The BEST Marriage Advice : Weekly, Monthly, Yearly

We’re in the middle of year 5 of marriage. We are just at the beginning of the years we will spend as husband and wife, but there is something that I read the month before we got married that has proven to be the best piece of marriage advice. It was in a newsletter by a photographer in Canada that I follow, Matt Kennedy.

It wasn’t the standard “Don’t go to bed angry” or “Always kiss each other goodnight” or even “Be the first to apologize”.

It was simple. It was easy to remember. And we absolutely think that it is something that has strengthened our marriage.

“Every Week, Go on a coffee date. Every Month, go on a dinner date. Every Year, go on vacation together.”

Now, before you protest and tell me that you hate coffee, dinner, and vacation, we can make some substitutions. But here’s the general idea & why we absolutely are #1 fans of this.

Every Week. 

“Every Week, Go Out for Coffee.”

Instead of coffee, sometimes we go for ice cream. Or happy hour. Or donuts. But the idea is that weekly, you are doing something with your spouse. It doesn’t have to be for hours and hours, because some weeks don’t allow that. But it’s an intentional time each week where it’s JUST THE TWO OF YOU. A coffee date is normally about an hour + some drive time. But it gives some space for you to be alone and to be present. Sometimes you have to set aside the time for important things, like an appointment. It might not feel romantic to have to schedule time each week to be with your spouse. Oh, but it is. It is so romantic & gives you something to look forward to!

…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?

Well, if you don’t have a baby sitter, maybe drink coffee during nap time downstairs cuddled up on you couch. Or make root beer floats after the kids are in bed. Or take an hour to eat pizza on your kitchen floor in the middle of the night. All you need to do is make some time to be together.

Because you know what it does for our marriage? It brings us back. Right to the hand holding or the laughing or the memories of why we love each other. It’s not that we forget during the week, but sometimes during trips to the grocery store and paying the bills, life doesn’t always feel like it’s full of romance and joy. And it might not be. So this is a weekly reset. Get back to the simple things. Like conversation. Like cups of hot coffee. Like cold bowls of ice cream. Or slices of cheesy pizza. Hold hands. Make eye contact. Quit drinking your coffee and make out. Whatever it is, give yourself some time to be together. Just the two of you.

Every Month.

“Every Month, Go Out to Dinner”

This. SO SO SO Good. Sometimes, we go to expensive restaurants and order steak & seafood. Other times we go to Chipotle & order burritos with guacamole. It’s not so much about where you go, or what you eat. It’s about taking a night off, to be together.

I think there is something that happens when you prepare for a date. When it’s not spontaneous, but you take time to pick your outfit, get dressed up, do your makeup, and go out with your spouse. It feels special. You anticipate it. You look forward to it all week or sometimes all month. Multiple hours together. Uninterrupted.

Maybe there are flowers given. Maybe there is a photo taken. Maybe there is red lipstick or slacks instead of jeans. Maybe there is hand holding in the car. Or dessert ordered. Or a blanket is packed & you eat your favorite takeout in a park down the street!

Whatever it is, once a month, you are going to need a night.

A WHOLE NIGHT.

Together.

JUST THE TWO OF YOU.

Because giving yourself some time to be together, to communicate, to enjoy life together is necessary. Sometimes we end up laughing the whole time, and other times we have to communicate through some hard things. Either way the outcome is good. Communication needs space. It needs time to happen. It sometimes needs a place where you are out of the house. Out of the familiar surroundings. Where the things you need to do aren’t right in front of you. But the only thing that’s in front of you is fettuccini & your spouse.

…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???

Well, chances are you have a friend, or sister, or brother who also has a spouse & some children. And they ALSO need a date night. So do a trade. Switch off so you both can enjoy this. Or spend some $$ on a babysitter. Or bribe your parents.

Something.

But it’s worth it. Let me tell you. It’s so worth it.

Oh, also. Make out.

Every Year.

“Ever Year, Go On Vacation.”

We’ve done this since being married. A trip, just the two of us. And it’s SO fun to get away. To have adventures. To explore new cities. Or to be a tourist in your own city.

I think the most important part is to get out of your home. Go somewhere that the beds are made for you. Or that is right across the street from a coffee shop. Or a beautiful campsite in the mountains. Or by a beach. Someplace only 1 hour away, or someplace that requires an airplane. Either way, GET AWAY.

Whatever your style of vacation is, go there. At least for a night and two days. But more if you can afford it. We’ve taken nightly trips to Bellevue, just an hour away and bought hotel rooms on Priceline. We’ve also taken weekend trips to Portland. Or trips to Maui & Cabo. We even took a 12 day trip to Ireland once – and saved up for a whole year for it. BUT IT WAS WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

But the thing is this. Getting away and unplugging from your “normal”, from the routines, from the chores. IT’S GOOD.

