9 Pieces of Marriage Advice (you've probably never heard)

Today is our 5 years anniversary. It's been five years since I committed myself to my husband, five years since one of the most joyful days of my life, five years since we began this crazy journey together. I'm gonna get to the nitty gritty in a second (don't you worry) but first I want to tell a super funny (and quite embarrassing) story, which wasn't so funny at the time but is one of our favorites to this day.

We met freshmen year of college and saw each other maybe once a year when he was visiting LMU, where I went to school. And then senior year rolled around and he was back in town and shot me a quick text. We hung out a bit that night and this time, actually kept in touch. I think it was maybe about a week later when he came back in town to visit me (he was usually there visiting friends and I was just a side note). As he was leaving and was about to get into his car, I shouted, "Bye, love you!"



Oh my goodness, you guys. I just told this random dude that I loved him and we weren't even dating yet. Pretty embarrassing, right? I was just so used to saying, "Bye, love ya!" to my friends and family that it just sort of came out. I was NOT in love with him -- don't worry, I'm not that crazy girl.

Little did I know, he was freaking out inside too. Stage 5 clinger? Crazy girl? What had he gotten himself into? I'm sure he never planned on seeing or speaking to me again after that but I sent a super long text explaining that I wasn't crazy, I'm so sorry, how embarrassing, blah blah blah and thank goodness he understood. And now, we get to tell this story to everyone and I get to be the most embarrassing girl alive. But hey, I hope you got a good laugh out of it ;)

If you want to read the rest of our love story, click here to read it all. And now I'll get to the marriage part of all of this. I'm going to tell you my best marriage advice (that you've probably never heard) in case any of you are encouraged by it or need it in your life at this moment and I really hope it speaks to some of you.

9 Pieces of marriage advice you've probably never heard before:

1. Treat him like a child.

If you're anything like me, you're probably laughing out loud right now at this advice, but I promise I have a point. There are so many times when I've said, "I feel like you're my second kid" as I clean up his dishes and laundry all over the house. That's not what I'm talking about here, though.

Treat him like a child when it comes to winning.

You know how you let your kids win races and games when they're little and you don't care one bit that you lost? Do that. Speak your mind and tell him how you feel but understand that you may not "win" every single time. Come to your decisions together and always know that it's okay if you don't always get "your way." Because in the end if you make the final decision as one, then you actually are winning. You're winning at marriage and at life and at happiness. And that's all great stuff to win at :)

2. Never speak poorly of your spouse.

You know how when you say something over and over and over, you begin to believe it no matter how un true it is? If you're the kind of person who likes to vent to your family and vent to your friends about your spouse, stop now.

Stop right now.

The more you speak poorly of your spouse, the more you're going to believe it. And heck, the more you speak poorly about your spouse, the more your friends are going to support you in telling you how terrible your spouse is...even if it isn't true 99.9% of the time. So just keep it to yourself and never say a bad word about your spouse to anyone.

3. Brag about your spouse.

No matter how many times he pisses you off, brag about him. Tell your family all of the great things he's been doing at home, at his job or really anywhere in life. Tell people about the sweet random flowers he sent you or about how he is such a great dad. If you need the encouragement, just pretend like you're making an anniversary post on your Facebook every single time you talk about him or her. Brag and flaunt him and show him off and soon, you'll begin to realize all of the great things he is and those "bad" characteristics may not seem so big anymore.

4. Understand how "reality" works.

There have been so many times where I get a text from him that immediately make me furious. In my mind, he's being so inconsiderate or rude or totally out of line.

That is MY reality.

I shoot back a crazy mean text, not realizing that I totally read into it differently than he spit it out. Maybe he was driving and using Siri to text so he kept it super short and to the point or maybe you're having a bad day and just interpreting it more sensitively because of that.

And that is HIS reality.

Everyone has their own reality and neither is right or wrong. So understanding this and realizing that our experiences and our cultures and the people who raised us all contribute to who we are and how we view and understand the world around us.

5. Talk like you did when you were dating.

Remember when your boyfriend or girlfriend (at the time) would text you and you couldn't resist smiling? Remember every single time you'd text or talk, it would have a little hint of flirt in there? Do that. Do exactly that. Keep on flirting and keep on smiling and act as though you're just those young kids you used to be. And that will help keep the spark alive.

6. Embrace the Fights

Long story short, we wouldn't have the marriage we have today if we hadn't been through the ringer. We'd probably still have screaming matches, fights every day, love each other but not like each other and who knows where we would be. But we are strong because of our lows. It's sort of like muscles -- When you workout, you're breaking down your muscles so that more full, stronger muscles can grow into those cracks and ultimately, make you stronger. And that's exactly how marriage is too.

