Photo taken by my husband on our Anniversary - Mt. Victoria, Wellington, NZ
A week ago my husband and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, which was a huge milestone!
When we got married, I was 19 and my husband was 20. We were still studying and figuring out our lives, and in the past four years there has been an incredible amount of change and growth.
We're both still figuring out who we are and where we want to be, but I love knowing that we are in this together, for better or worse.
I am by no means an expert in marriage or relationships, but through trial and error and a bit of common sense, I have picked up on a few habits that are pretty good when it comes to spending your life with someone.
1. Say Thank You
Say thank you for everything. Thank your spouse for things that they do, regardless of how simple or small an act is, regardless of whether they "should" be doing it anyway. When you show gratitude to someone you are expressing your appreciation for them, and when someone feels appreciated then they are more willing to keep doing those nice things!
2. Know Your (and Your Spouse's) Love Language
People can receive love in different ways: the five primary love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. You might be showing your love to your spouse verbally (saying 'I love you', praising them, and other kind words), but if that's not a primary language for them then those messages may slip through the cracks.
When you know your spouse's love language then you can actively express your love to them in that manner - which means they are recognising your love for them on an emotional level.
There's an online quiz where you can discover your own primary love language - do it!
3. Take Time Out
Sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it. Not every disagreement or tense moment in a relationship needs to be talked about or analysed. Sometimes it's just been a bad day, and it doesn't mean anything. In times like this I find it's really beneficial to give myself a time out. Not to the naughty corner or anything (ha!), but just to spend 10 minutes in a quiet place, reading or doing another relaxing activity. I find that giving myself that break allows me to look more clearly at the situation. Nine times out of ten after that time out my husband and I come back together, smile at each other, and move on. Because sometimes, it's just not worth it!
4. Be Present
This life goes so quickly, and things can change in an instant. At the end of the day we aren't going to wish we spent more time on the internet or watching TV, we're going to wish we had spent more time with our loved ones. When you're spending time with your spouse, don't multitask. Be present in the moment with them - look them in the eyes, listen, and smile at them. Being truly present with someone enhances your emotional connection. Don't underestimate those little moments!
So there you go - my four tips after four years of marriage. Do you have any advice that's worked for you? Share in the comments below, I'd love to hear!
Note: My husband is a very private person and to respect his wishes I won't be posting any photos of him that show his face on this blog, or mentioning him by his name. This does mean that you guys will miss out on seeing some very cute wedding photos, but oh well. I may have to come up with a nickname for him at some point, because repeatedly saying "my husband" can get a bit wordy. We shall see!