Woo-wee! Three years, Babe. It feels like just yesterday but also like a thousand years ago. I have truly loved these three years being married to you. I can't think of a better way to spend my life than right next to you. I couldn't dream up a happier life. I couldn't plan or lay out a more wonderful way to exist!
I still don't know how you put up with me though. I guess you vowed to but...I'm sorry it's so hard sometimes. I know I'm picky and naggy. I'm slow and detailed and you're fast and "get it done ASAP". I'm always hot and you're always cold. You love spicy food and I don't so I never make it for you. You're always needing some piece of laundry that isn't clean because laundry is the bane of my existence. I never make your lunch or breakfasts and you routinely make mine. I never add the receipts into our budget like you've asked me to one hundred kajillion times. (In fact, I'm staring at my receipts from yesterday as I type this... Sorry. I'll do it umm...later?) I always talk your head off while you're trying to read. I kiss you with my coffee breath. The list goes on and on...
All images by Robert Boylson
DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION
But I read this quote the other day...
...And I thought of you.
I know I'm not perfect - far from it. But please keep forgiving me. And I'll keep forgiving you. We make the best team, Baby. You're the best captain! Thank you for that.
Thank you for a lot of things.
Thank you for picking up on my flirting 5 years ago.
Thank you for thinking awkward, 16-year-old Hannah with braces was cute.
Thank you for hugging me for 20 minutes in my mom's driveway after you asked me to be your girlfriend.
Thank you for saying, "Gimme the best seats you got" at the Reds' game on our first date, I'm still impressed : )
Thank you for exploring New York City with me!
Thank you for loving me long-distance while I was in Rome.
Thank you for sneakily asking my mom for my Great Grandmother's engagement ring that means so much to me.
Thank you for asking me to marry you.
Thank you for helping me plan our wedding.
Thank you for tearing up during our vows. That was my favorite part...
Thank you for marrying me!
Thank you for dancing the night away at our reception even though you hate dancing.
Thank you for driving 10 hours each way to and from our honeymoon.
Thank you for being a good sport when I woke you up at 4am to tell you I was pregnant with Charlotte.
Thank you for encouraging the heck outta me during her birth. Sorry I mostly ignored you!
Thank you for picking up the slack when I had horrible morning sickness with Rosalie.
Thank you for going above and beyond when I was hospitalized after her birth.
Thank you for loving our girls so tenderly every single day.
Thanks for making stressful situations so funny!
Thank you for buying Adobe Premier Elements 14 for me :)
Thank you for being so selfless all the time.
Thank you for tolerating my insanity.
Thank you so constantly making me laugh!
Thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself.
Thank you for being such a huge nerd about politics, fish, and the Rain Forest. It's really cute :)
Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader when it come to my blog and vlogs :) I would have given up by now without you.
But most of all thank you for loving me. I wouldn't change a thing about our lives. It's imperfectly perfect :) I couldn't do anything without you. Forever and always, Sweet Man.
So you're a parent. But not just any parent. You're in the trenches of teething like my husband and I are. You're in the throws of tantrums. You're in the deep end of disciplining...and you're drowning. BUT WAIT! You have a marriage to keep alive! I know it's not always easy, but it needs to be a priority. Without a strong marriage between mommy and daddy, what do your kids really even have? To best take care of your children, sometimes you parents need to put your marriage first. Here are my 5 easy, tried and true tips to help you do that.
1. Surprise Date Nights!
This last December an idea popped into my head. I thought it would be fun to trade months planning a surprise date night as a sort of "marriage New Year's resolution"! So I had January and we played it low key that month and just went out shopping with some gift cards we had. February was Tom's month to plan it and we went to nice Italian restaurant for Valentine's Day! You get the idea. It doesn't have to be anything special! In the summer I'm pretty sure we'll do some free picnics and cheap outdoor dates like ice cream shops and stuff like that. But even when it's something simple, the suspense of the date and not knowing what your spouse is planning adds some spice and fun into your marriage. Heck, being the one to plan the date is even fun! Seeing the look on their face when they finally realize what you've planned, no matter how simple, is so exciting!
