A few days ago, our friend Dawn of Hello Dearie invited us to be a part of her Keep Love Alive series. We were so flattered and had the best time talking about what we should say. You can visit her blog to read more, and I’ll post it here as well so I can always know where it is.
For Ben and I, keeping love alive is one of the easiest parts of our life because we have unusual circumstances. I work from home and so does he, most of the day. We wake up, have breakfast together and come into the office where I design letterpress stationery for Lucky Luxe, and he does most of his work at home because he’s a youth minister with no wireless internet at his church office. We don’t have any kids yet, so the stress that entails isn’t in our life. We have a ton of alone time, and he’s really involved with my work and I in his. We share so much, and I think maybe that’s why it’s such an easy relationship for us.
Even more unusual, we said “I love you” six days after hanging out for the first time in 2004. We said we would marry each other after a couple weeks. We agreed it was important to finish our college degrees before tying the knot so we could be financially independent. It was 2007 when he formally proposed in the last semester of college, but we never wavered in our love and our decision from the very beginning. Being married to each other for the last 3 years has been as natural as breathing in and out, but I’m thankful to God for it everyday. You can never take something so sweet for granted. So! These are things that we believe help keep the love alive:
1. Be gentle with each other. Think carefully about every word before saying something critical. My friend Annalee once told me about a sermon she heard where the preacher asked, “are you kinder with your words to the guy who bags your groceries at the store than you are to your spouse?” Surprisingly, it’s easy when things get so comfortable. You can’t let it happen! If you lift each other up day in and day out, you’ll find there’s very little to fuss about.
2. If you go to bed angry, rub your feet together under the covers. It’s the best peace offering.
3. Be “same team.” We say this phrase every time we make a decision, every time we agree on something no one else does, every time he gets out the milk and I get out the Mini Wheats. We are in this together, no matter what happens, forever and ever. We have a serious friendship and camaraderie about our marriage, which is much stronger than romance alone.
4. If your spouse is having a rough day, it’s your duty to double up on the love and kindness to help them get through it. If you don’t do it, who will?
5. Pray together. This sounds trite, but it’s so true. Ben is the leader of our house, and when we have a worry or fear, he takes my hand and we pray about it in silence and that’s all we can do with it then. We let it go and it’s out of our hands.
6. Tithe. 2 spiritual-related things, but they’re so utterly important. We began tithing after we were married and while Ben had no anxiety about it at all, I was nervous about giving away 10% of my income at the time. It was a scary thought. “We might need that money! We’re newlywed! We’re poor! What if I lost my job?” But by tithing, we found that our financial situation continuously improved every single week, every single month. My business took off, I left my day job and now we can give even more to the church. When you trust God with such a human obsession, money, he takes care of you. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but you have to do this. Trust me on that. When you’re not worried about money, your marriage is going to be so much happier.
7. Be silly together. The more you laugh, the better everything is.
8. Be proud of each other. I love how when he walks he carries himself so tall and straight, his overwhelmingly friendly personality, that he’s so handy he can fix just about anything on his own. He loves that I’m an artist and a musician, that I’ve learned how to successfully run a business on my own, that I’ve learned how to (and want to) work on my 1971 Beetle here and there. When your relationship feels stale, remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Remember it every day. And think of all the things your spouse can do that no one else in this big wide world can.
It’s easy to keep the love alive in this house. I woke up to find this waiting on my desk this morning: