Marriage has quite the reputation around it, don’t you think? Some see it as a drag, while others spend their entire lives with a cutout photo of their head glued to a wedding dress clip out on the very top of their dream boards.
But what happens when the wedding bells have chimed and the Pinterest worthy “I Do’s” have passed? We are told so many great things about what marriage is and what it means, but with that, comes a lot of terrible advice and straight up myths that leave many couples in a position of stress and distress in their nuptials.
My hope is that by tackling some of these myths, we can all move towards fuller, healthier marriages.
So here is my list of thirteen myths about marriage:
ONCE YOU’RE MARRIED, SEX GOES OUT THE WINDOW
This one, I swear. Sometimes I want to write very strongly worded letters to the people who think it’s hilarious to write this myth into movies, television shows, talk-show-host-jokes, etc.
There is no written rule, clause, or even guideline that states marriage is some sex-sucking vortex that will undoubtedly deny you of physical pleasure. Unfortunately, so many people subconsciously believe this, so the minute there is a hiccup in their sex life they assume their marriage is just naturally progressing to a state of no sex (as expected) and don’t bother to challenge that.
CHILDREN SHOULD COME BEFORE YOUR SPOUSE.
Grab your torch and pitchforks, because I’m about to bust this one wide open and I know there are plenty of people who won’t like it. A few years ago I wrote about how I believe your spouse should come first and I stand by it.
Your marriage is a foundation for your children. It will teach them about romantic love and guide them to their own spouse one day. And at the end of the day, it’s going to be you and your main squeeze living out your days together while your children are grown living their own dreams. So it is absolutely vital that you continue to nurture that relationship and make it a priority in your life.
MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK.
Look, marriage isn’t always easy, but it is also not hard work. This is a dangerous phrase because it implies that your relationship is a job, rather than a connection with another human being. You don’t punch in and out of your marriage, get holidays off, or have reports due by Monday—why then, do so many people refer to it in terms of an occupation?
Our language matters, so pay attention to the way you speak about your marriage as well as the other relationships in your life (parenting, for example). Just like with all connections we share with other people—be it our parents, our friends, our spouse, etc.—you are bound to run into roadblocks. Nobody’s personality meshes with anothers 100% of the time. You can work hard at communicating and overcoming obstacles in your marriage, but that doesn’t make the marriage itself, hard work.
IF YOUR PARTNER REALLY LOVES YOU, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO TELL THEM WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG BECAUSE THEY SHOULD ALREADY KNOW.
Expecting your spouse to be able to read your mind is like going to a foreign country and expecting them to be fluent in your language.
We, women, like to believe that we are all straight up psychic when it comes to our relationships with others. And honestly, there is some merit to that. Women, in general, tend to be more in tune with other people’s emotions and mannerisms, as well as more empathetic. But to expect your spouse, or anyone for that matter, to be able to decipher what your shoulder shrug means is not only unrealistic but also super unhealthy for your relationship.
EVERYTHING SHOULD BE 50/50
While it is true that there should be a healthy balance in your relationship, this does not mean that every task should be distributed evenly. You need to be willing to play off of one another’s skills and availability in order to find a groove that works right for you, rather than keeping mental tabs of who takes out the trash the most or does the dishes every night. If your spouse leaves at 5 am every morning and you don’t get up until 8 am, it makes sense for them to be the one to take out the trash bins every week. Likewise, if you stay at home and your partner works, it makes sense for you to contribute more to household chores than they do.
Highlight each other’s strengths and respect one another’s time rather than focusing on the areas your partner lacks in. My husband hates doing the dishes and I hate sweeping, so he rarely touches a dish and I rarely touch a broom. Things are not always going to come out 50/50, but you shouldn’t be keeping score anyway.
CHILDREN WILL BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER.
It’s a sweet picture: You and your spouse become parents to a perfect little angel baby and you spend your evenings giving that little ball of squish calming lavender baths. Then the three of you cuddle up in bed and read bedtime stories until sweet squishy gently melts away to dreamland. Then you look into your partner’s eyes and think, “how perfect our life is!”
