Google+ advice Archives - Page 5 of 5 - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Tag: advice

Good morning Belles! Today marks my 391st day of marriage – wow how time is flying these days! By no means do I consider myself a marriage expert, but having just passed the 365-day milestone and being someone who believes in a good + strong marriage, I do have a few post-newlywed hints to a happy marriage that I want to shout from atop the Blue Ridge Parkway; Emily graciously agreed to let me use my inside voice and share in print instead.

Byron Loves Fawn via 100 Layer Cake

Mercy, I loved planning every little piece of my wedding and swear to goodness that I would do it all over again, EVERY year, because I loved every minute of it. I loved it because of what it represented – the extremely intentional and heartfelt beginning to our married life. Planning for life post-marriage, alongside preparing all the little details for our wedding day celebration was extremely important to both of us.

By all means, marriage is hard work and takes serious effort, but it is so worth it. Kyle still might leave the toilet seat up on rare occasion (potentially dangerous in the middle of the night) and I may or may not occasionally hog the covers, but after nearly eight years of dating and one shiny year of marriage – we have some advice to share with those that are preparing to join in this crazy, fun adventure. So here are my 10 (+1) hints for a happy marriage:

Please note that this list is by no means all-encompassing – but rest assured these 10 (+1) ‘rules’ are well-tested and put into practice daily in our household. I am more excited than a pup with two tails to share some insight into each one of these rules over the next few weeks. I 100% believe that good marriage can change the world, and so I am committed to being that change, as well as helping y’all be the change, too.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from our married ladies: What are some of your hints for a happy marriage?

kristin Written with love by Kristin
  1. avatar Emily reply

    So good! I would say one of my and John’s hints for a happy marriage is something I learned from my parents: instead of “going halfway,” try to feel like you’re always going 90% of the way. It helps me to stop fretting about whether or not John is doing “his part,” and reminds me to always try and “outdo each other in showing honor.” So looking forward to this series!!

    • avatar Lauren reply

      Emily: Such great advice!

      Let me preface this with saying, I’m not married yet – will be this September. But I read marriage advice somewhere that said not to look at marriage as 50/50, but as 100/100 because at some point you or or spouse will not be able to give 100% and at that point the other one will be there to fill in the gap. I’m sure it was said much more eloquently wherever I read it, but it was such a lovely sentiment and has stuck with me.

      Loved this post Kristin! Looking forward to the follow-on! xx

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Lauren + Emily: Based on this conversation string, y’all are going to love ‘tip 9’. And thanks for the sweet thoughts. Excited to share some insight into a topic that really sets my heart on fire!!

      (And Lauren – congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Enjoy these last few weeks. Take some deep breaths and soak in this sweet time…)

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    I love this post so much, Kristin!! The way you entered into your marriage through your meaningful, intentional wedding, setting you up for a meaningful, intentional marriage is so inspiring. I’m filing this post away for the future! :)

  3. avatar Marissa reply

    I agree with Emily, I’m looking forward to this series as well! After nearly five (holy cow) years of marriage, I love continuing to learn ways to grow.

  4. avatar Melissa reply

    I love these! I am only 26 days into my new marriage, and it is wonderful seeing things that I believe to be essential foundation pieces, such the ones listed, reiterated. I think it would be precious to have these made into prints!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Melissa: Congratulations Mrs. Newlywed. Enjoy this ‘crazy, fun adventure’ that you have just started. Can’t wait to dig into this tips and share a bit more over the coming weeks. Big hugs!!!

  5. avatar Stephanie reply

    This was such a breath of fresh air! September bride here too, and I think in all the fury of wedding planning it’s good to see these reminders of why we wedding plan in the first place – to prep for MARRIAGE. I’ve been obsessing over mercury glass, burlap and bicycle crunches, so I often forget to step away and focus on the relationship I have with my wonderful fiancé and how to stay in love once the wedding is over. Thank you ladies!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Stephanie: This is music to my ears! Good luck with the final weeks of planning and preparations. And I would encourage you to go ahead and put some of this hints into practice pre-wedding…Enjoy those last few weeks by going on dates and taking some deep breaths! Big SW hugs!!

  6. avatar Laura reply

    We’re nearing the 1 year mark so I can’t speak from too much experience, but I definitely agree with #10. Sitting down and just talking about our day is one of my favorite things to do with my husband. If it was a great day, I love to share that with him and if it wasn’t so great, it always makes me feel better to talk it over with him.

