Marriage, married life

Believe the Best Forgive the Rest and Say, “I Love You”

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In marriage it’s all about believing in your spouse and trusting them. When we believe the best in our spouse then we are always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in all things. When we do this it is so much easier to forgive and move on and love them even more even with their shortcomings. So continue to believe in your spouse and forgive them because as we do this we will grow closer as a couple, fight less, and solve problems as one and love them more.

Marriage, married life, relationship skills

Do We Spend our Time Wondering or Loving?

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I love this saying because it helps me to really focus on what is important! I am such an over analyzer and I am always wondering or assuming rather than showing my love for my husband. When we think about it, of course we know that our spouse loves us, so rather than us focusing on wondering, let’s focus on showing them just how much we love them!

Marriage, married life

10 Ways to Fall Back in Love with Your Husband

After a truly exhausting day I plopped down on the couch to feed our baby after tucking all the kids into bed. I looked across the room at my husband who was watching a show on his phone. Thanks Hulu (eyes rolling). We both looked at each other, but didn’t exchange a single word. We both went about our business, him on his phone and me feeding the baby, while playing a game on mine. After about 30 minutes my husband asked me if TJ was still eating and I nodded (I mean he was sleep eating…) he then turned to walk into our bedroom. I heard the TV go on, and then the electric toothbrush start… I knew he was headed to bed because he had the same routine every night.

TJ continued to halfway eat… If I wanted, I could have put him to bed, but I chose to just sit there and feed our baby. Eventually he finished, but I continued to sit there for another 40 minutes just holding him because I didn’t feel like going to bed, at that point I realized two things: 1. that I somehow had become really passive with my marriage, that I would rather sit on the couch alone than climb into bed and snuggle with my husband and 2. I really needed to change.

Deep down I knew I really loved my husband more than anything, but I felt like somewhere along the lines I forgot how to really love him, maybe it was while we focused all our efforts on blending our family (you have no idea how difficult this is unless you have done it), or maybe it was the move half way across the country from everything I had ever known, or maybe it was adding two more kids into the mix, or possibly it was just that “mom life” had finally taken a toll on me. Whatever it was I was at a crossroads in my mind, 1. that our relationship could continue down this path and we could be great friends raising our kids together, or 2. I needed to change and figure out how to be “in love” with my husband again.

Every relationship, no matter how strong goes through what ours was going through, where you get passive in your relationship, when things are less about passion and love and more about friends raising kids with one another.  

At that moment I knew it was up to me to decide… And here’s what I did!

Make the Choice to Change.

At that very moment I made the choice in my mind and in my heart to change. I wanted to work at what we had and not get back to what we once were, but better than what we were! As I consciously made that choice I instantly felt a little happier, even though I knew that it would take a lot of work and effort.  

Apologize for being so Distant and Cold.

For months I had been pretty distant from my husband and I think the more distant I became I naturally became cold to him. I was no longer the happy wife that was glad to see him when he came home from work or the one who sought out welcoming him home with a kiss after a long day. So that night I climbed into bed with tears in my eyes and apologized for pushing him away for so many months. This was a turning point for us falling back in love with one another.

Look for the Positive in All Things

I began to evaluate my life, not just my marriage and I came to realize that I had become fairly negative in general. I was negative about myself (my hair never looked good, my clothes were ugly), I was negative about things going on (the house was always dirty, the light was always red when I was running late), I was negative about my husband (he’s always late to everything, he works too much) and I realized that I had allowed that negativity to really affect my day to day life, especially with my marriage, so I decided that I needed to look for the positive things that were happening around me. I just refused to let negatively seep back into my life.

Stop Dwelling on What He Doesn’t Do, but Dwell on What He Does Do.

My husband is an amazing man. Every night he cleans up after dinner: he does most of the dishes, he sweeps the floor, and cleans the counters. I know many wives wish they had husbands like this, but I got caught up dwelling on the fact that he didn’t clean the pot that I left on the stove. So every night when he was done I would huff into the kitchen to clean the ONE pot that was not cleaned. I got so stuck on what he didn’t do rather than what he did.

I know that it is so easy to look at a situation and pick out what isn’t being done rather than what is, but this type of thing is harming to our relationship. Rather than saying, “my husband NEVER changes poopy diapers” say, “I am so grateful my husband changes some of the diapers to help me!” Rather than me saying, “my husband ALWAYS forgets to clean the pots,” I need to say, “I am so grateful that my husband helps me so much after dinner so I can get some other things done.” Dwell on what he does do rather than what he doesn’t do.