You can do it however often you want though! Monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly. Whatever suits your schedules. Have fun, love birds!
2. Surprise Massages
I don't know about you guys but Tom and I are both kind of obsessed with back massages. It is the. most. heavenly. thing. on. earth. when I crawl into bed at the end of a long day spent with the kids and he rubs my back. Plus, we use that time to talk about our day or anthing else.
Also, comment below if you frequently attempt to trick your kids into giving you a back massage like I do. #dontlie #youdoittoo
This is the most ingenious method I've seen thus far. That's a smart dad...
Alright back to the marriage part!
3. Date Night In
If you're a parent, you can't always go out. Kids get sick or babysitters cancel, the car breaks down or you're just simply tired. If you're not a parent maybe you just want to save money! But date nights in don't have to be boring!
After the kids go to bed you can:
- Netflix/Redbox/Hulu + pizza and treats.
- In the summer put some fluffy pillows in the grass or in your truck bed and listen to an audio book.
- In the winter do the same thing inside by the fire.
- Create your own, fun dessert from scratch while you listen to your wedding reception playlist.
- Just sit quietly and read some spiritual books together, or read to each other.
- Get a nice journal and write down all the important parts of your life together in them. Write about things from each person's perspective. Your first date, your engagement, wedding day, the births of your kids, and any other special memories! Tom and I started doing this when we were dating. We write in the book in real time right after something happens worth remembering in our life! (Save it for your kids to read when they're older! How special would that be?!)
- Play 20 questions (which brings me to my next way to spice things up!
4. Question Each Other!
No, not this kind of questioning...
Think less "DID YOU MURDER HIM!" and more "Who was your best friend growing up?" Play 20 questions with your spouse over coffee or drinks! Or Chipotle! Or iHop! (Or all of that. Hey, I don't judge...)
Here are some fun questions you can ask to learn more about your spouse:
1. If you could be an expert at anything what would it be? (Besides your occupation)
2. What's something you've been struggling with lately? What can I do to help?
3. What are two things you think I am really good at?
4. Tell me something I don't know about you.
5. What is your favorite memory of us together?
6. What is the greatest strength in our marriage?
7. If you could board a plane to any country right now which would you choose and why?
8. How have you seen me change since we've been married?
9. What are your top three strengths?
10. If you were in the Hunger Games which weapon would you choose and why? (Besides a gun.)
11. If you weren't working at your current job what other occupation would you love to be in?
12. What is your biggest fear?
13. What is your proudest accomplishment?
14. Who is your favorite child? KIDDING! : P
14 For Real. What is your favorite quality in each of our children?
15. What is your favorite book?
16. What is your guilty pleasure?
17. What's a belonging of mine you'd get rid of if you could?
18. What occupation can you see each of our children growing up to do?
19. What is one thing you love most about your family?
20. Was there a moment you knew you loved me? Or was it gradual? When/Where was it?
Of course the questions aren't just limited to these! I'll link a few fun spouse Q&A's below.
Q&A #3 <---- This one is my favorite!
5. Weekly Surprise
Once a week (at least) surprise your spouse! Here are some suggestions:
1. A massage like I mentioned above
2. Take the kids out for a few hours and give your wife/husband some alone time at home to do whatever they want. Or, let them go out and do anything they want!
3. Ladies, you could take his truck to get the oil changed for him.
4. Buy your spouse's favorite candy bar or Starbucks order and write a little love note to go along with it. (Do this for his work lunch as a midday surprise!)
5. Even when it's the other spouse's turn to plan the date for the month surprise them with an extra date just because! (They won't know it's coming!)
6. Surprise them by sending the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's for one Friday night (overnight) and sleep in until you can sleep in no more! Make them breakfast in bed too! (Don't tell them until the time comes! Let him/her be surprised when the kids' grandparent walks through the door to pick them up!)
7. Buy her a Lush bath bomb (which can be found HERE), take the kids in the basement to watch a movie, and let her soak in peace. DON'T ALLOW THE KIDS TO DISTURB HER.
