Gavin and I got married when I was 19 and he was 22. The month after I graduated high school I met Gavin at church. We sat by each other in Sunday school class and he instantly fell in love. I mean, how could he not?! ;)
We dated for less than a year before we were engaged. We were engaged for 6 weeks and bam, I was a married teenager. It didn't seem so crazy at the time! Haha.
We have been through so much in our decade of marriage, and I wouldn't take back a second of it. Everything, good and bad, that we have been through really shaped us into who were are today.
Together we have been through 10 years of marriage, 9 jobs, 8 cars, 7 years as parents, 6 moves, 5 hospital stays, 4 cities, 3 kids, 2 countries visited, and 1 homebirth! We have struggled with losing jobs, death in the family, child mutinies and of course numerous other struggles too personal to share ;) Below I have listed some of the tips we have used to help us maintain a happy and healthy marriage.
Chessa's Tips for Marriage
1) Weekly planning meetings with each other (like a business meeting about your family). We have these every Sunday afternoon. We pray and then discuss our lives, goals, plans for the week and things we could work on. This has been the best thing for us!!
2) "The biggest waste of effort in a marriage is trying to change your spouse, since problems you have with your spouse are generally problems you have with yourself."
3) Take accountability for the part you play in your marriage. Sometimes we just want to blame the other person for what they have done and how they have made you resentful, guarded, bitter, etc. We are the ones who choose to act that way, and we can change that!
4) Find out your spouse's "Love Language" according to the book "The 5 Love Languages" and give love in the way that your spouse FEELS love. Gavin doesn't fully appreciate the 86 times a day I TELL him I love him because it's not HIS love language. So I am working on giving love the way he receives love.
5) Always speak about your spouse in the highest regard. This includes talking to your parents about your spouse. You can forgive your spouse but your parents and others may not.
6) Apologizing ASAP. Lucky for me, Gavin always apologizes immediately after a disagreement. Even if it's obvious who was in the wrong. ;)
7) Audit how you treat your spouse and all your interactions with them. Do you usually seem condescending, grumpy or in a bad mood when you are around your spouse? Or are you sympathetic, up beat, kind and happy?
8) See your spouse as if they have already reached their full potential. See them and treat them like the compassionate, successful, loving, and spiritual human/parent that they will be. We are all on a journey and we need each others support to be the incredible humans we were all meant to be.
9) Self care! Take care of yourself, always. Take care of your fitness, diet, mental health, passions and career. Surround yourself with healthy and positive friendships and co-workers. If you are in a good place, your marriage will most likely be in a good place. This is especially important when, or if, your spouse is struggling. You'll be in a better place to help and support them.
10) Go see a marriage counselor if that is what you guys need. After a few visits, evaluate the counselor and see if he/she is a great at their job and if it is a good fit for you both. Also, a little energy work goes a long way.
1) Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
2) Pray for your spouse daily!
3) A bunch of inappropriate stuff I can't write on the internet.
I would love to know what do you do to keep your marriage strong?!