever is quick, or we may even forget (I used to sneer at women who said they forgot to eat…who could ever forget? And then I went and had a baby and life got so hectic that I actually forgot to grab some lunch in between laundry and errands and nursing and working. So, now I get it). But ask my husband if he’s ever forgotten to eat or if he’s happy just grabbing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and he’ll laugh in your face. He wants FOOD. Real food. Case closed. The next similarity you may have noticed was Sex. If you’ve ever read the book or taken the test “The Five Love Languages” you’ll probably know that most men rank Physical Touch in their top 2 Languages, meaning that’s how they express love the most and how they want love expressed to them. Hard day at work? Sex can ease his aches and pains. Mad at a friend? Sex can take the anger away. Couldn’t get the lawn mower running? Who cares when you’ve got sex. Excited about a promotion at work? What’s a better way to celebrate than by having sex!  The list goes on and on and while I’m not saying sex is everything all the time, it’s a lot….a lot of the time.

4. I once went to a bridal shower where this little jewel of wisdom was passed down from one married woman to the soon to be: Dress up for bed. As the wife, I can’t say that I really get this one because I don’t care what my husband wears to bed. It doesn’t affect me either way whether he beds down with me wearing sweats and a long sleeve, holy boxers, or gym shorts and no shirt. But what I wear does affect him. Men are visual creatures and while I do have an old college football T-Shirt I keep in my pj cycle, and there are days when thinking about what to wear to bed is just not on my radar after going a hundred miles and hour all day and I’m ready to collapse into bed, I try to choose items of clothing may have a cute picture on it, or have a little lace, definitely doesn’t hang on me like a bed sheet and at the very least, doesn’t have arm pit stains.

5. Communication really is key. Talk. Talk often. Talk about everything. Seriously. If I’m doing something that I don’t want my husband to know about, no matter how innocent I argue it is, maybe I shouldn’t be doing it. Granted he doesn’t want me to give him a second by second play of my day, every day, and he may not want to hear about how a certain comment he made really pissed me off, but he NEEDS to hear about that comment. However, and I repeat, however, HOW you communicate will dictate whether he really hears you or not. On the flip side, you’ve gotta listen just as well as you wish he would. Be open to hearing about what he’s not happy about. And remember, men and women are different.

fair-scared6. Laugh. Preferably together and not at each other, but I suppose anything will do. Just kidding, although I think if you can’t laugh at yourself you’re just too uptight. My hubby has an iPad and it has a camera that distorts your face. Oh the tears we have cried taking pictures of ourselves with that thing. I think our next Christmas card should have a family picture taken with the iPad camera.

(This wasn’t with the camera, but us on a ferris wheel at the fair. I’ve never looked better.)

7. Date nights are mandatory. Just because you’re officially hitched and not dating anymore doesn’t mean you actually stop dating each other. If you enjoyed getting flowers before you 017were married, gently remind your soul mate that you still do. If he liked it when you got all dolled up just to go eat Mexican food, keep breaking out those heels and pearls. Your date nights may look different than before, but find something that is a little more special than your daily norm and make it a time to devote to the two of you.

 

(This is us kayaking, just the 2 of us. We went entirely too far and may have gotten at least slightly frusturated at times, but we did it. Just the 2 of us.)

me J at fundraiser8. The only thing that never changes is that change is inevitable. Your marriage will evolve. You will evolve. Your spouse will evolve. The couples that make the commitment to evolve WITH each other are the couples that stay together. You may not love spending your Saturday morning out on the green, but if your husband enjoys hitting and chasing that little white ball around a golf course, maybe you decide to show an interest by playing a few holes or going to the driving range every so often.  And I bet that you’re changing too as the marriage goes on. Priorities shift, interests change, needs and desires ebb and flow. But if you can ebb and flow together, you’ll be the couple that is together in the end.

(At a fundraising event for my job. He’s never too excited to go, but he does because it’s important to me. And with this pic, we’re able to look back at it and not only say “oohh, that’s beautiful, but oooh, that could have been the first picture of me being pregnant.)

9. Kids change things. We heard it for months before our babe was born: “Your life will never be the same”. Newsflash, that’s obvious. But the little details that we never heard about was how it would change our marriage. I’m no longer just a wife; I’m a wife AND a mother. He no longer is just my husband; he’s my baby daddy. Eleven months post birth and we’re still trying to figure out how to relate to each other as a mom and dad. Heck, we’ll probably be trying to figure it out for years to come as our kid(s) grow and change, only to have them leave the nest and then have to figure out how to relate to each other as empty nesters. My advice: talk about how it changes for you. Tell your man that it’s not that you’re not attracted to him anymore, it’s just that you’ve had a baby attached to you all day and the thought of him now attaching himself to you makes you want to lock yourself in the closet for just a little bit of “me” time. Listen to him when he explains that he’s a little bummed that your body doesn’t just belong to him anymore. For example, nursing is a wonderful creation but can leave your man feeling a little left out, especially when our wee one was nursing 12 times a day in the beginning!!!

10. Along with the kids issue, remember: YOUR MARRIAGE is more important than your child. Your relationship with your spouse is more important than your relationship with your child(ren), as cute and cuddly as they are. One of the best things you can do for your babies is to have a healthy relationship with their other parent.

IMG_708911. Time is of the essence. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Say “I love you” every time you think about it. Want to do something nice for your loved one? Do it now, don’t wait until you have time. You won’t…especially after you have kids. You have to MAKE the time. Spend time with each other. Spend time thinking about each other. Spend time loving each other. On that note, while I have much more I could write, I have to go. I have a man to go love. (A poster I made for my baby daddy on his first Father’s Day.)