You will be happier. You will connect more. You will probably have a lot more sex. Good. You probably needed to. You will talk more. And hold hands more. And kiss in public more. And take pictures. And make memories. And make each other laugh. And try new foods. Explore new things. Dress up. Wear your bathing suit all day. Stay in bed until noon. Stay up late. Drink champagne. Eat chips & guac for lunch. Make all of the memories.

You made it through a whole year. You deserve a vacation.

In a society where almost half of all marriages don’t survive, it’s good to celebrate the fact that you are. You are killin’ this marriage thing. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you drive each other crazy. Or you miscommunicate.  Being intentional about your time together, about investing into your marriage, about making time to laugh and relax. Those are things that help a marriage thrive. Those are things that help your children. When you show them that marriage is fun, and marriage is full of good things and time together, you are setting such a good example. Your children want to see mom & dad holding hands. They want to see you laughing, joking, playing, relaxing. They want to see a real life example of marriage that is healthy, that is fun, that is real.

So, take some time to celebrate.

Weekly. Monthly. Yearly.

Kels

Feeling Overwhelmed with Wedding Plans? READ THIS.

Hey friend,

I’ve been in your shoes. Feeling Stressed & Overwhelmed. The wedding is coming soon & you are suddenly feeling like there is so much you have to do, decide on, coordinate, PAY FOR, and figure out before the wedding day actually arrives.

It can feel a little daunting. You might be tempted to look at your fiancé and suggest a quick trip to Las Vegas to say “I do” with Elvis officiating the ceremony. I get you! I’ve had more than one client tell me that this conversation happened in the weeks & months leading up to the wedding day.

Can I be real with you for a minute?

It’s all going to work out.

I promise.

Because, at the END of the wedding day, guess what? You will leave as husband and wife. And that is the only thing that REALLY matters.

The rest of it. It’s just a bonus.

The beautiful dress. The fresh flowers. The amazing meal. The dessert. The toasts. The dancing. The menu cards. Or centerpieces. Or million other little details? Those are all a bonus. They are things that add to the beauty of the day.

They aren’t what makes the wedding day beautiful.

What makes the wedding day beautiful is the fact that at the end of the day, you are MARRIED.

The wedding day doesn’t make your marriage. Your wedding day is the start of your marriage. But it’s marriage that is beautiful. It’s choosing, with the people you love surrounding you & supporting you – to bind your life with another. To choose to love, honor, and protect each other. To choose each other. In a million different ways.

And MARRIAGE is what we are celebrating on your wedding day.

So, while you are feeling overwhelmed. Remember – the wedding is just the first day of your marriage & there is no right way to have a wedding. If your wedding is extravagant and full of beautiful, curated details? IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

If your wedding is simple & full of homemade details? IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.

Take a deep breath.

Grab your fiancé, put your phones away, and go on a walk. Or grab a cup of coffee together. While you are planning your wedding, also make sure to plan your marriage. Dream about the things you want to do in your first year of marriage. Or in your 5th year. Or in your 35th year. Dream about the traditions you want to start. Maybe it’s homemade breakfast every Saturday morning. Or Thursday Nextflix & Pizza Nights. Or Tuesday Game Nights with the neighbors. Or double dates every month with your best friends. Dream about the things that will happen once the wedding day is over.

Your wedding is going to be beautiful. And your marriage will be incredible.

Don’t let the details stress you out & make you feel overwhelmed. Remember what the day is about & know that it all will be PERFECT.

Kels

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

4 Years Later.

Kyle,

It’s hard to believe that we are celebrating 4 years of marriage today. The last 4 years have not only been the best years of my life – but also the fastest. 

Growing up I remember asking my mom how I would know when I met “The One”. Endless Disney movies made me a romantic from the first time I saw the Beast give Belle her library. (Speaking of, THAT’S what I want for my next birthday.)

Kyle. You are the answer to that question.

Not one grand moment with magic & glitter & music & romance.

But every single day.

One million little moments & little gestures that show me you know me best. You see me completely. And you love me fully. You are the best husband FOR ME.

You are my very best friend.

We have done a lot of very un-romantic things this past year. We have planned funerals & we have walked through grief. We have had hard conversations about how we want our future to look. We have budgeted. We have moved. We have worked, A LOT. 

And through it all you are THE VERY BEST ONE FOR ME. There is nobody else I would want to do anything with. The good. The hard. It’s you – I choose you.

You are the hardest working man I know. But you work the hardest at being an amazing husband. I see that every day. I see that when I walk downstairs in the morning and you have cleaned the kitchen at 5:00 AM before you go to work. I see that when I am overwhelmed and you get out a piece of paper because you know that lists give me clarity.

