I believe health is many things including relationships. I also find it's very hard to find health is other areas of our lives if our closest relationships aren't at peace. I want to start with the disclaimer that I know that we have "only" been together for 5.5 years, and we most certainly are very lucky because there are MANY MANY situations where people wish that things were different and just some simple steps are not going to fix the deep wounds after decades of hurt. But, from my young, 4 year old marriage, I'd love to share how we fall in love more and more every year.
1. We keep Christ at our center with each other as our first priority.
I remember when I got married, my best friend Brandy said "Let's go to Boston on spring break" and I was like YESS! So we booked the flight and I told Tanner after. He was so kind about it but he was just basically like, "You didn't think twice of me. You knew I had to work and you didn't even care that I couldn't go."
I was so convicted because it was so true. I hadn't given him a second thought. Ooops. I love my friends dearly. I love my family so very much, but my husband comes first to me. We genuinely desire a true Christ like marriage. I also feel that this sounds so .... just ... cliche Christianese talk. But we discuss it frequently, and how can we make this something that actually happens and not just something that is a nice catch phrase.
2. We found common ground and became best friends.
The reason that I said "we found" and we "became" is because I would actually say this was not the case when we got married. I didn't work out at all, and he lifted weights pretty seriously but we never talked about health and fitness. We connected because we had similar backgrounds and upbringings, similar religion, political views, and we just clicked very quickly on many topics however we didn't really share any hobbies. This has evolved over the years.
While I know that a big one of ours is fitness, that's not the only one. We are dreamers. We are travelers. We are bucket listers. We love to make lists of places that we will go. We commonly say "Okay if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?" or "If you could do anything right now, what would you do job wise?" and then we try to make action plans towards those things. We love to dream, but we love to actually see some of those dreams come to fruition. It gives us such passion and zeal in life together. We get jacked up...together. It's fun.
3. We listen to one another.
I hate when he chews loud. He hates when I lose my keys. We created systems to prevent the moments of tension. I eat many times per day, and so a lot of times I just leave my plate, fork, spoon just out and dirty. The other day he said "This really actually bothers me a lot." (He is a clean guy) and I was like "Wow. I'm so sorry. I've been doing that forever." But guess what? I'm not going to do it again. It's small stuff like that that's not worth arguing over. I know you can't help if your spouse won't do the same but maybe if you start doing the things that they tell you they don't like, then they might feel more love towards you in that and start doing the things that bother you.
4. We seek counsel from healthy Christian marriages and we ACTUALLY listen to what they have to say.
If I see someone doing the marriage thing right, you better believe I'm going to ask them like that moment what makes them the way that they are. If I see an older couple holding hands, I ask how they have stayed so in love. If I see children that are just so mature at a young age, I ask how they feel they raised them differently. Many times I get answers that I don't want to hear to be honest, and think "Man, I need to change some things" and sometimes those things don't change and I have to revisit them, but I try. And he tries. I'm very lucky that I have a man that tries as well.
5. We waited/are waiting to have children.
For us personally, this was actually a big deal. When we met, we were in pharmacy school and I'm a huge focuser in things like that. I don't make adequate time for relationships. From there, we went into residency. From there, we moved to NYC and he worked evening shift and I worked day shift. We are just coming into a season of normalcy and we want to really enjoy one another during this time. We didn't "date" long and got engaged quick and we don't regret that at all, but are kinda sad we missed out on some dating phases of the relationship and so we want to take this super slow and date each other now! :)
6. We don't nag and we aren't needy
AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Seriously. I really do think I might be more nagging if I had the energy but ironman + small business owner + everything else = who cares if he did this one thing? I'd rather just move on.
He used to try to talk things out with me but he knows better now. I'm just like "if we could just wait 10 minutes, I'll probably forget this even existed" and that's basically how we handle things.
7. We make sex a priority.
Sorry, mom. Women, I know this is tough. It really is at times, and I totally get it. BELIEVE ME. But I love my husband and I know that it's a huge thing for them. It's also huge that we not just say "Uh yea sure whatever" but that we are excited. It is a huge part of how they are made, and I firmly believe that sometimes it's just not always about me and if I'm feeling it.
8. We desire a loving, compassionate marriage.
We are probably too anxious about how "bad" we do at this. We are very over analytical on our marriage with our desires to make it better, so maybe that's not good either but we are constantly talking about what we can do to make it better. We talk about how to break down the walls of getting too busy to even just hold hands or go to dinner together. We just make small efforts...small tiny daily efforts.
9. We talk through conflicting issues when we aren't in conflict and we don't talk about each other to anyone else.
Remember how I said I just like to walk away in conflict? Yea, usually that's what we do. But sometimes, Tanner will later say "I feel as if this is maybe an issue I don't want to become an elephant in the room so now that things are calm, let's talk this out" so then we do. We have a no yelling policy. I needed a policy for myself. Tanner has probably never yelled in his life except maybe during a max deadlift or something. haha!
We also have really found a common ground that we agree on for bigger issues. I know we don't have children yet so I can't speak for that. Finances for example, we put our money together and we have a $50 limit where we at least call and say "Hey do you mind if I get this?" We also had conversations before about how we wanted to handle money to make sure that we were on the same page. The same goes for other topics as well.
10. We are each other's biggest fan and cheer each other on.
He will be at every event that I do with bells on. He gets off work and changes his schedules to be there for me (except when he was like in residency and didn't have a choice). He is a pharmacist that works in an outpatient chemotherapy clinic and he is wanting to get board certified in oncology so that he can be better at his job. This requires a lot of studying at nights now, but I'm so proud that I'm like "Let me make you coffee and bring you dinner!!" We just always say that we are a team and that if one of us is doing something then we are in it together.