Don’t get me wrong, moments like these do happen, but they are mixed in with a mess of other moments that are guaranteed to rock your foundation if it isn’t solid. Exhaustion, late night feedings, excessive tears, limited mobility, diaper changes, I-don’t-know-what-the-heck-I’m-doing-moments, and everything in between often make for two adults who barely spend any one-on-one time together anymore.
Children will challenge you in incredible ways, but they will also challenge your marriage as you learn to navigate life as a wife and a mother.
YOUR HAPPINESS LIES WITHIN EACH OTHER.
“You make me feel like I’m talking to myself!
“You made me really upset when you said that.”
“I’d be happier if you would just…”
Too often we believe that our happiness is deeply rooted in other people’s words and actions. But in truth, you and only you are responsible for your happiness. Expecting your spouse to control your emotional wellbeing would be like asking them to swallow and digest your food for you.
If you place your happiness in someone else’s hands, you will be disappointed every single time. Not because they don’t love and care about you, but because they are a separate human being from you and they already have a full-time job being in charge of someone else’s happiness—their own.
LOVE CAN CHANGE A PERSON.
People do change. I myself have completely transformed from the timid woman I once was. But here is the kicker, and it’s a big one: People do not change unless they want to. At least not long term.
It’s easy to convince someone for a week or two to improve their habits to meet your needs. And because they love you, often times they will make the attempt. But at the end of the day, unless they see it as a problem themselves, nothing will change and you will both end up in a vicious cycle where both parties feel like they aren’t worthy. You feel like your spouse should love you enough to change, and your spouse feels like you should love them enough to accept them the way they are.
ROMANCE SHOULD COME NATURALLY.
If I had a dollar for every relationship that was ruined by the expectation that romance should come naturally, I would be one rich bitch. I get it, I do. John Cusack’s boombox serenade makes romance seem effortless. But if you’ve ever carried a boombox, you know that those things are not light, effortless, or easily portable. Homeboy put some serious thought and planning into that ish and that’s because romance isn’t always as simple as pressing an on/off switch.
We all speak different love languages, which means that what might be romantic to you, may not be at all to your spouse. So make sure you get clear on what romance is first, and then remember to have grace for your partner (and for yourself), because life isn’t a movie and romance isn’t natural for everyone, all of the time.
YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO PLEASE EACH OTHER AND DON’T NEED TO HAVE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SEX.
This is sort of a hidden belief that nobody really talks about, but it’s a huge one that causes so many underlying issues in relationships. Why are we so afraid to talk about sex with our spouses?
America still treats sex like a taboo (despite it being one of the most natural parts of our existence) and because of this, so many couples feel embarrassed or ashamed talking to their partner about their needs and desires in the bedroom. But when you don’t communicate about sex, how is your partner supposed to know how to please you? The answer is simple: They can’t.
Our bodies are all unique, which means there isn’t a “one size fits all” for sexual pleasure. That is why it is vital to get a conversation going with your spouse about what works and what doesn’t in order to experience the level of closeness and connection that your marriage was designed for.
LOVE IS ENOUGH.
The Beatles paint a pretty picture of love being all that we need, but unfortunately, they’re wrong. While many of the things we need all route back to love, love itself is not the only basis for a solid marriage. Many people stay in damaging relationships because they believe that love is more important than mutual respect, communication, and desire. Obviously, love is a crucial piece to the puzzle, but it is not the only piece. The trick with love is that it is often left up to interpretation.
If you grow up in a home where your example of love is your father yelling at your mother, apologizing, and kissing her on the head, you will likely grow to see love as a tempered and apologetic. If you grow up with a single parent, love may look like devoting yourself to providing for your family. If your parents are super mushy, love will look like a sappy chick flick to you.
