I think it is safe to say that I have a happy marriage. It wasn’t always like that – believe me. Bill and I have had a few ups and downs over the years. But after settling down with number three, we finally found our groove. Sure, we have some off days. What couple doesn’t? However, overall I can say with absolute certainty that we are both happily married to one another. 16 years and counting. During those darker years, I would turn to the Internet to seek advice. I would try to read personal blogs about how couples got through their difficult patches. It eased my worries because I knew that if someone out there was able to get through the chaos, then there was a chance that I could as well.
So, I suppose this blog post is for anyone out there who maybe isn’t where they want to be at this very moment. Perhaps they want just a little bit more from their spouse and are seeking guidance on how to have a happy marriage. I’m no therapist by any means, but I will say that the little things truly do add up. Here’s what Bill and I do to keep the love alive.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Affection Is Key My daughter is always grossed out by us. She is 12 and has a ton of questions about the “birds and the bees.” So, when she sees her father kissing me as I whip them up dinner, she verbally sighs or leaves the room. That doesn’t deter us. Not only do I want to show my daughter what a healthy marriage looks like, but I want to connect with my husband as many times as I can throughout the day. A little kiss on the cheek can truly go a long way.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Date Night This was an easy one, right? You knew I’d say this! Get a sitter and hit the road. Even if it’s just for a quick bite to eat without the kids. Before we became parents, my husband and I would go to a matinee movie every single Saturday morning – like clockwork. I am a movie FANATIC. So, it was my absolute favorite activity. Now, we can’t find the time on the weekends! We have to schedule in dates whenever we can. But we DO and that’s what counts. Sure, it’s not every weekend… but there’s always something on the calendar and that matters.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Surprise Each Other For my husband’s 40th birthday, I took him to Ireland with a pair of very good friends. He had NO CLUE it was coming and it was fantastic. He is of Irish decent and always wanted to see the country. So, I granted his wish. It was a birthday he will never forget.
In case you are wondering, he surprised me the very next year with a trip to Spain for my 40th. SO, it goes both ways in our house. And also… in case you can’t see a pattern, travel is probably the most important activity for me to do outside of being with my family. Nothing beats stepping foot on foreign grounds.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Put In The Time I met this fool in college. He was a mess. A comedian. A punk. I don’t know why he was so appealing to me? To be honest with you, I had just come off of a two-year dating FREEZE. I didn’t date anyone while in college because I was so DAMAGED by a terrible relationship from four years prior. I needed alone time and I took it. Not one single soul. My friends thought I was crazy because I was missing out on the “college experience”, but I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Then I met Bill and he just made me happy. I let him in and here we are. 20 years later. Thank God I did.
Every day is another day added to our memory list. Even if we do nothing but sit on the couch and play with our kids. Time is very powerful. Give it time.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Forgive Seriously. Let it go. Whatever it is. We were both holding onto so many things over the years that we actually had to have a sit down a while back and consciously let it all go. We forgave one another and continue to do so when we make mistakes. Like this fish tank that I bought last Black Friday for cheap but without reading the fine print. I thought it was going to fit on our kitchen counter. $800 later we have a filled aquarium. WHAT A MESS! Every three weeks, my husband has to empty the water and put new water in. He HATES DOING IT OMG, but he forgives me for the purchase each and every time. In fact, we laugh about it. Ok, I laugh about it.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Take Adventures I brought my family to Malta a few summers ago and told them how I grew up going cliff diving in the sea. Of course, when I was younger, I had less fear. My cousins and I would jump from rock heights that you wouldn’t believe! Returning as an adult, I just couldn’t muster up the courage! But we did all do a few 25 feet drops or so. Little things like this create a bond. I spent every summer of my childhood doing just what Natalie is doing in this picture and now we all talk about it as a family. Memories are like glue. Memories of adventures are rock solid.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Be Passionate About Something I have a job that I LOVE. I continuously get to do new things and go on amazing adventures. And you know what? It has absolutely nothing to do with my husband. That is so important. I am my own person. He is his own person. Oh and Chris Pratt, if you are reading this, please know that I will leave him in a hot second for you. So, just say the word. Just kidding. (I’m not kidding, Chris).