7. Never Keep A Secret

I'm talking any secret. Like tiny little secrets and huge ones too.

The other day I felt weird about a comment an extended family member made to me. I wasn't sure if it was super sweet or a bit creepy. I told my sister and remember saying to her, "But I'm not going to tell Frank just in case he doesn't like it." And then I made the decision to tell him that same day.

That is how trust is built.

And I'm sure he appreciated it just as I would appreciate him telling me. Telling your spouse everything shows your commitment to them, it shows that you aren't going to keep big secrets from each other and sets your marriage up for success. Trust is HUGE in marriage and that's one way to help gain and keep that trust in each other.


8. Put Your Spouse Second

Faith is first, your spouse is second, and then come your kids. Because as soon as you put your kids first, your marriage will begin to crumble. I wrote a whole blog post on putting your spouse before your kids and you can click here if you want to read it.

9. Don't even consider divorce.

It's not an option so just throw it out of your mind. I'll be honest, I've said the "D" word more times than I can count. We've been through it all and I honestly did not think we would make it to five years. But then there came a point where I had to make a decision -- Do I keep remembering all of his faults and failures? Or just focus on how we can move forward and make this thing work? And I chose to make it work and he chose to make it work, despite all of the crazy circumstances we found ourselves in.

Just know, our marriage has been far from perfect. Each of us have been far from perfect and I'm not going to go into details because some of my life I like to keep private. But just trust me when I say that if we can make it through, then I am positive you can too. Any marriage can make it, no matter the circumstances. You just have to tell yourself that divorce is not an option and it won't be.

Live in the now but talk about the future and get excited about the future. Planning for the future and being excited for what's to come ensures that there's a future there. And that's a future worth doing anything and everything for.

If you want to read about the two things that saved our marriage, click here to read it :)

16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home (wine included)

Thank you Middle Sister for sponsoring this post. Bring your favorite Middle Sister wine along to all of your celebrations this year!

The kids are in bed and it's still light out (thank you summer!) and I don't know about you, but my husband and I tend to sit on the couch at this point, scrolling through Netflix for hours on end, finally deciding on a movie to watch and then boom, I fall asleep within 5 minutes. Yeah...we typically spend far more time searching for something to watch than actually watching it.

And it's boring.

 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines

No sparks flyin' with that nightly routine. Night after night after Ava's asleep, we do that same routine over and over and over. But you know what? We could do far more with our time, have some fun, strengthen our marriage and do so many other things, even from the comfort of our home while Ava is fast asleep.

So I decided to come up with a list of all of the things parents can do from the comfort of our homes. Just because we have kids, doesn't mean we can't have some fun too ;)

Oh yeah, and did I mention that this entire list is better when paired with wine?


[you know me too well]

I'm the middle sister (well, one of two middle sisters in our family since there are four of us girls) so when I saw Middle Sister Wines, I had to try this out. I had to try every single one. They're delicious and their labels totally speak to me -- like so hilarious. [give them a read!]

They've got Middle Sister Sweet & Sassy “Magic” Moscato (temperature change label), Middle Sister Rebel Red Blend, Middle Sister Drama Queen Pinot Grigio, Middle Sister Wild One Malbec, Middle Sister Goodie Two-Shoes Pinot Noir, and Middle Sister Mischief Maker Cabernet Sauvignon. And I'm well on my way to trying them all!

And lucky you, Middle Sister Wines has got monthly giveaways (yay to free wine!) and you can click here to enter.

So click that link up there, enter to win or snag some from your local store and take a peek at my list of 16 things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home:

 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines

1. Play a board game (with wine)
2. Invite over your favorite couple (and enjoy some wine together)
3. Just sit and chat (with wine) and leave the electronics aside for a while.
4. Plant a garden (do I need to continue mentioning wine or do you get the point by now?)
5. play a lawn game
6. Paint a room in your home
7. Picnic with wine and cheese in the backyard or in your living room
8. Do a puzzle
9. Read a book together
10. Choose all of your favorite photos and put together a photo album together.
11. Workout (yes, you can do this from the comfort of your home)
12. Make s'mores (fire pit or just in the microwave)
13. Re-decorate a room (choose everything together online and order for delivery or pick it all up the next day!)
14. Cook Together (sushi, sundaes, baking, etc)
15. Take a bubble bath
16. Learn a new language together

I know that turning on the TV is the easiest thing to do but let's make life fun and exciting and strengthen our marriages while we're at it. And don't forget your Middle Sister wine ;)

Click here to find Middle Sister Wine in a store near you!