Because we all view love differently based on our environments, love cannot be the final say in a relationship’s well being. Because love by itself, while powerful, is not perceived the same universally. Love must be coupled with things like mutual respect and communication in order to work through those barriers and find a common ground of what love means as a couple, rather than two individuals from different love backgrounds.
FIGHTING IS HEALTHY AND NORMAL.
Don’t freak out! I’m not here to tell you that you’re headed for divorce if you fight. We absolutely, 100% all have fights. Hell, we fight with everyone in our lives at some point, so why would our spouses be any different? However, consistent fighting is not normal or healthy. Does that mean you’re headed to Judge Judy to fight over who gets custody of the giant flat screen in the living room? Not quite.
Occasional fighting is not a cause for concern because, hi, we all get on each other’s nerves now and then. But if you find yourself repeating the same fights over and over again, this is likely due to issues that have not been fully dealt with between the two of you, that need attention. Sometimes this can be resolved by having a heart to heart and laying everything out on the table with some constructive, open communication. And if that doesn’t work and you find yourself in the cycle again, don’t be afraid to seek outside help.
One of the best things a couple can do for their marriage is get counseling when there is an underlying issue that keeps seeping its way back in the form of anger and frustration. Talking with an unbiased third party is a strong, productive way to give your marriage the opportunity to thrive that it so deeply deserves.
HAPPILY EVER AFTER DOES NOT EXIST.
I know I talked trash about love movies in this article, but there is some merit to their overall message. Happily ever after may not look like Cinderella suddenly being able to buy every pair of shoes in the kingdom because she’s #rich and in love with the wealthiest, dreamiest dude in the land—but it can look like a modern day fairytale where you spend the greater portion of your days feeling hashtag blessed and truly enjoying your marriage.
I’ve spent nearly a decade with my husband and I can honestly say that I still feel like I can’t get enough of him. We have been through absolute heartbreak together but I truly feel like the joy we have experienced outweighs the sorrow, tenfold.
Happily ever after does exist, you just have to believe that you are worthy of it. (Which, you totally are).
It’s a sloooow creep back up to the mic. My head more focused on each step than what is right in front of me.
Looking down as my toes lift and fall back onto the cool tiled floor.
Finally, I have arrived to the place my feet set out to take me a lifetime ago.
And so, I raise my chin from my neck and clear my throat.
Is this thing on?
You may be wondering where I have been. Then again, maybe you haven’t at all. Blogs are a dime a dozen and there’s definitely no shortage of moms talking about mom stuff on the internet.
Still, this space has been my diary for over five years and suddenly I just abandoned it—or so it may seem.
Truth is, I have been spending a substantial amount of time deciding what I want my voice to sound like in the sea of internet sound.
Everybody tells you that you absolutely need a niche to be successful.
Narrow in on your niche!
Focus on your niche!
Don’t post outside of your niche!
These tips all come from incredibly successful bloggers, so there is obviously proof of the pudding. And yet, every time I would find myself trying to “grow my account” by narrowing in, I felt trapped.
One of the reasons I fell in love with writing as a kid was because there are no limits to it. Stories can take us into someone’s backyard for a DIY tutorial, on a grand road trip through all 50 states, to their traumatic hospital stay, and everything in between. We can create anything we can imagine in our minds through words—be it a unicorn that only eats rainbow bagels or a penguin who becomes the first animal Olympic gold medalist.
When I try and pretend to be only one piece of myself for the sake of a niche, I find myself unable to write here. And when I’m unable to write, my blog goes dark for almost three whole months.
So I have been working on fulfilling all parts of my soul—niche be damned.
For the last 10 weeks I have been diligently working on an ebook that I cannot wait to share with you guys, as well as revamping this site to reflect who I truly am, instead of who society wants me to be.
So here is a brief look at who I am, so that you have a better idea of what to expect out of this space from here on out.