  7. avatar Welcome To The Weekend – Elizabeth Anne Designs: The Wedding Blog reply

    […] Tips for a happy marriage. […]

  8. avatar Welcome To The Weekend – Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Tips for a happy marriage. […]

  9. avatar Week in Review: July 12-18, 2013 reply

    […] I’m not married, I think these hints for a happy marriage are a great read and a beautiful reminder for all relationships out […]

  10. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Keep Dating « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] date idea to share? Spill the beans! Have a fun date memory? We want to hear about it! P.S. Catch up on past hints here: #1, #2, #3! P.P.S. Lovely session by Jo Photo, one of our Blue Ribbon Vendors! […]

  11. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Making Laughter Happen – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] and after 30+ years of life and 13+ months of marriage, I couldn’t agree more!! My first hint for a happy marriage rule is all about making giggles, chuckles and belly laughs happen. Gracious me, I fully believe […]

  12. avatar Hints for a happy marriage » Pearls for Paper reply

    […] absolutely adore these helpful hints for a happy marriage that Southern Weddings put together. Such a great reminder for marrieds and almost-marrieds, […]

  13. avatar Printable Rules For A Happy Marriage | Online Marriage Advice reply

    […] Hints for a Happy Marriage – So here are my 10 (+1) hints for a happy marriage: Please note that this list is by no means all-encompassing – but rest assured these 10 (+1) ‘rules’ are well-tested and put into practice daily in our household. I am more excited than a pup … […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

Hi, ladies! Some of you long-time readers may remember our friend Katie, from the wonderful and hilarious blog Marriage Confessions (and some of you might just recognize Katie from MC, apart from SW!). Katie drops by to share her funny, smart, and poignant perspective on life after the wedding, and we know you’ll love her as much as we do!

It’s the start of another new year. I don’t know about you, but I have big plans for 2012. Big plans. I’m going to eat better, organize my linen closet, send birthday cards on time, get my oil changed before my husband lectures me about taking care of nice things… Big plans, I tell you. New Year’s resolutions are a great way to take a look at your life, reevaluate, adjust your priorities, set some goals, and move forward.

But aren’t those all things we should do in our marriages, too?

Each year, before we make our own New Year’s resolutions, my husband and I go out for a dinner date that we like to call the “State of Our Union.” During this meal, we set our goals and make our resolutions for our marriage in the upcoming year. It’s a time for us to talk about the past year, remember the good things that happened, reflect on the bad things, and pat ourselves on the back about how far we’ve come. It’s also a time for us to look ahead, too. Much like a business, a marriage needs a plan to be successful. Good marriages just don’t happen. They are the result of two people who have planned, worked hard, and set goals.

State of the Union talks aren’t as daunting as they sound. In fact, by the time our meal is finished, I feel really good about myself, my husband, and our family. If you’re looking to jump start your new year and your marriage, here are some tips for a successful State of the Union dinner:

1. Location, location, location – Be sure that you go out of the house somewhere for this discussion. For one thing, it keeps you from fighting about anything you might disagree on. You have to be polite and cooperative if you’re in public. Mostly though, going out to eat somewhere gives the dinner and conversation a sense of lightheartedness. Get dressed up, get a babysitter (if applicable), put on your favorite dress, wear his favorite perfume. It’s much easier to talk about your family budget if you look great, feel desirable, and are having fun. Also, be sure you pick a location that is conducive to enjoying yourselves and having an intimate conversation. For some, this might be a quiet booth at a sports bar and for others this might be a swanky hotel bar. Chris and I just went out to a quaint sushi restaurant on the beach for ours this year. Candle light on the table made even discussions about difficult subjects seem romantic.

2. Focus on certain topics – State of the Unions given by presidents are clearly organized, focused, and precise. State of the Unions given by married couples should be the same. This isn’t the time to drag every small issue in your marriage out of the closet. (That’s what holidays are for…just kidding…kind of…) This conversation should be focused on the big picture, not the nitty gritty. Topics that should definitely be discussed include:

a. Make a financial plan for the coming year. Include what you each prioritize for the coming year, goals you want to achieve, and a plan for how to reach those goals. If you have a major event coming up in the new year, such as a wedding or the birth of a baby, this is a good time to talk about how you’ll prepare for those things financially.

b. As uncomfortable as it sounds, you need to talk about how happy each of you were in the past year with your marriage. And then – this is equally, if not more important – you need to talk about why you felt that way. This doesn’t have to be an emotional or dramatic conversation, either. If you have trouble starting this part, ask your partner to score on a scale of one to ten how happy they were with your relationship last year. Then, talk about why they gave it that score. When you’ve talked about their view, give your own score and tell why. The point of this discussion isn’t to change each other’s mind or to point blame about anything. The point is to see where you are each starting the new year. You can’t move forward if you don’t know where the starting line is.

c. Set your priorities for the new year together. If one of you is thinking about how perfect the timing would be in the spring for a new baby and the other is thinking about how perfect the timing would be in the spring for a new roof, you’re going to have some issues. Having different priorities isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those priorities should be out on the table for everyone to see and work towards. So, talk about them. What do you want to accomplish that year together? If there are multiple goals, then what is the order of importance? You have a better success rate for reaching your goals if you are both working towards the same finish line.