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Honor One Another’s Hobbies/Interests Ok, we don’t have many hobbies. But I will tell you that I love watching Horror / Sci-Fi / Superhero stuff. And my husband doesn’t say a word about it. He sits right next to me on the bed and watches whatever horrific tale I pull up on the TV. I’m sure that he’d prefer to watch sports or politics, but he doesn’t. He lets me watch all the demonic tales I want and I am so happy for it. He just wants to spend time with me and it doesn’t go unnoticed. If you think I am kidding about my viewing habits, just look at how Netflix shows up for me. LOL! Not a comedy in sight.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Have Your Own Set Of Friends You can’t just be each other’s everything. That isn’t healthy! You need a tribe of girls and your husband needs a tribe of guys and each of you have to go out every once and a while without one another. It’s ok. No one is going to cheat. No one is going to do anything inappropriate. It’s totally FAIR for him to go and have a beer with his buddies at a bar. Next week, you pick what you want to do! Take turns. Pick some outlets. Last May, I went to the Atlantis with some of my friends. It was the first time that I ever took a vacation like that and it was so FUN. I would never do it more than once a year… but I have to be honest with you – I needed the time in the sun.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Understand The Word No I work with YouTube. No, literally. I’m on their Parent Panel. For some time, I was trying to do daily videos of my family and Bill absolutely hated it. Even though it would have been GREAT for my BLOG… it was hurting my marriage. He did not like all the exposure and I had to respect that. So, I stopped them completely. Now, I really don’t do many videos at all of our family. Just a lot of Instagram stories because they are short and sweet and get deleted in 24 hours. Most don’t include my husband if you hadn’t noticed. I didn’t want to fight him for a daily VLOG because it’s not more important than my marriage. Nothing is.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Have Lots Of Sex (Mom look away) I thought this picture would be good for this section because I paid someone to draw me as a superhero and this is what I got back. I was like… I didn’t say PORN SUPERHERO. My goodness! Look at those ba-zonkers! Out of control.
Anyway, listen. Have sex – all the time. I’m not saying every single night because sometimes life gets in the way, but aim for as much as possible. Do it. Even if you are tired, shake it off. Your marriage needs it. I don’t want to write too much in this section because my children are older now and they might stumble upon this post one day. But hear what I am saying. Read between the lines and take what you want. Have sex. In fact, have sex tonight. And while you are at it, text your husband right now that you want to have sex with him later. Make him aware that you are thinking of him. Don’t you feel good when you know he is thinking of you? This is so important. End of section.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Notice The Little Moments We were sitting at a Greek restaurant and the kids were being loud and crazy. I was trying to eat my food and hold onto my sanity. I looked up and saw Caleb hugging Bill. It was such a beautiful moment. And it was my moment. Two only children who had three babies to love. Surrounded by joy and laughter. I took this picture because I didn’t want to forget it. Our children love my husband. And I am so thankful for it. My father isn’t in my life. So, maybe this means more to me than it would to others. I don’t take this for granted. Not one second…because I don’t have it. Thank God my children do.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Always Be A Couple Here we are in Spain. Every night, we went for a walk together with the kids after dinner. They would run ahead and play tag while Bill and I would stroll behind them sharing a gelato while holding hands. We always sat next to one another while out to eat. He even gets a little frisky if the timing is right. The kids see two people very much in love and I am so thankful for it. I am their mother but I am also his wife and I proudly wear both hats.
How To Have A Happy Marriage: Cave In Sometimes: I don’t really like going into the city anymore. It’s funny because I am FROM NYC and have only lived on Long Island for ten years. But, after 9/11 something really changed for me. The experience has been totally ruined. I get afraid every time I drive through the tunnel. I know it’s crazy but I am being 100% honest with you. I no longer enjoy attending events. I get invited to about 4 CRAZY events a week. Premieres, launches, press previews. You would DIE if you saw my inbox. But I turn down everything unless it’s a gig because I can’t imagine going into the city unless I absolutely have to these days. I need to see a therapist and that is the God honest truth. But my husband…he loves the city. So sometimes, I suck it up. I hold my breath. I say a little prayer to Jesus and I let it all go. For him. Because it’s something he loves to do. And while I would prefer not to, I have to do it for my husband.
Look, there is a part of my brain that knows nothing is going to happen to me. I just lean on that part a little harder while we are walking the streets. It’s so horrible that this is who I am now. I grew up running all around Manhattan. I can tell you 1000 stories – all good ones. But there’s one story that trumps them all. And me working downtown at the center during the aftermath did NOT help my cause. 8 months of all of that was enough to drive anyone mad. But like I said, for him, I let it go. And that’s a BIG thing to let go. So, if your husband likes baseball and you don’t – just go to a game every now and then. If your husband wants to go visit his mother and you absolutely cannot stand her, just get in the car. It’s ok. One day for him. You can do it. We all can.
Ok – those are my happy marriage tips! Do you have any that you’d like to share? Would love to hear!!