The Secret To A Successful Marriage

the_secret_to_our_successful_marriage_23

Let me preface this by saying that my husband and I are not perfect by any definition. Like every other couple on the planet, we disagree, get on each others nerves...maybe I've even fantasized about an escape plan that involves Idris Elba. Maybe! However,  despite the many challenges we've faced over our 11 years of being together, we've somehow managed to not kill each other, which in my book, equals success. All jokes aside, we love each other and celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary over the weekend. In reflecting on this, I can pinpoint a game changer in our marriage that turned things around during one of our roughest patch - The 5 Love Languages. Have you heard of it?

the_secret_to_our_successful_marriage_2
the_secret_to_our_successful_marriage_2

Although we love one another - deeply - there was a period of our relationship where things just didn't seem to be clicking. We were on two different pages...hell, in two completely different books. Growing pains are a normal but very frustrating aspect of marriage. However, in discovering this concept, we were able to do the work to remedy the problem. The fact of the matter is that we show love in different ways, thus expecting to receive in the way that we give it. For example, there was time when I felt very disconnected from Kenny during my time as a stay at home mom. He worked 15 hours days, 6 days a week to support us, and while I knew that he was doing it for our family - and I appreciated it - I felt like something was missing. On his days off, he was understandably very tired, so we barely spent time together. He would always text and call me throughout the day to tell me he loved me, but even so, things felt off. I felt guilty for feeling this way knowing that a man with a strong work ethic is a great thing, but the fact of the matter is that QUALITY TIME is my biggest love language.

The Secret To Our Successful Marriage (1)
The Secret To Our Successful Marriage (1)

Because or marriage is so important, we have made major changes in our lives to ensure that he doesn't have to work as hard, thus giving us more time to spend together. We both sacrificed something to make this happen, however, we are back on track and that's what's important. Our marriage is that big of a priority to us and we don't regret the changes we've made.

I am the happiest wife when we spend quality time together, as a family and of course when it's just the two of us. Lately our thing has been going for milkshakes in the evening when I get home from work. While the drive back and forth is just a small fraction of the day, it's just the two of us catching up on each others day and checking in one another which is hard to do at home when all the attention is on parenting. It's a simple thing and terrible on my waist line, but everyday as I clock out, I look forward to our bit of alone time to be silly and have good uninterrupted conversation. We've also been making it a point to make date nights a top priority and get away for a night or two every few months or so. This keeps things fresh and helps us to continue to find new ways to bond while still growing as individuals. Oftentimes, couples grow apart because they're not spending enough quality time together and end up having separate lives within their relationship. We're always going to evolve which is why it's so important to continue to get to know each other, no matter how long you've been together.

According to The 5 Love Languages, "distractions, postponed dates or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful..quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities". Totally makes sense for me!

ACTS OF SERVICE is second most important to me. When Grey was a newborn and I would be awake for days at a time, there was one night when I got up to feed him as I did every two hours like clockwork. However, despite his 15 hour work day, Kenny knew that I was exhausted and instructed me to go back to bed while he fed the baby instead. In my zombie and hormonal state, I was so happy that I cried because I was so grateful...It's the simplest acts of service are the biggest thing. For me, I like to feel like a priority and when my husband does something thoughtful, it makes me feel special.

RELATED: "MY FIRST TIME" WITH MY HUSBAND 

For my husband, PHYSICAL TOUCH and WORDS OF AFFIRMATION are his two biggest love languages. As you can see, the rank of our love languages are different which can cause friction when we're not paying attention. For example, there was a time in our marriage when my husband did not feel appreciated although I thought I was doing a job of showing him that I did through my actions. However, because I would never say the actual words, "I appreciate you", he never felt it. This was a hard concept for me to wrap my brain around, but because Words Of Affirmation are important to him I had to start making the conscious decision to praise him and express my feelings of gratitude out load. Assuming that he just knew I appreciated him and loved it wasn't enough - I had to say it, and mean it of course. Physical Touch is also very high on his love language, my husband is a very affectionate guy. As you can see with my rank, it's not as high on the priority list for me - still important - but not as important as it is to him.

I share all this to say that while we love each other, we have different ways of expressing our love and different concepts of how we want to be loved. It may the same for you and your spouse as well. Perhaps this is something that you can your partner can incorporate into your relationship to better understand each other. I know for us, whenever we get off track, it's because we have strayed away from these core values and aren't making each others love languages a priority. Truth be told, The 5 Love Languages is our secret sauce! Instead of blaming the other person, this concept helps us to look at ourselves and determine what we need to provide to the other person. It's certainly important to let your partner know what your needs are, but you also have to fulfills theirs as well - it goes both ways.

RELATED: OUR WEDDING CEREMONY

I shared some thoughts on my instagram about marriage last year and I continue to stand behind this statement:

I can best describe marriage as a plant. It needs to tend to daily and when it is not, it will slowly wither until it's no more. Sure you may not notice it at first, but without fail it will die if it's not catered to as necessary. Marriage is not the wedding. The size of your ring nor details you obsess over for the perfect wedding will determine the quality of your marriage. Marriage is not is not a glamorous show portrayed in media but daily work that requires constant communication, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness and a lack of ego (on both sides). It's knowing that during your worst moments, this person you've committed a lifetime to will be there without a shadow of a doubt. It's knowing that you'll be sometimes your marriage will be on the peak and knowing to not walk away when it's in the valley. Like a plant you will grow - in some seasons of your life you will inevitably grow apart but, you will must always remember that your foundation (marriage) requires you to always come back together.

There are MANY factors that go into a successful marriage, this is just one thing that helps us. Whenever we start to feel a shift in our marriage, remembering one another love languages helps us to center ourselves. If you choose to research this concept and apply it to your marriage, I hope that it is just as impactful for you as it has been for millions of others, including my husband and I.

Do You Want To Figure Out What Your Love Language Is?

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE QUIZ TO FIND OUT

I Strongly Encourage You To Have Your Partner or Spouse Take One As Well.

Have You Ever Heard Of The 5 Love Languages? I'd Love For You To Share Your Rank Below In The Comments Section.

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