15 Things That Matter To Me
- My husband
- My kids/the trials and triumphs that come with them
- Healthy eating
- My company, Mama Love Collective
- The gut-wrenching moments in life that define us
- Helping others
- Celebratory moments
- Creating printables
- Throwing parties
- The occasional DIY
- Attempting to make this world a better place
If these things appeal to you, then you’re in luck! Because that is precisely the direction this page is taking. Some of these things have long been discussed here and some have never been, so I’m looking forward to fusing everything together.
I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey and I would LOVE to hear what you’re most excited about reading more of, so make sure to comment and let me know!
Last week I started a social experiment without even realizing it.
Let me back up a bit and explain.
After having a great conversation with a friend Friday morning, I found myself with this burning desire inside to spread some love.
I’m weird like that.
So I came up with the idea to offer it up freely on Facebook. This is what my post said, word for word:
“Comment on this post with your favorite emoji and I’ll tell you one way you have been an encouragement in my life. This isn’t one of those chain thingies, I just really want to love on you guys today— especially if you’re having one of those days, weeks, lives where you feel like nothing you do matters. I got you! ❤”
I had no idea what to expect. Part of me wondered if everyone would ignore it, though I hoped they wouldn’t.
Emojis started to slowly trickle in and I was excited to get the chance to love on a couple of people that day.
But then they kept coming. And coming. And next thing I knew, I had 39 people to respond to.
I had people from all walks of my life in there. Friends I see on a daily basis, friends I haven’t seen since high school, and friends I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person.
It took me all day to send a response to everyone. I made it a point to really think about it. I wanted to give true, genuine, individual responses to each person.
I didn’t get an ounce of work done that day. The laundry sat, the blog stayed untouched, and I didn’t ship a thing—but it was amazing.
By the end of the evening, I was in such a state of euphoria over loving on others all day long, that I was literally giggling like a mad woman as I was telling my husband about the whole experience.
Some people went out of their way to respond to what I said. Some even loved on me back. The exchange of encouragement within this thread ended up being 135 comments of pure goodness.
And I realized that the world needs this. It needs more of this right here. People offering their love, but also—people willing to accept it.
When someone tries to help you to your car when you’ve got your hands full of groceries + kids, do you let them? Or do you gently say, “thanks, but I’ve got it!” and handle it yourself?
Let me tell you, I lean toward the latter. I pride myself on my ability to do things by myself, by not needed other people’s help. But when we never let others help us, we never let them serve us. I love serving people and I would feel uselesss if I couldn’t do it, so why don’t I let others serve me?
If someone I hadn’t spoken to in years had posted the exact same thing as me, I would have never commented on it. I would have wanted to maybe, but would have rationalized that they would think it was weird, that the post wasn’t meant for me, etc.
That is some serious backwards thinking. What I learned through this accidental social experiment, is that if you give people the chance to receive love, they’ll take it. And that you too, should do the same.
I also learned just how much I wanted to love on those people I hadn’t spoken to in years.
People die, and I’ve lost my fair share. One of the hardest things about death is that you always feel like you never got the chance to tell that person what they meant to you.
But what if we could do that now? Right now. Today.
What if we chose to tell those old friends and new friends and everyone in-between about the impact they have made in our lives. What if we left no story untold?
That’s how I want to live.
And if you’re looking for a full heart, no page unturned kind of life, give my experiment a try. You can copy and paste exactly what I said and watch how encouraged not only everyone who comments on it feels afterwards, but how encouraged you feel after a day of loving on everyone else.
To all of the non-mom friends who still show up. This one is for you.
I decided to have children years before my closest friends.
I didn’t run the idea by them or discuss how it may change our dynamic as friends— I just did it.
I don’t think we think about things like that, you know? And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a drastic, one-sided change.
It’s not like we ordered a friends dinner for them before they showed up or picked the movie without asking or wore the same dress as them to a party because we forgot to coordinate appropriately.
The choice we made on their behalf was much bigger. We virtually gave them an ultimatum:
Get used to a completely new version of our friendship, or move on.
And again, it wasn’t intentional. It just is what it is.