d. Talk about mistakes you made in your relationship last year and how you can avoid them in the new year. We learn the best from mistakes – and, trust me, we all make mistakes in our relationships. But if we never pause to learn from those mistakes, then our relationships won’t grow. Maybe you’ve had a reoccurring fight that kept coming up in the past year, maybe you made a particularly bad decision about your marriage, or maybe you just had an overall trying year in your relationship… now is the time to talk about the causes of those issues and how you can both work better to solve those issues. This isn’t about rehashing the past, but more about recognizing weaknesses in your relationship so that you can strengthen them together. If you can’t have this discussion without fighting, then save this for its own conversation at a different time. State of the Unions should stay on topic and be polite and civil in order to be the most productive. While this topic is healthy to discuss and is an important part of moving forward, if it’s going to stop your conversation flow, then avoid it during your State of the Union dinner and focus on it at a later time.

No matter where you are, what you’re wearing, or what topics you decide to talk about, the overarching rule of State of the Union dinners is to listen. Listen to what your partner says. At our State of the Union dinner with my husband this year, he said that he needed more from me. It was hard to hear and I wanted to immediately snap back with a list of the times that I had needed more from him, too. But this dinner isn’t about pointing fingers or hurting each other’s feelings. It’s about really hearing the needs of your partner and voicing your own needs, and then it’s about making a plan to move forward and meet those needs. So, when my husband said he needed more from me, we spent a little bit talking about exactly what he needed from me. Was it more time? More chores? More effort? Turns out, he just needed more attention from me. He felt like I was giving it all to the kids and he was being left out. I would have never known he felt like that if I hadn’t stopped to really hear him. Now, that’s something that I can focus on changing in the new year.

I think for many married couples, we wait until there is a problem before talking about the state of our relationship, but that is being reactive in your marriage and not proactive. This year, as you kick off 2012 with resolutions of more time at the gym and more organized filing cabinets at work, be sure that you set some good resolutions to help move your marriage forward, too. Knowing the state of your union before the new year begins is the first step towards making this the best year yet!

Love all things Katie? Past columns for Southern Weddings:
Change is the Name of the (Newlywed) Game
My Wedding Registry Changed My Life
Working it Out With the In-Laws
Managing Your Money
Come on Baby, Light My Fire
On Moving

All photos by Oh, Darling! Photography. See more on their blog here!

Oh, Darling! is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Sierra
  1. avatar Taylor reply

    We have talked about having the “state of the union” talk at church!! My guy likes to call it our “romancipation proclamation” haha!

  2. avatar desiree reply

    what a great post!!! thanks so much for sharing. soon-to-be brides and grooms, listen up! it’s not all fairytales and flowers all of the time ~ but that’s okay! My favorite resolution quote is this, “If the grass looks greener on the other side, water your own lawn!!” :)

  3. avatar Candice reply

    Wow, great post. Sounds absolutely terrifying to try but a great way to anticipate and solve issues. I like the idea that this is proactive, not reactive.

  4. avatar Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner reply

    What a great idea! We are very proactive about our conversations, but sounds like a great excuse for a date night :) It is definitely important to remember to listen to each other!

  5. avatar Jen reply

    This is an awesome post! I had been thinking about discussing resolutions with The Hubs this year and this is the perfect format for us to do it with. I’m going to share this with my friends because I think it sounds like something that would be extremely beneficial for all couples!

    Thanks so much for putting this together with such detail! :-)

  6. avatar Sharlee reply

    Great ideas, Katie! I love this! I just told my husband I’d like to start doing this. It sounds like a good way to start the new year. I agree that setting goals/achieving them together helps you to grow together as a couple.

  7. avatar JenniferLO reply

    What a great post! Something every married (or soon to be married) couple should read!

  8. avatar Nikki reply

    Great idea, Katie! I can’t wait to bring this up to the Hubs and get to work setting up a “State of Our Union” dinner soon! My goal is to not become defensive and really listen to my Husband’s needs. Thanks again!

  9. avatar Meghan reply

    Love, love, love this post! Hubs and I try to have this conversation every once in a while, but it’s usually at home and we end up getting distracted and/or nitpicking about other things. I’m right there with you on feeling the urge to just snap back sometimes :) I really appreciate the advice and look forward to planning something like this with my hubby.

  10. avatar Katherine reply

    This is a great post! It makes me feel excited to talk through things with my S.O. a little differently than we might have in the past! Plus date nights are always great :) Thanks Katie!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

Over the past few months, the Southern Weddings team has been going through a lot of changes. We launched a new magazine, Emily’s older sister got married, I got married, Lara set off an a cross-country tour and –oh, yeah – we launched a new, kick-butt site. (We hope you’re loving it, by the way!) With our an all-new site finally live + taking over the blogosphere, and a brand new year quickly approaching, it seemed time to bring back fan-favorite Katie Brown of Marriage Confessions.