On this anniversary, I am so grateful to know only have a husband who I am absolutely in love with. But to have you as my very best friend.

I cannot wait to see what the next 4 years hold.

Love you forever.

Happy Anniversary, Babes.

Photos are from our 3.5 Year Photoshoot with Echo Photography!

1,000 Days Later : Happy Anniversary, Babes!

It’s been over 1,000 days since I walked down the aisle in 10 layers of chiffon and said “I Do”.

Now, 3 years is by no means a lifetime. In the grand scheme of things, we are just at the beginning of our journey. But I’m not going to diminish 3 years as unimportant. Because the last 3 years of my life have by far been the best 3.

I wrote a blog when we had been married for 4 months called “Why I Don’t Agree that Marriage Is Hard”. And I had so many people tell me that I was still in the honeymoon phase and to wait until a few years had gone by. That my attitude would change and I would soon join the club in proclaiming “Marriage Is Hard”.

So, here I am.

3 years later.

And marriage is still the best thing in the world. 

Are there moments of marriage that are sometimes hard? Yes. But marriage as a whole? Marriage is not hard. Marriage is the BEST.

LIFE IS HARD sometimes. FRIENDSHIP is hard sometimes. WORK is hard sometimes. PAYING BILLS is hard sometimes. WORKING OUT is hard sometimes. DRINKING ENOUGH WATER is hard. REMEMBERING TO DO X, Y, & Z is hard sometimes.

Marriage is the best thing that I have ever signed up for. It is the best choice I made. Being married to Kyle is not hard, it is easy. He makes my life better in so many ways. He challenges me to grow. He loves me exactly the way that I am. He lets me be so vulnerable. So honest. And never judges my unfiltered thoughts.

You know what I think has been the hardest part of marriage?

Vulnerability.

REAL REAL REAL Vulnerability. Because for so many of us, we have been hurt in the past. Not even by our spouse. By friends in 4th grade who made fun of you for something. By the boys in high school who joked about my appearance. So we put our guards up.

And then we get married, and we learn day-by-day that our spouse can be trusted with every piece of our heart. And when I say “hard”, I don’t mean that there are arguments and yelling matches – that we disagree and there is tension. Vulnerability is hard in that we slowly have to take down the walls that we have built. Brick by brick we let our spouse into our lives and understand even fully when it says that two people will become one. It is hard because it is something that we have to consistently do, even if it is unnatural. Even if we aren’t used to it. We choose every day to trust, to be open, and to let ourselves be known.

Kyle has proven time and time again that he is the person I can tell anything to. He will love me. The beautiful parts. The ugly parts. The parts that have been racked with insecurity.

Year 3 of marriage was so beautiful. We learned even more how to be vulnerable with each other. We took our first adventure to Ireland. We walked through grief when we lost family and friends. We celebrated every chance we could.

I am so grateful for the things that marriage has taught me. But more than that – I am grateful for the man who I get to wake up next to every morning and fall asleep next to every night. I am grateful for his optimistic outlook when hard situations arise. I am grateful for his compassion. I am grateful for his patience. I am grateful that he works harder than anyone I know and I never hear him complain. I am grateful that he chooses to love me each morning and never makes me question his commitment. I am so honored to be his wife. I get a front row seat every day to watch my very favorite person do life.

On the good days, on the hard days, on the lazy days at home.

He is the man that I want. He is the man that I need.

Happy 3 years, KJC. You are my best.

I cannot wait for the next 1,000 days.

Kels


Photos from our In-Home Session with : Echo Photography

33 Years. Happy Anniversary, Blomes!!!

33 years looks good on these two.

Happy Anniversary to my lovely parents,

If you have met them, chances are you will remember it. These two are full of personality. They not only laugh loudly, but the love hard. They love people well. They are generous. Oh, you guys, they are the most generous people I have ever known. They have shared their home, their finances, their vehicles, their time, their love, their extra bedrooms, their camping trips, and their sense of humor with countless people.

They consistently show me that communication is one of the most important skills in a marriage. That learning how to apologize and forgive needs to be the foundation of any healthy relationship. And that life is too short to eat bland food. These two enjoy life. They are the most fun to go on vacation with. But they have also taught me how to rest. How sometimes, all you need is a night off, wrapped up in a blanket.

Their marriage has been an example to me for my whole life. They have gone through good days and bad days, but through the challenges that life brings, they have remained faithful and committed to each other.

I could not be prouder to be their daughter.

I am so in love with these two humans, it hurts.

Happy Anniversary, M&D. Love you so big.

2016-04-30_00012016-04-30_00022016-04-30_00032016-04-30_00042016-04-30_00052016-04-30_00062016-04-30_00072016-04-30_00082016-04-30_0009

For Information about Booking a Photo Session or a Wedding, Visit :

www.kelseylynnephotography.com