5 Check-ups for Your Marriage

Check-ups are important!

In honor of my recent 5 year anniversary, I am writing a series of posts on marriage. If you missed the last one, you can find it here. We’re going to call it a “check-up” because its healthy to have those frequently. Also, my son has his 12 month check-up later today, so that is what is on my mind! So here are 5 check-ups for your marriage!



1. Do you have marriage “models”?

Modeling is how we learn a great portion of our skills as people. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is super important to have role models for your marriage. My personal top marriage models are my parents, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law. What is so impressive about their marriages? They’ve successfully raised children, kept their marriages strong through countless trials, have healthy communication, and so many other awesome things! If you don’t yet have any marriage models, some other things to look for are positive conflict resolution, the ability to rely on each other, and their positive marital satisfaction. If your parents aren’t helpful marriage models, don’t worry, anyone that you admire who has a healthy marriage can fill this role.

Hint: Do NOT look to television for your marriage models. Except maybe Fixer Upper because lets be real, Chip and Joanna are adorable. Contention and drama may sell and boost television ratings, but they don’t do anything positive for your marriage.


2. Do you consistently put your needs ahead of your spouses?

Not to say your needs shouldn’t be met, but if your needs always come first, turn the tables in your mind. And here’s another question: how would you feel if your spouse treated you the way you treat them? If you aren’t comfortable with this visualization, then you have some work to do! It’s simply not acceptable or sustainable if one person always gets their needs met or always gets their way. This leaves one individual with never getting their way, and never getting what they need, and you shouldn’t want that for the person you love more than anyone else in the world.


3. Does teasing go too far?

Teasing each other is fine, and can be a fun way to bond as long as everyone is comfortable and not feeling hurt. Make sure you are on the same page, and that you are both aware that it is all in fun. You need to let your spouse know if you aren’t having fun, and if it has gone too far. Teasing is NOT the appropriate time to air your grievances. It’s never acceptable to be passive aggressive, and it is definitely never ok be passive aggressive towards your spouse. We all have our trigger points and things we are not comfortable with being teased about. If you know what is off-limits or a trigger point for you, let your spouse know. Or you can learn them the hard way, like most couples do. 😉


4. Do you spend way more time with your family/friends than theirs?

I am aware that this is a super sensitive topic. Out of the 5 check-ups for your marriage that we are covering today, this is the one that is one of the more difficult ones for couples to work out. When both families live near a couple, it can be tricky to balance time with both. However, it is incredibly important to do your best to balance time with both while still getting enough alone time as well. Turn the tables again, if you were spending the same amount of time with your family as you currently do with your spouses family, would that be enough?

Are holidays equally shared between families? My parents have a really good system down with spending holidays with their families. Everyone is happy, and I am super impressed! For us, we have the unique challenge of having my family live far away, along with my husband’s inconsistent work schedule (Let’s give a shout out to nurses, they are amazing!) It makes it difficult to visit for Christmas, and often our Christmas visits are simply in the vicinity of the holiday, and not on the actual day. But you better believe that we make it work, and my husband does all he can to make sure that we see them at least a few times each year. They are his family too, and he loves them as much as I do!

When you get married, their family becomes yours. You get TWO families to love and cherish! To me that is super special, and I love the family I married into. As far as friends go…do your best to choose friends that you both like, and that you can spend time with together. It can be hard to find married friends that both of you enjoy spending time with, (Especially if you are opposites like my husband and myself!) but be patient, and you will find some! Good choices if you don’t have some already are neighbors, friends from church, and maybe even friends from work! While you complete these check-ups for your marriage, know that finding friends you can spend time with together can be very enriching for your marriage.


5. Do you allow outside influences to have a negative impact on your marriage?

Whether it be family, friends, or your job, do you allow anyone outside you and your spouse to dictate your marriage? Not to say you can’t ask others for guidance, or seek counseling if necessary, (because you totally should!) but make sure you and your spouse are running the show. It’s your marriage after all.

As you complete these check-ups for your marriage, think about those closest to you. Is there anyone in your life who isn’t rooting for your marriage? Even if they don’t come out and say it, do their actions indicate that they aren’t on your team? You need to do some soul searching to see if they should remain in your life. Life is difficult enough with out inviting someone into your inner circle to sabotage your marriage. You deserve better.

What check-ups for your marriage do you think are important? Let me know in the comments below!

100% Isn’t Enough for Your Marriage

I’ve been thinking…

There is something that has been on my mind. Not just a little, but darn near constant. My 5 year anniversary is in just 2 short days, and it has me thinking a lot about the past 5 years. Overall they have been absolutely phenomenal, but we’ve had our share of trials we’ve worked through together. This is the first of a few posts that I am going to write on marriage and what I have learned in the past 5 years. (The below photo credit goes to Wendy Mayo Photographer).

As part of my undergraduate degree, I was required to take a class called family foundations. One day in class, we were taught that for a marriage to succeed, husband and wife need to each contribute 100%, not 50%. That way, when (when, not if) one of them was unable to contribute their 50%, the marriage would still be able to stay afloat, and the total would still equal out to more than 100%. And this applies to emotional effort put forth to the relationship, house work, care of children, etc.

My naive young brain dismissed this as not making any sense. I couldn’t figure out why the heck each person wouldn’t be contributing their full effort (Except for maybe in severe cases of poor health). I knew I wasn’t going to be that lazy, and I decided I wouldn’t marry someone lazy so it wouldn’t matter.

Time passed, and I learned…

Fast forward to now. It turns out I didn’t know everything at 19 years old when I took that class. (Go figure!) Laziness has nothing to do with the 100%-100% rule. Life simply happens! You can’t always contribute your full effort, and you have to lean on your spouse. And they will need to lean on you!

While I was working on my masters degree, between my job, internship, and classes I contributed significantly less than my “fair share”. My husband did what I couldn’t (without complaint). On days that my husband works his 12 hour shifts, he is emotionally and physically exhausted when he walks through the door of our home, and I do what he can’t. When I was depressed, my husband contributed more as well. And now that Jeff will be starting school in the fall, our respective duties will need to shift again. We take turns being what the other person can’t be. I am priveleged to be able to take care of my husband when he needs it, and blessed to have him to do the same for me. Marriage is amazing.

And then on days where both of us are feeling fantastic we are both contributing our 100%. On these days, our relationship gets an extra boost. This definitely doesn’t hurt. It saves some extra goodness for when we need it. Those awesome bonus point days make up for when neither of us have anything left to give, where we hold a barely coherent conversation and stumble into bed after somehow convincing the baby to sleep. I would be lying if I told you that we have this system down perfect, but we are getting better.

Marriage in general isn’t perfect. My marriage definitely isn’t perfect. No one’s is! But I love striving for perfection and growing as a person with my amazing husband by my side. Thank you for 5 years, and I can hardly believe that I am lucky enough to get to spend time and all eternity with you.

The First Year of Marriage is Far From the Hardest

This week’s post was inspired by a misconception that has been floating around. I keep seeing posts on social media from friends celebrating their first year of marriage, and writing something along the lines of “I can’t believe that the first year is the hardest, because it’s been amazing!” or “It’s true what they say, the first year is the hardest!” (The credit for the photo below goes to the fantastic Wendy Mayo photographer).

I hate to break it to you, especially to any newly weds who recently surpassed the year mark (congrats!) but the first year is far from the hardest. It is definitely a period of adjustment, but this is nothing compared what comes later. I am not writing this to make any of the people who wrote that feel bad. I know that I wrote something similar when we celebrated our first anniversary. It is just something that people say, and I believed it back then.

My husband and I are coming up on 5 years of marriage, and I’m not pretending to be an expert in the area of anything other than what I have experienced. Heck, in 5 more years I will probably look back on this article and think about how much I didn’t know when I wrote this.

For your first year of marriage, you are getting used to each other. You are getting used to their quirks, and little habits. And you are absolutely still in the honey moon stage. Everything that they do is adorable. For us personally in that first year, we had a few minor disagreements, but nothing that I would classify as a fight. I thought people who thought marriage was hard had simply picked the wrong person, or were just difficult people.

Fast forward to a few years in. You are much more comfortable with each other. Which is very positive, don’t get me wrong. However, there is something about marriage that gives you the ability to annoy and aggravate your spouse unlike anyone else. You love them more than anyone or anything, but you are comfortable and you are not always putting your best foot forward. You know they love you, and you feel secure. Sometimes we treat the people who we love the most the absolute worst. Which is heart breaking but true. Adding a baby to the mix makes it much more complicated as well.

I’m not trying to scare anyone away from marriage. There is no question that if you put in the time and devotion, you will receive more than you can even imagine in return (With the exception of a few very limited set of circumstances such as abuse, but that is not my area of experience, so we will not cover that in this article). For us, there have been far more good times than bad. There is nothing we have overcome that I would classify as more than a minor bump in the road. Especially when I compare it to the love that we share, and the amazing times we have had together.

I love my husband exponentially more than I loved him when I accepted his proposal, and when I knelt across the altar from him in the temple and we were sealed together for time and all eternity. I absolutely loved him then, but I am struggling to find the words to describe how much I love him now. Even as a giant word nerd, I can’t find the words. They simply don’t exist. I can’t even fathom how much I will love him 5 years, 10 years, or 50 years from now.

The fact is that falling in love is easy. Love happens every day. The beginning of love is easy. True love, two people that aren’t willing to give up on each other no matter what is incredibly rare. Two people that take care of each other, lean on each other, and who would do anything for each other isn’t something you find every day. Marriage requires work. But if you are willing to put in the work, you can’t even begin to imagine how amazing it can be.


Are you new here?

Take a look around, and check out the advice column here. Thanks for stopping by!