Brady and I recently celebrated six years of true love.  For some reason, we continue to celebrate our dating anniversary along with our wedding anniversary.  I”m not sure why, but this anniversary always seems super special.  Each year we re-do our first date and some how, ever year it keeps getting better.  This year stuck out especially since we had spent the week finding out we had lost our baby.  I would have thought that would have put a damper on things, but it really just put things into perspective and made me appreciate our relationship all the more.

I have been very blessed in my marriage with Brady.  It didn’t all just happen by accident though.  We work very hard on our relationship – both our friendship and our marriage – every day.  Today I’m sharing six things that have helped us to keep a happy and healthy relationship.

1. No Secrets – Going into our relationship, I knew I wanted things all out on the table.  It was important to me to have 100% trust in a relationship and I knew I had to give my all, too.   I didn’t want to go into a relationship trying to be someone he would like (which is absolutely a trap I had found myself in before) I wanted to be completely me, and if he loved me like that, great.  If he didn’t, that was fine too.  I shared myself freely and completely with Brady in the beginning of our relationship and to my surprise, he stuck around.  A couple years in, we were married and parents and I found it a little bit harder to keep myself completely unguarded.  In marriage, there are SO many small things that can easily be over looked, like how much money I really spent at Target, or what he really did in Las Vegas at that bachelor party.  But I want a happy and HEALTHY marriage more than I want to avoid an argument, so I make it a point to even keep these things out in the open.  In the beginning of our marriage, I would tell Brady “a secret is always much worse than what it’s actually hiding,” and I make sure to practice what I preach.  Do I text Brady my target amount each time I check out? No, because there is trust in our relationship and he trusts me to make executive decisions for our finances, just like I trust him to make good decisions when he’s away from our family.  If he asks how much I spend at Target for some reason, you bet I answer him 100% honestly and the same goes the other way around.  Have we ever lied to each other? Yes, but it never lasts long.  I lied/omitted to Brady one time in our marriage and it wasn’t even that long ago.  I had saved up some money that I had earned for something I felt was necessary in my business, Brady wanted me to go a cheaper way about it, but I decided (without him) that I would go full steam ahead and do what i wanted to do.. but not fully disclose to Brady to avoid an argument.  I made it 3 days before I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  “I lied to you about something,” I blurted out one day on our way to in-n-out burger for a quick dinner.  He nervously looked at me and I told him I had spent more money on my new investment than I had let on.  He signed relief with a laugh, “gosh! I thought you were going to tell me something bad.” he said “you’re not mad?” I wondered, “no, you can spend money how you think you should.. I really thought you were going to tell me something serious.” and with that, I vowed I would NEVER lie in our marriage again.  Whew!

2. One-on-one time – date night is super important in our family.  Our goal is once a week, we get away by ourselves for a couple of hours.  Some weeks things come up and it’s not possible, and I always notice those weeks are harder on us.  Date nights are NOT easy to do each week, it always seems easier to just not worry about a babysitter and do something at home instead.  BUT, we make that sacrifice because we need to for our marriage.  For some reason, this day and age it’s almost looked down on to get away with your spouse once a week.  I hear all the time “I could just never leave my kids that much!” and believe me, that is completely natural.  However, I know more than anyone how important a good marriage is to kids and even though it may feel like we’re doing it to get away from them, we’re really doing it for them.  My girls love helping me get ready for a date night with “my honey”, they like getting a minute to go play at their grandparents house for a bit and they love when we get home asking us what we did.  I loved dating Brady before we got married and I love dating him still.  A little while ago, we ran into one of his jokester clients while we were out to eat, his client said “Is this your wife, or your mistress?” and Brady answered, “Both.” My cheeks turned a little pink.  I thought it was the perfect answer.  I am his wife, but I always want to be his girlfriend on the side, too.