But to all of my non-mom friends who still show up, I just want to say thank you.
Thank you for never assuming I hate you because I didn’t text you back for the bazillionth time (because I accidentally texted you back in my mind instead of in real life….again).
Thank you for trading in long drives to the beach and happy hours, for lunch dates where you spend approximately 30-45 minutes trying to have a conversation with me without full eye contact— I know I’m cleaning mac and cheese off of the floor, begging my toddler to sit down over and over again, and trying to shovel food in my mouth before the kids decide they are ready to tantrum their way out of there— but I promise I’m listening to every single word you say.
Thank you for sitting in my car with my kids so that I can run into the bank to deposit that money I’ve had sitting in my wallet for weeks because the damn ATM won’t accept the bills.
Thank you for waiting in my living for over an hour while I put the kids to bed, even though you know we will only get about an hour to catch up before I need to go to bed myself— since 5:00 am wake up calls are a regular occurrence in my house.
Thank you for loving my kids. For hugging them and reading to them and playing with them. For treating them like members of your own family and acting genuinely excited to see them every single time.
Thank you for reminding me of who I am outside of my children. For always asking me how my passions and dreams are going, and for helping me stay up to date with things other than the latest Disney Channel original series.
Thank you for showing up. Time and time again.
Even when you witness my child shit all over the high chair and my hands in a restaurant. (Seriously, I can’t believe you still go out to eat with me after that. You’re the best.)
Even when it takes me three days to respond to you. Even when I have to cancel for the umpteenth time because the kids got sick, or hit their heads, or have a doctors appointment that I totally blanked on.
You keep calling. Keep texting. Keep checking in on me and reminding me that even though I made this choice for our friendship without asking, you still love me.
I was ten minutes late for my first date with my now-husband.
It’s something I’ll never forget, because he’ll never let me live it down, but also because he called me and said, “Are you seriously standing me up?”
(Spoiler alert: I wasn’t).
Thing was, ten minutes late was practically on time to me. Up until I met Derek, I had absolutely no respect for time — mine or other people’s.
It wasn’t intentional, or at least, I didn’t see it that way. But truth of the matter was, that I had just never bothered to look at time as something of value.
It feels crazy to even say that now, especially as a mom. Time has become one of the most precious things of my life and I treat it like a treasured friend.
But back then, I was that person— the one who walked into the party just in time to catch the cake being cut or last present being unwrapped. Everyone knew that if they wanted me to be somewhere on time they would have to lie to me about the actual start.
And I excused my behavior as being just “how I am” and laughed off the frustration and comments I received from others as them being too uptight.
It wasn’t until I started dating Derek that I became aware of just how backwards my thinking was.
Where as I was under the impression that timelines were simply people’s way of being too serious, I came to realize that they were actually a sign of respect, love, and admiration.
Derek taught me that people’s time is valuable, because nobody knows how much of it they have. And that if you agree to be somewhere or do something at a specified time, you need to uphold and honor that commitment— because it lets the other person know that you value not just their time, but them as a person.
This lesson is one of the many my husband has gifted me with over the years, so when I was presented with the opportunity to partner with Jord Watches
, I knew it would be a special way for me to gift him with something that holds a significant place in our relationship.
I chose this gorgeous Dark Sandalwood & Burgundy watch
from their Conway Series because the rich colors combined with the steel links reminded me of the sturdy, strong, full of conviction man I was giving it to.
I had originally planned to wait until Valentine’s Day, but I was too excited to wait.
Derek was excited before he even opened it because the box was so fancy.
“The box alone tells me that this watch is nicer than any I’ve ever owned!”
Giving the gift of time to the man who taught me all about its importance, felt so special. And knowing that he will pass his lessons on to our boys makes me heart swell up with pride.
Oh, and did I mention I get to gift you guys too? Because I do!
JORD has ever so graciously offered to give one lucky reader $100 gift code to use on the JORD site! But wait— there’s more! (I couldn’t help myself). But seriously, there is more.
