Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of May- Blog 5: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

With it being wedding season, I thought a blog about marriage advice would be appropriate.

Final Thoughts: Do not take marriage lightly.  It is a lot of work!

Have discussions around these points before you get married:
  • Explain your thoughts on religion (remember that you may think this is private but try adding in children and extended families… have you considered holiday traditions)?
  • What is important to you right now?
  • When you envision the future, what does it look like (who is in it, where does it take place, how does it happen)?  Now, all those things you imagine may not happen but what are your non-negotiables (meaning what must you keep and what can you let go to align your dreams)? 
  • What are your goals and how do you plan to achieve them?  How do you want me to help you get there?
  • Here are my goals… how will you support my dreams?
  • This is how I envision our future family to look… how does this fit with how many children you want?  What if one of them has special needs?  What if we can’t have children?
  • How can we make our extended families be a part of our lives?
And then ask yourself:

  • Are you willing to sacrifice your wants and needs to fulfill someone else’s dreams???  Do you love someone that much???

  • What are the things that bother me about my significant other?  And realize that marriage will not make those things go away.  Can you live with those vices?

And when you get married, here is my advice…

1.     You and your partner come first.  Not your parents, not your children, not your friends, you as a couple are foremost in all of your decisions. 
3.     Take time to grow as a couple.  If that means the two of you moving far away and becoming independent, go.  But come back when you have children.  That saying “it takes a village” is true!
4.     After an argument, realize it’s ok to go to bed angry.  Sometimes, you need the time and space to think, reflect, and readdress the issues the next morning.
5.     Make a realistic budget and stick to it.  Plan out your meals weekly.
6.     Cook together (or sit and keep the chef company).
7.     Have dinner as a family, sitting down, without the tv on.
8.     Vacation together, just the two of you at least once a year (meaning leave your children with grandparents and get out of your house for an overnight trip).
9.     Vacation as a family at least once a year (preferably to Disney).
10. Take a date night at least once a month.
11. Go on a girls’ night at least once a month and encourage your spouse to have a guys’ night.
12. Be social.  Have friends and family over for dinner, drinks, barbeques, play dates, sporting events, or just because.
13. Create a welcoming, happy, and warm home.
14. Have at least one hobby that has nothing to do with your significant other or your children.
15. When you feel angry or resentful, speak up.
16. Spend time outside with one another.
17. Support each other.
18. Be honest.
19. Pray together.
20. Hold hands.
21. Say, “I love you” multiple times a day.
22. Affectionately touch each other at least once a day.
23. Compliment each other genuinely on at least one thing everyday.
24. Say, “I’m sorry,” when you mess up and “I forgive you” when your spouse makes a mistake.
25. Use “I” statements instead of blaming each other, “I feel _____ when you ______.”
26. Be patient with your spouse.
27. Uplift your spouse on bad days.
28. Take care of and respect yourself.
29. Have fun!
30. Acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays in a BIG way- never underestimate hand-written cards, scavenger hunts and heartfelt gifts.  Save a few of them- they will tell your love story to future generations.

Remember that no partner will be perfect, including you. Realize that love changes.  That initial passion will fade but it will be replaced with a feeling so much deeper.  The time, energy, and work you put into your relationship will mean more.  Once you make the promise of a union, don’t take it lightly and don’t walk away from it without giving it your all.  Don’t ever take your spouse for granted.  Marriage is a fulltime job.    
Love you Ellie!

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