8. Write a love letter to him or her and tell your husband/wife all the reasons you're proud of them
9. Do their chores for them that week
10. Ask them if there is anything you can take off their plate for the day. The kids' bath time? Doing the dishes? Calling the insurance company?
It doesn't have to be anything huge. Just let them know you care!
Have you tried any of these things to spice up your marriage? Which ones are you going to try? Remember, it's the little things. You don't have to plan a trip to Costa Rica (unless you can then please do!) but just keep the spark alive. Did you notice a theme in this post? SURPRISES. Spontaneity is lost when you have kids a lot of times. But if you plan something around the kids and surprise your spouse, they feel like it's spontaneous!
Please SHARE this post with your married friends!
I hope you all have a wonderful day! And a wonderful marriage!
DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with Dave Ramsey or Every Dollar. I am just one of those psycho control freak nerds who loves to budget. : )
Some of you may know Tom and I follow Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University plan. I just wanted to share something. We thought we were doing everything by the book - literally. We thought we were following his financial plan to a T and that we were the poster children for FPU. Nope. To be completely honest and transparent we have been pretty frustrated with each other lately. I actually wrote a blog post about it HERE. The last few weeks have been difficult. (I know, I know - GASP! Someone is openly talking about their marriage problems online?!") It's better now though! And I want to tell you why (other than the reasons I gave in my Marital Mayhem blog post).
Like I said, we thought we were budgeting and planning out our money so wisely. We're Dave's "biggest fans" right? We are! But we were still in suuuuch a marital funk and couldn't figure out why. We were just frustrated with each other for *seemingly* no reason at all. Everything was fine! Or so we thought. I sent Tom a text the other day and told him I was sorry for being so snippy with him lately. He replied and said that he loved me very much but that he thought that some of the frustrations we are having were money related. I thought, "WHAT? Money related? But but but...we're FPU graduates! We don't have money frustrations!...DO we?" It turns out we did.
It turns out we were wrong. Instead of telling every dollar of our money where to go every month we just kept a rough estimate of our spending. This is just an example - Say our food budget was $5 for the month. (Again, just an example!) I'd semi-aim for spending under that amount but if I went over, oh well. What's a few dollars over budget? Well, a LOT when you're trying to save a down payment. A LOT. Then, car problems kept popping up and we just lumped that into our "groceries" category and always went WAY over the limit in that category. We just had no idea what we were doing.
We had heard Dave keep talking about his new budget tool called Every Dollar on his show but we never tried it because we thought we were doing great! Well, amidst our frustrations with each other we decided to do a REAL budget with Every Dollar. To be honest, beforehand I thought, "Great. Now I'm going to be so much more limited in what I can spend. This is going to be so restrictive!" We went through our earnings, expenses, and savings and plugged every single dollar into Every Dollar until our money ran out. And guess what?
I FEEL SO FREE.
I didn't have a clothing budget before. I just lumped it in with "groceries" but I didn't want to spend more than like $10 for myself in clothing each month because I didn't want to take away from money for other grocery necessities like toilet paper or toothpaste. But I need clothes! I'm a mom. I've had two kids and my body is constantly changing. Not many of the clothes I own fit me very well so Tom and I have been trying to get me new ones little by little. That was frustrating when I didn't really know how much I could and couldn't spend each month. But now at have a whole, specific category just for clothes! We also now have a category where we save a good amount of money each month to put toward car repairs and a separate category for car replacement just in case. I truly feel SO free knowing where every single dollar we make goes each month. We have agreed on every. single. dollar. Now where is there room for arguments? How are we going to have money frustrations? That's right - there is no room for frustration when we're on the same page about each cent. None.
Here's a fact for ya - did you know that the #1 cause of divorce in North America is money fights/money problems? Yeah. I am not sponsored in ANY way shape or form by Dave Ramsey or by Every Dollar. It just turned my marriage around though so I HAD to say how amazing I think it is. It's absolutely free and you can even download the app on your iPhone! (I hear the app for Android is in the works). If you're tired of wondering where your money went at the end of the month instead of TELLING it where to go at the beginning of the month please go to www.everydollar.com. It might help or even save your marriage. Just sayin'! Tom made chocolate chip cookies and we made our monthly budget meeting into a date after the girls went to bed. 😄 I love you, Tom! I'm so glad we're on the same page. It has lifted a heavy load from our shoulders.