Appreciate the Small Things

In a world where we are all overscheduled and running around like crazy it is hard to appreciate the small things because we might begin to just expect them or we just overlook them because we are too busy! My husband a few times a week will just randomly send me a text that says, “I Love You!” Nothing more nothing less… I used to really appreciate these messages because I knew he was thinking about me right then and that he took the time out of his day to send it, but then I got to a point where I wasn’t as appreciative of them; it was sort of like oh that’s nice… “I love you too…” We need to appreciate these small things because as we appreciate them we can understand just how much our husbands love us!

Stop Being Offended All the Time

If you ask my husband I am the most sensitive person he knows. My husband loves sarcasm and I love to become offended by it… I realized to truly fall in love with my husband again I needed to be less sensitive when we are joking around. When I decided to do this, we became closer because he wasn’t afraid to say something that would cause me to not talk to him for several hours and I wasn’t looking for ways on how I could be offended.  

Put Your Husband First.

With so many kids and so many schedules this was one of the hardest things to do for me, but it is the most necessary when it comes to falling back in love. When we first got married we were able to still spend a substantial amount of time together just the two of us. He knew he was my number one priority, but over the years this shifted a bit. The little kids needed me more, the older kids had more activities that they needed to be driven too, my husband and my life got busier with various things and we were giving each other what was left, which equaled on average about 15 minutes a day. When I decided to put my husband first, we grew closer together. On busy nights I make one of his favorite dinners, rather than what the kids want. Rather than asking what the kid’s want to do after the yard work is done on Saturday I ask my husband what he wants to do. Rather than pausing a conversation we are having to answer one of the kid’s questions, I simply tell the kids to wait because we are talking. These simple things allow your spouse to know they are first in your mind.

Stop talking and Start Listening

As women we love to talk and we love to solve problems. My husband would come home from work and I would want to do all the talking, but I realized that in order to fall back in love I really needed to listen. I needed to listen to what he was thinking, feeling, and struggling with. This allowed me to have more compassion and love for him. It allowed me to understand better his snarkiness after a long day because he was stressed about a project happening at work.

Stop Comparing Him.

Comparison is an evil thing! It robs you of all your happiness and will eventually eat you up! Love your husband for who he is! Don’t wish he looked like your celebrity heartthrob or did things like “John Smith” down the street. Accept him for who he is and don’t look back.

Made Date Night a Priority.

Date night is now a necessary weekly event in our home, because Date Night is cheaper than Divorce! Date night allows us to reconnect after a busy week. It allows us to enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. It shows us that we are a priority to each other! And it shows our kids that our marriage is important as well! Date night for us is never super fancy, but it is our way of getting out and reconnecting as a couple.

 

Falling back in love is totally possible! I know because I have done it! Yes, it is hard at times because sometimes you think it is easier to just stay where you are, but I promise you that as you work on strengthening your relationship you will fall more in love than you were to begin with and in the end you will be so much happier!

So what do you say? What are you going to do today to fall more in love with your spouse?

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Marriage, parenting, Step Families, Stepmoms

It’s Going To Be Okay

Dear Bonus Mom,

We know you are out there! We know what you are probably thinking and feeling because we have been there too! We know at times you are depressed, burnt out, feeling like you are walking on eggshells in your own home, and most of all feeling like you don’t belong in a sea of other moms. we promise you, you are not alone!

Thanks to Hollywood when we hear the word stepmom we cringe. We instantly think of Cinderella and her evil step mother making her do everything for everyone, treating her horribly, and then locking her up in her room so she could not find happiness.

We know that’s not really how stepmoms are. We know there are people like you out there that put your stepkids ahead of your own happiness. We know that there are people like you who love unconditionally even though you feel like you get no love in return. We know that there are people like you doing everything for your family and getting none of the credit. We know that this is probably the hardest thing you have ever done in your life, but you wouldn’t change it for anything.

So in case someone hasn’t told you lately, Thank you!

Thank you for loving your bonus kids like your own. Thank you for taking on the hardest thing you have ever done in your life so your bonus kids can know what it is like to be raised in a home with parents that love each other. Thank you for being there for your bonus kids, even when it feels like you are the third wheel. Thank you for always looking for the good in every situation when it’s easier to look for the bad. Thank you for staying involved and trying your hardest to bond with your bonus kids. Thank you for having thick skin and a soft heart when it comes to being a bonus mom.

So next time it gets hard just remember, you are not alone. Next time it gets hard just remember everyday is a new day to try again. Next time it gets hard think about everything you have overcome and let that give you the strength to keep going. Next time it gets hard know there is probably another bonus mom out there struggling just like you. Next time it gets hard just remember it will all be worth it. Next time it gets hard remember it’s all going to be okay.

Love,

Another Bonus Mom

 

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baby, Marriage, parenting, relationship skills

4 Tips to Help Your Marriage Survive a New Baby

208 days ago my husband and my life changed once again when we welcomed by #5 into our home! I still remember those precious moments after Tony’s birth that I quietly got to spend with my husband. These moments in my eyes are some of the most special ones a couple can experience together sharing in the joy of this beautiful infant being brought into the world.

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After a day or two in the hospital you get to bring home this beautiful infant and you soon you realize that your entire lives have been turned upside down, caring for this infant who needs your attention around the clock. It is easy to get caught up in the taking care of the baby that you quickly forget about your relationship with your spouse and only focus on feeding schedules, lack of sleep, and the fact that you constantly smell like spit up, I get it! I’ve been there many times, we have a lot of kids.

I would have to say that having a new baby in my eyes is one of the hardest times (but yet one of the most special times) in your marriage just because of the hormones, lack of sleep, and trying to figure out how to get everything done. I think it is only natural that we quickly start replacing time with our spouse with infant feedings, diaper changes, and other necessary things we need to do for our baby. So how can we care for our brand new babies, but yet continue to focus on our relationship with our spouse?

I have discovered when I focus on a few small simple things that our relationship not only stays strong, but I also get more help with the baby and the other kids, bonus for me right?! So on to the tips that can help your relationship survive your new bundle of joy!

Appreciate the Little Things

It’s so easy after having a baby to go a little crazy! I mean think about it… lack of sleep, something literally always attached to you, hormone levels are all over the place, your hair is falling out making you wonder if you will wake up bald tomorrow, and the one thing you fear the most is that someone is going to come and get your baby sick and send you back to the hospital so you become a major germaphobe! With us, as moms, so caught up with all these things, it is so easy for us to forget about the diapers our husbands changed, the trips to the store he took to get more pads because we were leaking through every shirt we owned, or the fast food he picked up on his way home from work so we didn’t even have to think about who was going to clean up after dinner. Of course these things don’t go unnoticed by us, but sometimes we get so caught up in the moment doing other things that we don’t let our husbands know how much we appreciate them. We should take the time to verbally acknowledge how much we appreciate these small acts and let them know that they don’t go unnoticed.

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Connect Each and Everyday

I know what you are thinking! Trust me, I think it too! In fact, connecting each day is the last thing that I want to do, (If you don’t believe me, just read To My Husband), but it is necessary to continue to strengthen your relationship. So how can you do this when you can’t do certain things for 6 weeks according to the doctors? Well, of course there can be lots of kissing, hand holding, and back rubs, snuggling just the two of you in between all the cries from your newborn, late night feedings, and diaper changes.

After the 6 weeks are up, make time for your hubbies, we don’t want them to be grumpy. 🙂 I know you are tired, I know you don’t want to be touched, I know all you want to do is to go to sleep, but I promise taking this time with one another will 1. Put him in a good mood  2. Encourage him to help more and 3. Strengthen your relationship and show that the two of you are still important to one another!

So take a nap, when the baby sleeps (no one will know, I promise). Take a shower every couple of days and make sure to make your spouse a priority too!

 

Kiss Criticizing Goodbye

Ask my husband, I’m Queen Bee when it comes to criticizing, but with a new baby it is a learning experience for everyone so we need to kiss the criticizing Goodbye! With so many crazy baby things out there it is easy to be confused between bumbos and boppies. And who really remembers to point little boy parts down so you don’t get peed on at the 3am feeding? I am sure that your husband did not intend for your baby to pee through everything and on you in the middle of the night. Swaddling is an art and I’m sure you weren’t an expert the first time either, so let’s let him catch a break. So go easy on our spouses and kiss the criticizing goodbye and be grateful they are an active participant in your baby’s life trying to help make your life easier, even if it’s not the way you would normally do it.

It’s Not all About the Baby

I totally get that we all just got another demanding full time job (a newborn!), but I am going to let you in on a little secret… Ready for it? Your life doesn’t always have to revolve around that sweet little infant. Not everyone wants to hear what color their poop was that day, or that they were awake for 3 hours 26 minutes and 15 seconds. When your husband gets home from work really listen to what he is saying, rather than half listening and half thinking when the next feeding is and what side the baby needs to eat on… Let’s make sure we allow our spouses to feel important, even with our lack of sleep and engorged boobs.

With all this being said, babies grow up so fast, so soak up their smells and kiss that soft skin. Nurse them for a few minutes longer because those moments will quickly pass you by, but just don’t forget about your spouses in the meantime. Show your spouse’s how much you love them and how grateful you are for this life that you are building together.

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How are you going to show your spouse you appreciate them today?

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Marriage, My Life, remarriage

Cleave to Each Other

Learning to Cleave
As I walked up to the door I was nervous. I was meeting my future mother in law for the very first time. I knew she was concerned because we had only dated a short time. I had hoped she would like me that night to start our relationship off on a good note. I knocked on the door and the door opened. On the other side of the door was a perfectly dressed lady that looked like she had just stepped out of a Nordstrom catalog. The home was perfectly decorated as well. I smiled brightly and said, “Hi!” I recall her reaction as she observed my clothes I had carefully selected to wear that night and she with no smile at all responded, “Come in.”
I recall that night her not being very positive, but I kept giving her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she was just as nervous as I was. Throughout the night she had made several comments that didn’t sit well with me about her disapproval of our upcoming marriage and if I really knew who I was marrying. I was young and naïve and shrugged them off determined to have a good relationship with her. In one study 80 percent of couple’s marriages end in divorce when their marriage does not have the support of the parents of who they are marrying.

Continue reading “Cleave to Each Other”

Divorce, Marriage, married life, remarriage, Step Families

An Open Letter to the One I Love

So many years ago I hit rock bottom, divorced, going to school, raising two boys, trying to make ends meet, and wondering to myself how long this stage of my life would last. I remember like it was yesterday falling to my knees in prayer pleading with God that if he wanted me to get married again that he would literally have to drop someone in my lap because I didn’t have time and I certainly did not want to go through the “high school dating scene” again. That night my head hit the pillow and I dreamed a dream. I was standing on a cliff in a wedding dress marrying the man that would take care of me for the rest of my life.

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A few days later I met you, and at the moment I knew… I knew you were the man in my dreams that I had seen. You were the one that would pick up all my broken pieces and put them back together again. You were the one that would help me learn to trust and that I would give my whole heart to. You were the one that would be patient with me as I questioned everything. You were the one when I was finally ready to get married again you would be there.

We dated for several months, me playing the skeptic the whole time and looking for any red flag that I could and you still stood there silently waiting for me to be ready. You allowed me to question everything about you and about us. Many times I just wanted to give up and stop trying, because that was easy, but something greater than me told me to keep going and keep believing in the process of falling in love with you. I am so glad I listened…

Finally, one day I decided I didn’t want to ever live without you. I wanted to wake up with you next to me and go to bed with you by my side. I wanted you to always be there and share all of life’s joys and sorrows with me. The day you asked me to marry you was one of the best days of my life, because I knew you would always be there for me.

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Our wedding was small, but beautiful as our life began as one. Since then you have become my best friend and the one I truly love. You have helped me become a better person, a better mom, and a better wife. You have cheered me on with all my dreams and have been there to catch me when they don’t always work out. You have pushed me to try new things and and comforted me on my weakest days.

 

Married life hasn’t always been easy as we have blended our kids together and learned to merge parenting styles, but never once have I wanted to give up on you, or us, or our family because I know hard things are worth it! And let me tell you this life has been 110% worth all the tears, sleepless nights, and frustration to get where we are right now.

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We have come so far in 4 ½ years. We have probably grown as a couple more in this amount of time than most couples do in 15 years of marriage.  We have 5 of the most perfect children all unique and special in their own way. We have a love for one another that I never thought was possible. I have everything I have always wanted in life, because of you. Perfection is something that doesn’t exist, but let me tell you this life to me is perfect, because of you. You have provided, protected, and loved me and the kids unconditionally.

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I have learned more from loving you than I have learned doing anything else in my life.

Through the ups and the downs there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes there are more downs than ups, but those are the times where you learn to love more. You have taught me how to love more even through the most difficult of times. I have learned what unconditional love is from watching you with the boys.

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People in the world might look at our life and call it crazy, but I call it perfection. This life is my happy place. I would not trade away this adventure for anything. There was a reason God gave you to me… There was a reason one Summer night I saw the man I would marry in my dreams. I could not be more grateful and honored to call you my husband, to call you my best friend, and the one I get to spend forever with.

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Thank you for loving me, even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for picking me up when I fall. Thank you for supporting me through life’s toughest challenges. Thank you for keeping me on my toes with your sarcasm and your humor. Thank you for your compassion and love when I fall short of where I want to be. Thank you for your unconditional love you offer me and the kids. Thank you for your strength, your wisdom, and your charm that keeps me going everyday. I will always love you!IMG_4723

 

Love,
Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to the One I Love

 

 

 

 

forgiveness, Marriage, married life, My Life

What if It’s the Last Time?

As I was sitting earlier today with my husband before he had surgery I glanced over at him in between coloring with Talie and feeding Tony and saw him just staring at me with the most loving look with watery eyes… I said to him, “What are you doing because you are looking at me as if you will never see me again?” He smiles and said, “Just looking at you…” As we (the kids and I) left the hospital (yes, I have some wife guilt not staying with him, but with so many kids at home some things are just not possible) I began to think to myself, “What if this is the last time I saw him, would he know… and so many thoughts ran through my head….”

I hope he would know just how much I love him and how no one could ever replace him. I hope he would know that I think he is the most patient loving dad I have ever known. I hope he would know that not a day would pass that I would not think about him and miss him tremendously.I hope he would know that he is the best thing that ever happened to me… I hope he would know…

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I then began to think about all the little things that I made into big deals like the toilet seat being up, the dishes he put in the sink right after I just finished doing all the dishes, and amount of perfection he has on every project we do therefore it taking 5x as long… And thought are these things really that big of a deal that I should have spent those moments complaining to him about, rather than loving him for who he is?

I then thought if this was the last time I saw him I wished we would have snuggled more, laughed a little harder together, disagreed a little less; compromised a little more, dated more after having kids, and really enjoyed our time together so we had so many memories to look back on.

Thankfully this not the end for us… I get to pick him up in a few hours, and we get to continue to make memories and learn from the past to make the future brighter together. We get that… I am lucky, some are not so lucky where the last memory they have of their spouse is the fight over what to watch on TV or who left the shoes in the hallway that they tripped over, or some other small thing they wished now they would have never brought up.

Do we Spend our time...-2When it comes to our spouse, do we give them our best or what’s leftover after everything else we have done that day? Do we make the most of our time together or do we make it about who can be the most snarky or sarcastic to each other? Do we spend our time wondering if our spouse loves us or spend it showing them just how much we love them?

Let’s make our marriages more intentional where we love more and get offended less so if it was the last time, we would not regret the memories we have together. So when we want to get upset or mad just think to yourself, “What if it’s the last time?”

 

 

What if it's the last time?

Marriage, married life, Mom Life, My Life, parenting, relationship skills

To My Husband

To My Husband

To My Husband,

I promise it’s not you… It’s me…

You see it goes like this… All day and all night I am touched. My body is not my own right now. It seems our 4 month is always latched on or attached to me somehow and our two year old waddles behind me all day touching my bum and wanting up.

By the end of the day, I have been spit up on, barfed on, drooled on, had snot wiped on me, worn a little breakfast on my sleeve, and now am covered in dinner because someone was “helping me” all without a shower because I just didn’t have time in my day.

I have been pulled on, dragged by the hand to turn on the TV, laid on, and slept on since the moment I woke up this morning.

I don’t remember the last time I actually felt pretty because who feels pretty when they are pregnant and then after a baby you just still feel fat because nothing fits quite right. On top of that who has time to paint their nails, or shave their legs, or put on makeup or do their hair? Certainly not me…

By the end of the LONG day of taking care of kids the last thing I want is to be breathed on, touched, or laid on because I have been touched all day. My body is currently not mine. It is shrinking back to normal size as well as fulfilling the purpose of feeding our child.

Every morning when I wake up I make the decision that today is going to be the day when I show you all the affection in the world when you get home from work and I can show you just how much I love you, but then reality hits, and the last thing I want to do is show any more affection or stay up even one minute later after the kids go to bed because I am tired, mentally and physically.

So I ask you to please just be patient with me. Please continue to love me even when I push you away. Continue to take me on dates even though at first I complain that I have to put on real clothes. Continue to try to kiss me even though I turn my cheek the other way. Continue to grab my hand when you want me to hold yours… Continue to love me through this stage of our life.

I promise I want you to touch me and snuggle with me in bed and hear all about your day. I promise my love for you grows each and everyday, even though I might not always say it or show it. I promise my world would be incomplete without you in it. I promise I miss you when you are gone and can’t wait for you to come home each day. I promise that one day I will be back to wanting to be touched, wanting to hold your hand, and wanting to be constantly kissed by you. I promise I love you more than I can say and express, and one day when I feel like myself again I will show it. So in the meantime please know that I love you more than anything and just be patient with me.

Love,

Me