Thursday, January 23, 2014

9 Things Every Marriage Needs

I know, I know.

"Not another marriage post" is what you're thinking, right? We've all read those lists that consist of trust, honesty, communication, blah, blah, blah.

Not that those things aren't important. They definitely are. But there are other things that I believe keep a marriage chugging along just as much. Granted, some of these are a little unconventional and not everyone is going to agree with me, but here are 9 things that I feel like every marriage needs.

1. Humor - At least one person in the marriage has to be funny. It's a requirement. Ask any of our friends and they'll tell you that my humor is the reason T and I work so well together. If I didn't crack jokes all the time, T and I wouldn't have lasted the 6 years that we have. So if both of you are fuddy-duds, take one for the team and get a sense of humor. It really comes in handy during disagreements. There've been too many times that I'm trying to get frustrated with T but then I start laughing about something that HE said and forget that I wanted to be frustrated. (FYI: T added the emphasized "HE" because he doesn't like to admit that I'm the funny one.)

2. Time Apart - I get that you like each other and that's (hopefully) one of the reasons you got married. You guys may even be just alike when it comes to your interests. But I'm a firm believer in spending some time apart. Hold your horses and don't jump the gun. I'm not talking about living separately or going to clubs 6 nights of the week by yourself. If those are your choices, don't use this post as an excuse for them. I'm simply saying that it helps to spend quality girl time with your friends every now and then. Even alone time works. T can always tell when I need "Whitney Time" when my fuse starts to run short. That's when he knows to get out of the house for a while and let me breathe. This is especially helpful for me during baseball season. I go crazy if my life revolves around his life (which is always. baseball.) so I always try to find things of my own to get involved in.

3. A Reset Button - T and I will occasionally call 'time out' and hit the reset button if we're in a rut. This means that we have to instantly forget whatever grievances each of us have against the other and start new.  After you hit the button you're not allowed to bring those things up again. We don't use it all the time because there are some legitimate issues that need to be worked out, but when we notice ourselves bringing up the same (pointless) topic again, and again, and again, and again, we hit the button. There is a very good chance that T will always (for the rest of our entire lives) have a "wear again" clothes pile that is really just dirty clothes that never make it to the hamper. No matter how many times I nag nicely ask him to pick up the clothes, they're still there. I eventually had to throw this fight out the window and leave it be. I lose. 

4. Make Out Sessions - When was the last time you played "7 Minutes in Heaven"? Not recently. Well, go do it. Now. Go on. WAIT! Finish reading this post first then go do it. You're welcome.

5. A Favorite TV Show - Or board game, card game, activity, whatever. Something that you both enjoy doing together on a regular basis. T and I used to enjoy working out together, and while we would still like that, Cali makes it a little more difficult. So we've adjusted and now when T and I are home at the same time and baby is in bed, I'll (most of the time) turn off "Teen Mom" and let him watch "The Bachelor" instead. ;)

6. Date Nights - These don't have to be fancy shmancy or expensive dates. In fact, I wrote about a lot of (mostly) free things to do in this post. T and I call these our "mini-dates". Most of the time we don't even leave the house. The purpose is just to get rid of all distractions and focus completely on each other and good conversation. This is when you recharge as a couple and (hopefully) remember why you fell in love in the first place. This is different from the activity that you enjoy together because during that, you're focusing your attention on the activity. During the date, all of your attention should be focused on them.

7. Grooming - No, I'm not talking about grooming your marriage - though that's not a bad idea. I'm talking about grooming yourself. Don't go sending me hate mail. I know that all of us are busy and once you're married they're pretty much stuck with you supposed to love you no matter what you look like but I'm here to tell you that a little grooming goes a long way. Ladies: Get your roots done, shave your legs, paint your nails, etc. Guys: Keep your hair trimmed, throw on some cologne, change out of your sweatpants every now and then. You get the picture. Chances are when you met your spouse you had done at least a couple, if not all, of these things. I'm just trying to help you keep the flame alive, folks.

8. Secrets - This is pretty much the opposite of what every marriage counselor in the world will tell you but I'm not talking about real, harmful, secrets. I'm just talking about the old saying "leave something to the imagination". Our husbands miiiiggghht not need to see us wax our chin hairs or dig out our ingrowns. And husbands, we don't need to hear you passing loud gas all of the time or cleaning food out of your teeth on a daily basis. Sure, these things are going to come up now and again and we can't avoid letting them see our private moments forever, but maybe we don't need to make a daily habit of it?

9. PDA - I'm not talking about sticking your hands in each other's back pockets while you walk around the mall (though if you choose to do that you'll get no judgement here) but a little hand holding or a quick hug every now and then is nice. Private intimacy is crucial in a marriage but a little public affection goes a long way

What do you think? What unique qualities do you think are important to marriage?

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