13 Ways I'm Going to Strengthen My Marriage This Year
A few weeks ago, Jenny + I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We've been together since high school. I couldn't even drive when we started 'going out' as they say.
I wrote a post last year called 12 for 12...Some Thoughts on a Joy Filled Marriage. Since our last anniversary, Jenny's twin brother has passed away + that kickstarted her journey to heal from complex PTSD stemming from her childhood. Jenny + I are learning new life lessons + what it takes to have a happy + fulfilling marriage + how to love one another despite life's challenges. It's not always easy, but it's worth the effort.
I thought about updating that post and adding a 13th thought, but as I started writing, I realized I'd rather set some goals to improve my marriage going forward in our 14th year of marriage...
- I vow to dance more. We used to slow dance in the kitchen all the time, but busy-ness seems to get in the way of doing things that matter. Or grumpiness. I'd rather press play on some solid tunes + dance.
- I vow to spend less time watching tv/staring at my phone. I followed this guy's tutorial to set up my phone for mindful use + I'm glad to say it's working. I'd rather stare at my wife than down at my phone, so I'm going to be conscious of my time looking at a screen. I think it'll be nice to set up some screen free days as well.
- I vow to spend more time moving + eating better. This one's for myself, my wife + my kids. When I'm active + eating better I feel better, have more patience...who am I kidding...everything is better.
- I'll say my nightly gratitudes. We've only missed one day since Jenny + I started speaking aloud to each other what we're grateful for at the end of the day. I look forward to this conversation every night.
- I vow to listen more with less fixing. This one is something I've been working on for quite some time. I have this innate desire to fix things + take pain away. But pain can be a great teacher + sometimes the lesson/healing comes in holding each other without saying a single word.
- I vow to consistently use a Together Journal. I believe the Together Journal has the power to strengthen a marriage. I also realized Jenny + I need to use ours more.
- I vow to choose happiness over being right. I have this desire to be right + win arguments. But I'd rather love Jenny well then try + win arguments. At the end of my life I'll never ever be thinking of all the arguments I won (or lost for that matter). I'll be thinking of all the times Jenny + I loved each other well.
- I vow to forgive quickly + often. Forgiveness is so hard for us. It's one of the hardest things we can do in our lifetime, but almost everything worthwhile in life is something that's hard to do. I love Jenny too much to hold grudges + make her suffer for things she doesn't mean to do. Because most of the time, we don't intentionally set out to hurt one another. We're human...we're not perfect. Imperfect people hurt those they love unintentionally from time to time. Forgiveness is key.
- I vow to go on more walks (just the two of us). Jenny recently got a fitbit + we've been taking walks in the evening lately. I enjoy this time together. Just us + some good conversation.
- I vow to laugh more. Laughter is scientifically proven to relax your body, boost your immune system, release happy chemicals + increase blood flow. All good things I want more of in my life + marriage.
- I vow to keep life simple...then simplify some more. Jenny + I are very careful about what we bring into the house + get rid of things that don't serve any purpose. We don't have the kids signed up for a ton of activities so we're not spending our time eating meals in the car + rushing from one event to another. But there's always room for improvement. I feel strongly living a simple minimalistic life frees up mental/physical clutter + allows us to be less stressed out on a daily basis.
- I vow to give more hugs. Hugs fall into the same category as laughter with so many benefits. Also, one of my top love languages is physical touch. I'm known for those long awkward hugs...but those hugs strengthen the bond between two people. You can never have enough hugs in your life.
- I vow to love my wife unconditionally. This is a given, but something I want to state publicly. Sometimes I try + fit my wife into this certain idea I have of what I expect of her...that's not unconditional love. Unconditional love is loving + accepting her for who she is...the amazingly beautiful, kind, loving, courageous woman she is.
Those are things I'm going to focus on this next year to strengthen my marriage. What are some things you're focused on this year to strengthen your relationships?