Our Tips for Healthy and Happy Marriages
Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope you’re feeling the love today…whether it’s from your significant other, your family, your friends, heck even your co-workers, everyone deserves a little extra love today.
In honor of the holiday, we thought it would be fun to get a little personal and discuss our marriages, specifically the things we do to maintain healthy and happy relationships. We even consulted the boys for this post, so we could share their insight with all of you. But before we get to our marriage tips, let’s recap a bit about each of our relationships…
Casey & Finn
How We Met: Finn and I are high school sweethearts. Even though we went to many of the same grade schools, we didn’t officially meet (& start dating) until he was a senior and I was a junior in high school. The picture above is from Prom 2005…we look like such babies! You can read more about our love story in this post.
Married: We got married October 11th, 2014. Here’s a look at our wedding.
Typical Date Night: A date night for us would probably start with dinner somewhere in our neighborhood. Nothing too fancy. We’d then come home, make a cocktail, and watch a movie.
Bridget & Matt
How We Met: We actually met at work in 2010, after both swearing that we would NEVER date a co-worker! We became friends first and then secretly dated for a few YEARS before telling most of our co-workers. Heck, some of our co-workers didn’t even realize we were dating until after we got engaged.
Married: We got married on December 28th, 2013. Our wedding day was a gorgeous Spring-like day in the middle of a super cold and snowy Chicago winter. You can see more pics from that day here!
Typical Date Night: A typical date night for us would probably consist of setting out to do some type of “shopping” for the house, followed by a dinner, and then home for ice cream, and a Dateline mystery. (Wow, that makes us sound old)
Now let’s be clear…neither of us are experts when it comes to relationships. Combined, the 2 of us have been married for less than a decade, so we certainly don’t have a lifetime of marriage experience under our belts. But we do work hard at our marriages and want to share what works best for us to maintain healthy & happy relationships.
Casey & Finn
Know your Love Language: When Finn & I were prepping for our wedding, we read the book The 5 Love Languages. Honestly, this was a gamechanger for us both. My love language is “Acts of Service”, which means I feel loved whenever Finn does everyday tasks for me (like take out the trash, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, etc.). Finn’s love language is “Words of Affirmation”, which means he feels love when he is encouraged, complimented, and hears positive words that lift him up.
When we learned about one another’s love languages, it truly transformed our relationship. I can run around and do things around the house for Finn until I’m blue in the face, but that isn’t how he feels love (it’s how I feel love). So instead, I do my best to listen to him, provide encouragement, and throw compliments his way as often as possible (which is pretty easy when you’re married to a hottie!).
Here’s what Finn says about the love languages.
Knowing her #1 love language is ‘Acts of Service’, I always try to do little things to make her feel special. More importantly, I make sure she never feels overwhelmed around the house and that she can expect me to do things without her having to ask me. I also know the things that really make her happy (or bother her if not done!) and I am sure to always be doing my best to never put her in a situation where she feels resentment for my actions.
I highly recommend the book if you haven’t read it already. It’s a quick read but will leave a lasting impression on your marriage.
It’s a Partnership: My favorite part about being married is knowing that I have a partner who has my back no matter what. It’s kinda like it’s us against the world…and I love having someone by my side for this crazy adventure of life. But because it’s a partnership, it’s also not always about you and it sure as hell isn’t 50/50 all the time.
Sometimes I’m going through a phase where I need more attention and support, so maybe it’s more at a 70/30. Or perhaps Finn is having a hard time, and I need to focus on him and things go to 60/40. In a marriage, it’s never 50/50. You can’t expect things to be balanced and equal all the time. Instead, you do things out of love and for the partnership as a whole, knowing that your partner will be there when you need them most.
Keep it Fun: I genuinely enjoy spending time with my husband and even after all of these years there is no one who I have more fun with! But it can be so easy to get wrapped up in the monotony and chaos of life. You chat about bills, and schedules, and work and get into a stale routine. That happens to us too.
But we do our best to break out of ruts and have fun together. Whether it’s exploring our neighborhood, doing a game night in, or simply pouring some drinks and talking about life (nooo, not work and bills…but our hopes and dreams for the future).
Communication is Key: Big life events will happen during your marriage (buying a house, deciding on children, financial setbacks, etc.) and it’s so important to have these important discussions…constantly.