Ten years ago, founder Terry Wheatley was fascinated by her best friend's middle daughter -- her free-spirit and outrageous personality that was larger than life -- and from that, Middle Sister Wines was born. Middle Sisters were now getting the attention they deserved. Standing by their product and the "crazy" stick figure wine label, they pushed through criticism and this delicious wine is now a national success, with now millions of passionate fans.

 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines
 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines

Middle Sister Wines' vibrant community, both online and at home, is full of "drops of wisdom" messages printed on their labels, laughter, and of course, delicious wine that supports causes, including the Sonoma Valley Wine Business Executive MBA scholarship for women in the wine industry, Angels Share and Heart of the Vine.

 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines
 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines

Celebrating 10 years of Middle Sister Wines this year, they're hosting giveaways every single month! Be sure to enter to win by clicking here and don't forget to bring your favorite Middle Sister along with you for every occasion and celebration -- date nights, BBQ's, birthdays and girl's nights. Middle Sister Wines are available in stores across the US and online.

The Middle Sister is never one to miss a great party ;)

 16 Things to do with your spouse from the comfort of your home  - Middle Sister Wines

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

6 Day Mom + Wife Devotional Series | It's not a contest.

Topic: Be the First to Make the Move

Challenge of the Day:
Make the move today.
Do something that your spouse wants from you and needs from you,
whether or not he/she has done anything for you. Apologize first if you've gotten into an argument, compliment him/her before he/she compliments you.
Be the first to make that move. Be the bigger person.

Quote of the Day:
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." -- Proverbs 22:6

-----               -----               -----

Just like motherhood isn't a contest, marriage isn't a contest either. Just like you shouldn't compare yourself to other moms (especially what you see on social media), you shouldn't compare yourself to your spouse. You shouldn't compare the hard work you've put in vs the hard work your spouse has, the number of dishes you have washed vs what he has washed or the number of "things" you've done for him vs the number of "things" he's done for you.

I believe that this is where marriages begin to spiral out of control.

 Marriage Devotional - Mom Devotional - Lead by Example -- Mommy Blog - The Overwhelmed Mommy

Just think about this scenario:

What if you were only to provide for your kids when they were nice to you, didn't complain, were polite all day long, did their chores without asking, etc. etc. etc. What if you only drove them to school and sports and fed them when they did all of the things you wanted them to do for you? Would that ever happen? Nope, that just wouldn't fly.

That isn't parenting at all.

 Marriage Devotional - Mom Devotional - Lead by Example -- Mommy Blog - The Overwhelmed Mommy

You ever heard the phrase, "Lead by example"?  Yes, yes you have. When our kids scream, we talk in a calmer tone in hopes that they mimic that. When our kids do the opposite of what they're told, we continue cooking them dinner and hugging them and kissing them and loving them so they can begin to learn grace and love and forgiveness but in marriage, it seems that all of those rules sometimes fly out the window.

When we were first married, we agreed that I would be in charge of the "household stuff." I'd be the one to do the cleaning, the cooking and I'd handle the bills and those were all things I was happy to do. In fact, it made my heart incredibly happy that I was able to provide these things in our marriage. I worked from home, my schedule was super flexible and his wasn't and I was happy to provide those things as his wife.

Then my blogs started to take off, we had a baby and life got a bit more busy, to say the least.

And I felt like I was doing far more than he was. Yes, that is what we had agreed upon together and yes, we didn't ever have a talk about changing those rules but in my mind, he should've realized that I needed more help. And because I was stressed and annoyed and pretty angry at him some days (or most days), I felt that I shouldn't provide him with the things he wanted from me, because he wasn't providing me with the things I wanted from him.

And you'd never guess what he was thinking [ <--- sarcasm]

He was thinking, "Jenn isn't providing me with the things I need and want so I'm not going to provide her with the things she wants or needs." It was an endless cycle. It kept going around and around and around and we got more resentful of each other and annoyed with each other and soon enough, it was up to one of us to break the cycle.

To make a long story short:

Make the Move.

Be the spouse who does something for the other, even when they aren't doing what you want and need from them. This is exactly what you do for your kids -- you lead by example. And I will bet you, the more you do for your spouse, the more they will want to do for you.

Be the first to make that move.

Now scroll on up to the top for today's challenge of the day!

Head up to the top of this post to check out today's challenge and quote of the day and
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