3. Honesty – This might sound the same as not having secrets, but this is a whole other area.  I think this one is SO huge for any couple.  So often I find myself wanting Brady to automatically know what I want instead of just honestly telling him what it is.  As women, why do we do this?? It seems so silly when you think about it, but it’s just one of the ways women and men are so different.  Men are super simple minded.. it’s what we love about them, ladies, so don’t hate when it’s not working for you.  When he asks, what do you really want to eat for dinner, TELL HIM.  When he asks what’s wrong, TELL HIM.  When he does something that upsets you, for the love of all that is holy, TELL HIM!  Men are not mind readers and they are not women, we just cannot expect them to be.  Should Brady know after 6 years what I order at Cafe Rio? Yes.  Is it annoying when he asks me to text him my order every time it’s his turn to call it in?  Absolutely.  Is it worth fighting over?  Not at all.  Should he know after 6 years that changing the plan as we’re on our way bugs the hell out of me?  Probalby, yes.  Will he know unless I tell him that?  Nope.  I could pout the entire night about how he changed the plan as we were on our way to eat where I wanted to eat, then blow up in a huge fight about how he doesn’t know me later.. or, when he asks if I would rather eat at Panchos than Cafe Rio, I could just simply say, “no, I don’t.  I still want Cafe Rio.” and the discussion is over.  We think they should know things, we really do.  But, they just don’t.  So we can either hate it or accept it.  I choose to accept it and spell it out as clearly as I can for Brady whenever I can.  When Brady does something that makes me mad, you better believe I let him know that very second.  I hate to sit and seethe about it and then blow it out of proportion later on.  Sometimes what I need is a little harder to ask for.  When Brady gets caught up in a busy work week and has a lot going on, he doesn’t always remember to take 10 minutes out of the night to come chat and be lovey with me.  Sometimes I just have to simply tell him, “I need some attention for a minute,” and he’s always happy to hang up the phone or take a break from his computer to make sure I’m happy.  The thing we might not understand about men is they never really want to piss us off.  Their goal in life is to pretty much try and avoid us being pissed off.  They just need a little help from us to do that.

4. Time Apart – This one is harder for us because we’re a family that likes to do things together whenever possible.  But when there’s a girls night opportunity or I need a minute to myself to take a yoga class, Brady needs to support me in that.  Just exactly like when his guy friends are all in town and they want to take a night to play poker, I can fully support him in that.  Yes, it takes my friday night, but he doesn’t have the opportunity to do that all that often.  Sometimes when Brady is having a bad week, I tell him to call a friend and go play golf or do something he enjoys – away from being a husband and father.  In the beginning of our marriage, I would take this personally or be irritated he was always doing things, but now I know how it can unwind him like nothing I can do for him at home.  If one of us were always trying to go out away from our family, that would be an issue.  But every once in a while, sometimes you just need to get away from the people you love to make you realize how much you really do love them.  And let’s just say there’s nothing sexier than a man that gets your kids fed and tubbied (and bonus points for put into bed) while you’re out with the ladies.  Men, listen up. 😉

5. Going to bed together – My mom always told me that once you start going to bed at different times, you’re on a slippery slope to D-ville.  Now that I’m married, I know why.  With having kids and running two businesses, sometimes Brady and I have almost no time to chat together in the day.  When he gets home from work, we’re busy with the girls and doing the nightly routine.  After they’re down sometimes I have editing, emails, writing, etc. to do.  That’s when my work day officially starts.  Brady is always catching up on stuff at night he didn’t get to during the day.  Sometimes our work nights run late and even though we do things side by side or chat for advice, we don’t really have our brains turned completely off just for some good ol’ fashioned conversation.  Until bedtime.  I never let Brady go to bed without me and I wont go to bed without him.  Bedtime is where some of my very favorite conversations have been had.  It’s the only time in our busy day that we have uninterrupted time for just each other (aside from our ever important dates).  It’s where I remember the funny things that happened during the day that I wanted to share with him.  It’s where I unload to him what’s been heavy on my mind.  It’s where I know how to pray for him that night.  Going to bed together is the smallest, but probably best habit you can get into as a married couple.

6 – Remember to be friends – Our marriage works so well because Brady is my husband, but he’s also my best friend.  I like hanging out with him everyday and I hope he likes hanging out with me.  There are so many wifely things I have to talk to him about, what we need money for, what needs to be fixed, what’s going on with the girls, etc.  But I also have to remember to be his friend.  To listen to him without judgement, to laugh with him about silly and sometimes stupid stuff.  To let him off the hook sometimes because he’s my pal and I know he can use it.  When I don’t know the answer as his wife, I always try to think about what a good friend would do.  My dad always said, “the best kind of relationships start as friendships.” and I think he’s definitely right.

It sounds cheesy and I’m sure like a broken record, but as we move through life, in times of heartache and in times of bliss, I am more and more thankful that Brady is by my side through it all.  Each year, I feel how imperative Brady is to my plan here in this life.  I love him fully and completely and each day I am more grateful he’s mine.

xo, C