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).
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
Guys, I’m not going to lie— I’ve totally checked out. Derek and I leave for Costa Rica tonight to celebrate our anniversary and it’s pretty much all I can think about. I started packing ten days ago, I’ve got checklists for my checklists, and when I close my eyes all I see is monkeys and sloths and cocktails. I’m pretty nervous about being away from the kids for 9 whole days— considering the longest I’ve ever been away from either of them is a weekend— but I know they will be having a blast with their grandparents while we are gone, and I’m really looking forward to a vacation with my numero uno, my baby daddy, the guy who I said “I Do” to almost 5 years ago.
Typically, Derek and I sort of do this crazy thing when we take vacations— we unplug. I know, guys— I know. The shock! The horror!
But seriously, I know the struggle is real (especially for bloggers). Our business is creating beautiful feeds with relivant content and an every day prescense. Take a day off, lose followers. Take a week off? And who knows! Will you be back at square one? Will people forget about you? Like I said, I know the struggle is real. But I have to believe in quality or quantity here— and I know that quality time with my husband trumps having x amount of followers, always.
I’ll never pretend that I don’t LOVE seeing people’s vacation posts. They are gorgeous and exciting and I would never tell you not to post them because they are perfection. I will no doubt be overloading you with photos of my trip when I return. But you won’t be seeing any real time photos of my monkey-filled balcony or toes in the sand, and that’s because it is so much more important to me to be present on my vacation than it is to crop, edit, explain, and post a photo. When you’re not worried about lighting or angles or any of those things, it allows you to fully enjoy the moment you’re in. If I end up with GoPro images that are of only half of my body (which could totally happen before I’ve never used it before) that will be okay. It’s not something I’m going to stress or even give a second thought to.
Five years ago on our honeymoon, we crossed our hearts that no matter where life took us, we would come back to Costa Rica and stay in the exact same house for our anniversary. Five years later, we are off to make good on that promise. We’ve lost, we’ve loved, we’ve lived. Five years have been cold to us, but also so very warm for our love. We have experienced such great loss and such great joy together. And I can’t wait to spend the next nine days reminiscing on everything that has shaped us into the couple we are today.
Have you ever “gone dark” to enjoy a vacation? If you haven’t, give it a try! You’ll be surprised at how freeing it is not to be glued to blogs, or Facebook, or Instagram, etc. all day long. And at night? Oh man, at night time when you remember what it means to wind down without a device in your hands, it’s magical.
So here’s to a blackout! I’ll miss you, but I’ll be back. I hope you’re still around when I return, but if my lack of posts for 9 days is a deal breaker, then it’s been a privilege. (But I hope you stay!)
Be back soon, sweet friends!
Remember when I said I wasn’t going to let the last birthday of my husband’s twenties just sneak on by? Well, I was serious.
It’s been a while since we’ve hosted a party at our house (read: we have two small children) and we recently redid our deck in the backyard (blog post coming, probably never)— so I decided to throw a little shindig.
I have a disease where I can’t do anything without a theme, so this one was Derek’s “Twenty-Wine” — I cleverly catchphrased the event saying, “watch him whine, wine, and turn 29.” I know guys, I know. Hire me now.
For our wine tasting party, I thought it would be really fun for everyone to have their own custom wine glass to drink from. So I went and got some from the dollar store and hopped on Pinterest for a way to customize. I found this tutorial for chalkboard paint bottoms and it looked easy, so I bought the paint and got to work.
Um, hi— not easy and also, way more time consuming than I anticipated. You would think that dipping something into paint isn’t rocket science, but after my attempts I’m convinced that it actually is, and I’m pretty sure the astronauts have to chalkboard paint their helmets as part of their training.
Luckily after some serious trial and error and giving myself the ugly class, I managed to get most of them to look halfway decent. Once painted, all I had to do was use the permanent chalkboard pen I already had and write the names on each one. The total project cost $15 and only two days of swearing at the glasses in frustration. I’m glad I did them though, they really added to the party and it came in handy always being able to tell who’s drink was whos.
Next, I printed out some photos of Derek’s awesome shoot with Brenda and used dollar store frames. I also found this fantastic printable on Etsy, and snagged it because it was too perfect.
Derek and I had been collecting wine bottles for days weeks, and I used them as decorations on the table as well. Then I filled the entire thing up with deliciousness.
We had salami, proccuitto, grapes, berries, crackers.
Various cheeses spread across our gorgeous custom cutting board from Timber + Main. Crostinis in dollar store plastic cups. A crazy haired toddler.
We also crockpotted some meatballs for a little extra substance.
I missed about 80% of the party because my mom ended up getting really sick the day of, causing my parents to have to cancel babysitting. So I spent most of the evening with them, since B kept waking up every 45 minutes or so wanting to nurse. But that was okay, because everyone had a great time— especially the birthday boy.
I was really pleased with how the party turned out and I can’t wait until I have an excuse to throw another one!
What about you guys? Do you like throwing parties or do you prefer to just attend them? Tell me below in the comments!
(Brenda Munoz Photography)
I took The Love Dare.
I didn’t tell my husband. Instead, I quietly challenged myself each day to take a good hard look at my heart, and to love him differently— better than the day before.
It wasn’t always easy. In fact, the 40 challenge lasted 48 days for me, because some dares required a deeper look into my heart than I was willing to take.
But I fought through my pride and ego and made it out, stronger and more in love with my husband than ever.
From the outside, it didn’t seem like I needed to do any kind of love challenge. From the inside, it didn’t look like I did either.
We are happy. We rarely argue. We love each other and communicate and laugh, daily.
So why did I feel the need to secretly work on my marriage?
Because, I felt my heart changing, and I didn’t like it.
I noticed that the strain of an emotional year was taking a toll on my very being.
My soul felt tired and I knew that if I could feel it, he could too— even if he didn’t consciously realize it.
I needed to see the world— my world, through fresh eyes. And what I walked away with was just that.
Do you need a crash course in how to love?
Before you say no, let me ask you something else.
Do you follow your heart or do you lead it?
I’ve always known that love is more than an emotion— it’s a choice. What I didn’t realize, was that following my heart instead of leading it was road blocking me from loving fully.
Because when you let your heart take the drivers seat it messes with your radio settings and adjusts your mirrors. Next thing you know, you’re in a ditch at the first sign of rain because it turns out your heart isn’t as good a driver as you thought.
I learned simple things:
Like that cleaning the toothpaste cap helps to make his day just a little better.
I learned deep things:
Like that I was subconsciously setting him up to fail by not being direct about things I wanted, such as the trash being taken out or needing one on one time.
If you find yourself saying, “this love dare thing sounds like something my partner needs to do!” then you in fact, need it too.
And if that’s the case, I hope you’ll consider doing it.
Like I said, my marriage was never in a bad place. But it’s in an even better place now than it was before after I took this challenge.
So, I’m sure you all just scrolled down past my mushy post because I know what you really want from me…
To know who won the Small Business Giveaway!
And well, I’m pretty excited too.
So here we go.
Randomly selected by the Gleam generator, the winner is entry #29: AMY PHILLIPS!
Amy, I can’t wait for you to get all of these awesome prizes! I’ll be emailing you shortly, please be sure to respond with a valid shipping address within 7 days so that I can get all of this goodness out to you asap.
Thank you everyone who entered!
I plan on bringing a lot of new things to this space in 2016, including more giveaways for all of you.
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.
The surprise isn’t the house with a big island in the kitchen and elevated backyard deck.
It isn’t the two perfect, crazy, wonderful boys who fill that house with smiles and joy.
It’s not the cancer diagnosis, or the family struggles, or even the death.
We’ve always known that life is going to happen to us and around us, no matter what. And we were fortunate enough to learn early on in our relationship that we could handle the worst of times together.
The surprise is surprise.
It’s the fact that even after seven years together I am still learning new things about this man I chose.
It’s the moments when our brains are totally in sync and we say the same things. It happens everyday and yet we are always excited and shocked when it does. “Get out of my head!”
It’s the “lets try Thai food” or “want to drive up to the cabin tonight?” moments. The ability to still have spontaneity, even with two kids in tow.
It’s the kitchen filled with laughter as we dance around like fools to embarrassing Pandora stations.
It’s the midday texts about whether or not Jon Snow is really dead and who we should start in Fantasy football that week.
It’s the intimate moments. The sweet caresses and first-date butterflies in my stomach that have never gone away.
I told Derek at the alter that he wasn’t the man of my dreams.
I said, “this isn’t a fairytale and you’re not the man of my dreams. You’re the man of my reality, which is so much better.”
Four years later, I still know that this life of mine is far greater than anything I could have made up in my head.
And I know we have a lifetime of surprises to look forward to.
Happy Anniversary Derek. I love you forever, and far longer.