Here’s Finn’s take…
Being open and honest are the most important things you can be in any type of situation, but especially when it comes to big life decisions and planning. You need to be able to express yourself, knowing you will get a fair and equal response. However, I do feel these types of discussions are made easier by constantly working at your marriage and being honest every single day. If you are in sync and working together then you already know what the other person is thinking and how they feel, which leads to a much healthier experience and outcome.
Stay on the Same Page: Every Sunday, I ask Finn about his week ahead. Will he have to work late? Does he have a basketball game one night? Did we make plans next weekend? I get all of this information, and also fill him in on what I have on tap. It sounds sooooo simple, but it’s crucial to keep us on the same page and our schedules in sync.
I’m also a google calendar fiend and always put events (birthday parties, weddings, baptisms, etc.) on both of our calendars. That way no one is ever surprised when a Saturday is booked up for a family event. I believe this constant communication prevents lots of fighting in our marriage because it shows that you respect your partner’s time.
Bridget & Matt
Spend Time Together: Matt and I are extremely lucky that our day jobs allow us to spend so much time together. We wake up together, get ready together, have breakfast together, drive to work together, drive home together, pretty much spend the rest of the day/night together and eventually go to bed together. That may be a bit “too much togetherness” for some, but we honestly wouldn’t have it any other way because we love hanging out… together!
We know things will be different when a baby is added to the mix, but we still want to make as much time as we can to be side-by-side. It forces us to constantly communicate, be on the same page, and just have FUN with one another.
Set Goals Together: Another thing that keeps us working as an effective team is sitting down to set goals together. Whether it be about buying a new house, saving a certain amount of money, planning a vacation down the road, or even establishing personal and professional goals, we love having these conversations with one another. We keep each other accountable and talking about these plans get us excited to accomplish them. Plus, chasing that goal together is half the fun for us. What can I say, we share a love for checking items off the to-do list?!
Support Each Other’s Creative Outlets: Outside of our day jobs, Matt is a public speaker who travels around the country with his business partner speaking to young adults about the importance of confidence, positivity, and becoming the best version of themselves. When I’m not working on my day job, you will find me working right here on the DIY Playbook. Each of us is extremely passionate about these “second jobs” and do whatever we can to support one another as we pursue these dreams.
And although we recognize not everyone has the same “creative outlets” that we have, we still think it’s important that spouses support and respect any hobbies that make you happy. If this creative outlet brings fulfillment, happiness, and a sense of purpose, it’s worth your time and will make you a happier person and a better spouse in the long run.
Here’s what Matt says about supporting each other’s creative outlets:
“When I am speaking at a conference or teen event, there is no greater feeling than knowing my number one fan is waiting for me at home. B is the first person I call, the first person I share the stories with, and the first person who congratulates me on every goal I accomplish. I am a firm believer that the more passion and love we show towards each other’s creative passions, the more motivated we are to achieve our own goals.
Go for a Walk!: Here’s another one that makes us sound like the old people that we secretly (or not-so-secretly) are but we both agree that taking a walk together is such a great way to stay connected. Random, right?!
We consistently find that being outside, unplugged from technology, and on-the-move yields our best conversations. These walks are nothing fancy but we do get out and walk together several times throughout the week when it’s nice out and it makes such a positive impact on our relationship! We find ourselves talking about everything and anything. And although we pride ourselves on being good communicators overall, by far our deepest, most meaningful and even most motivating chats come from these uninterrupted walks.
Here are Matt’s thoughts:
“Sometimes it takes a little convincing to get B to put her shoes on and hit the trails with me, but when she does, it is totally worth it. Not only do we feel refreshed, recharged, and energized, we always feel closer by the end. Whether it’s the fresh air, the no cell phone usage, or the awesome conversations, taking a stroll through our neighborhood brings us closer together every single time.”
Surround Yourself with Good People: Last but certainly not least, we try to surround ourselves with good, positive people. We hang out with other couples whose marriages we admire (like Casey & Finn!) and continuously learn from them. Being surrounded by other happy people helps us to stay positive and grateful.
Speaking of surrounding ourselves with happy people… we’d love to hear your best advice for a happy, healthy relationship and your own marriage tips! Let us know about you and your Valentine in the comments.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.