Everyone who enters the contest will automatically receive a code worth $25 at the end of the contest. So even if you don’t win, you still basically win! That’s basically the best kind of contest there is. CLICK HERE TO ENTER NOW!
They have incredible men’s watches (HERE)
but they also have gorgeous women’s watches as well (HERE)
. So hey, what I’m basically saying is— you don’t have
to use your winnings towards your man. (Seriously, I won’t tell!)
*This contest will close on February 12, 2017 at 11:59pm. Both the $100 and $25 codes will expire on 4/30/2017. *
Good luck, sweet friends! I’m so excited for you because I know you’re going to love their watches as much as we do. Go check them out, and let me know which is your favorite! I’ve personally got my eye on the Purpleheart & Plum from the Frankie series.
I mean, come on. How gorgeous is that? Can’t wait to hear your favs!
Luxury Wooden Watch
*All photos were taken by Brenda Munoz Photography*
My husband isn’t much of a social media guy, which is hilarious considering the fact that I’ve made a career out of it. He pretty much only uses the internet to look at funny fail videos, read updates on the Steelers, and look at dream homes on Instagram. I once referenced an IG story I did to him, and he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.
So he’s a pretty good sport about how open I am about our family and how many photos I make him take. Still, every single time we have a photo shoot scheduled, a little piece of him dies inside. The outfit changes, the nice clothes, the props— he loathes it all, but he does it for me anyway, because he loves me.
When I was telling him about this year’s popular theme of ultra glam in insanely gorgeous sceneries, his eye began to twitch. I knew it was at the thought of making him wear a tuxedo on a mountain top, or in the snow, or period. You see, I was smart. I lead with that, so that my real idea wouldn’t seem half as bad to him. So then I told him about my vision for an ultra cheesy, 80’s styled shoot instead and he was like, uhhhhhhh. But then I threw this out there— my kill shot, if you will:
“Let’s make a Christmas card this year that is so funny, so outrageous, that nobody wants to throw it away because it’s THAT good!”
You see, he complains every year about me wasting money on Christmas cards that either:
A. Never even get sent out, because I’m terrible. or B. Get thrown away by people anyway, because he’s convinced that nobody actually likes to receive Christmas cards in the mail.
Boom. That’s pretty much all it took. (Let’s be real— he rocks and probably would have said yes anyway!)
One of my favorite things about my husband is that when he commits to something, he really commits. 100%. All in. Let’s go, kind of attitude.
I was literally crying when Brenda sent these photos over to me because I was laughing so hard. Reason number 5,363 why I love her: She ALWAYS sees my vision and she is always up for it! Our first photo shoot with her was for Christmas two years ago, and I consider myself so fortunate to have met her.
We decided to dress the kids in normal clothes, so as not to traumatize them later in life with terribly embarrassing photos of them in outdated attire. Instead, we chose to do the embarrassing stuff for them, and let them just be their perfect, adorable little selves.
I mean, come on.
We shot the entire thing at Derek’s grandparents house and I had this vision of getting the entire family in their jacuzzi with all of our clothes on, because I’m insane and I thought it would be hilarious.
But his grandma was sick, so we didn’t come to their house early to turn on the jacuzzi as planned, and thus the water was freezing. But when I have a vision, I have a vision— and we promised Brenda some hilarious water photos, so we had to deliver.
As you can see, Derek was thrilled. But like I said earlier, he really loves me, and he also is the master of all things, so he quickly warmed up to the freezing jacuzzi photos.
Can’t. I just can’t.
This photo shoot is probably my favorite, to date. It was just so fun and we were laughing the entire time. And I’ll probably forget to send our Christmas cards again this year, but in the event that I don’t, I hope people get a kick out of having these photos on their fridge.
Have you ever done a funny photo shoot? If not, you have got to give it a try! It’s way less stressful than a serious one, and the memories will be hilarious.
Happy holidays, friends!