I seriously urge you to TAKE CONTROL of your money. Don't let it control you. That is a recipe for disaster. I know a lot of middle aged or older people think, "Well it's too late for me/us..."
It's ABSOLUTELY NOT.
If you want to learn more about how Tom and I handle our money click HERE.
If you want to learn about how we're already preparing for retirement in our 20's click HERE.
Happy budgeting, everyone!
I don't know who Renee Swope is but I like her! Haha and I love this quote. I've had a screenshot of it sitting on my phone for the longest time and I wanted to wait until it really applied to me to post it here on the blog. I mean, of course I've always known it and felt that way but I wanted to wait until I could super extra crazy relate to it. And now I can!
Anyway, for this week's Monday Motivation post I thought I'd talk a little (or a lot) about marriage.
For the last...I don't know...few weeks? maybe 2 months? Tom and I have been in such a funk with each other. We love each other of course, and our marriage was never in danger or anything, but we were just in a funk! I'm sure if you've been married for a little while you understand what I mean. We actually went through the same kind of funk while we were engaged too. We were constantly frustrated with each other, annoyed, short with each other and everything of the sort. It really wasn't one particular thing that we could pin it on. I guess you could compare it to...say...when you play sports. Take soccer for example. You start out playing and you're pumped and motivated and full of energy! We've had many days like that in our marriage! Many! But then, later on toward the end of the game, no matter if you're winning or losing, you're tired. You want a break! (No, I'm not saying Tom and I need a break. Absolutely not!) But we needed to sit on the sidelines and regroup together. We needed a break TOGETHER.
A few days ago we finally had that break. I realized a couple of the things that were causing me to be in such bad spirits. My funk was affecting Tom and, in turn, he was...well...funky.
(Haha sorry...I couldn't resist. I love the word funky.)
We sat in bed and just hashed everything out. We worked through it all! At first I was dreading it. Couldn't we just ignore everything and go on? Couldn't we just skip this part and go on a date and pretend we aren't "funky"? Nope. We were oh so funky. We laughed, cried, talked about absolutely everything and in the end we fell asleep with happy tears running down our cheeks while we hugged each other. It was the best feeling on earth. For the first time in our 2.5 year marriage (plus 2.5 years of dating and engagement before that) we were completely transparent and open with the other about every last one of our feelings.
And you know what? For months and months and months I've been thinking to myself, "We really aren't great at communication. We really aren't. In fact, we absolutely suck. Absolutely. Suck." I told myself it would get better but I never told him that. I never communicated to Tom that I wanted our communication to get better so it never did. And you know what else? A few of my friends have recently gotten married and engaged. I've been trying to give them helpful suggestions (when they ask for them) about marriage. I keep telling them, "Communication is key! Communication is key!" because that's what everyone told us when we were engaged and newlyweds. But now, 2.5 years in and I was just talking the talk but not walking the walk.
We've learned the hard way that communication really is key. If you're feeling a certain way about your marriage or your spouse and it would be constructive to tell them about it and talk through it then PLEASE DO. It will make things so much better! We are so much happier and content in our marriage now. I couldn't be happier about our communication recently. It's a work in progress but hey, at least it's progressing!
Anyway, sorry for rambling so long! Haha this was supposed to be a quick little post but it turned into a monster. I really wanted to get my point across though.
I hope this helped you in some way! Try communicating better with your spouse and see how it changes your marriage for the better. And if you're engaged START NOW! Practice makes progress!
My name is Hannah and I'm a lucky wife to Tom, and mama bear to two sweet girls - Charlotte & Rosalie. Coffee, lipstick, sunshine, and dresses are some of my favorite things! I love to blog about God, motherhood, "wifeyhood", food, health and much more.
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