You may remember Ms. Brown from SW 1.0: Katie was the feisty redhead who offered sage marriage advice and happily answered readers’ burning questions about life after the “I dos,” all with her trademark wit and good humor. Her topic this month? Yep, you guessed it: change.

Question:  What is the best piece of marriage advice you can give a newlywed couple?

I get emails a lot from readers asking me what my best piece of advice would be for a newly married couple.  This is one question I never have to think too hard about.  If I could only give one piece of advice, it would be to expect change.

If there’s anything that is certain about the newlywed period, it is that you’ll go through a lot of changes.  From major changes such as relocating in order to be together to minor ones like splitting holidays between families, change is the name of the newlywed game.  And (here’s the part I’m just now learning) it doesn’t just stop after the first couple of years.  Indeed, change isn’t just part of being a newlywed, it’s part of being a married couple.

My husband, Chris, and I have been married for six years.  In that time, we have both gone to graduate school, bought a house, sold a car, bought a car, had a baby, landed several killer jobs, and, just this past summer, moved across the country, started new jobs, and got pregnant for the second time.   Change has become second nature to me now, and if I’ve learned anything about dealing with change in your marriage, it is how important trust becomes in the middle of all that transition.

When I first got married, I thought trust meant whether I trusted my husband around beautiful, buxom blondes.  But as our marriage continues to grow, I am finding that trust involves so much more than just loyalty.  This past summer after six years of marriage, trust took on a whole new meaning for me in my marriage.  Trust in my marriage now means trusting that when Chris and I go through changes as a couple, we go into those new situations hand-in-hand, confident in each other’s judgment and decision-making abilities.

When Chris and I had our first baby, Michael, we lived thousands of miles away from family.  Though we loved our life where we were, I started to miss our family back home.  I wanted our son to grow up with grandparents at his birthday parties and family members cheering for him at his soccer games.  Michael started hitting fairly small milestones (rolling over, sitting up by himself, throwing golf balls at our dogs, etc.) and all I could think about was how much I wanted our family to experience these things with us.  After a few months of thinking through it myself, I finally got up the courage to ask Chris what he thought abut leaving the life we had made for ourselves as a couple and moving closer to family again.

I was shocked at how easily Chris came around to the idea.  He needed some time to think it over for himself, just like I had done, but in the end it was only a few days before he decided moving back was the right decision.   And now that we had a child, decision-making in our marriage meant making decisions that are best for our family, and not just the best for each other.

Moving back to Florida from Connecticut was one of the hardest decisions that Chris and I had ever made together as a couple.  Truth be told, it is one of the hardest things that we have ever faced together as a couple.  Adjusting to a new life together while mourning the loss of the life we had built was a delicate and sometimes unsteady balance.  But in those times when I really doubted if we had made the right decision, it was my husband who took my hand and reminded me that trusting each other meant trusting our ability to make really difficult decisions.  It meant trusting that when I was too nervous or anxious or scared about everything that was going on around me, that Chris would still be there holding my hand until we were on firm ground again.

This past summer when we moved and things were changing for our family faster than a Carrie Underwood costume change, I remember thinking that I just couldn’t handle anything else.  One more major life change and I would reach my breaking point.  And then the next morning I took a very unexpected, positive pregnancy test.

Chris just took my hand, smiled at me, and said, “Did you ever think this is where we would be in our lives? Was this part of your master plan?”

As I tried to hold back tears of panic, I whispered, “No, this was not part of my plan.”

Chris pulled me close, “Good,” he whispered. “Because I like this plan much better.”

Change happens in all marriages.  It’s good for you.  It’s healthy.  And if you trust the person standing by your side, then that change will bring you all kinds of surprises and unexpected treasures along your journey together.

Although, I would try to save the unexpected pregnancy surprise for a little later in the marriage.  It’s a doozey…

Katie + her hilarious (and quickly-growing) family will be back next month. Until then, keep up with the Browns at Marriage Confessions! Have a question Katie needs to answer? Leave a comment or shoot her an email.

Written with love by Katharine
  1. avatar Kelly Sauer reply

    omigoodness – I absolutely cried at Chris’s response to that positive test. We’ve had two surprises in five years of marriage, and my husband is totally that cool – it just brought everything back!

    Beautiful post, beautiful, beautiful. I wish I’d had this advice before I got married!

    • avatar Erin reply

      Kelly Sauer: I started crying too! Such an incredibly sweet, loving response <3

  2. avatar Erin reply

    I LOVE this article. What an honest, positive look at tackling some seemingly scary subjects. As a soon-to-be married lady, it’s nice to know that there’s a lot, lot, lot of things to look forward to post-wedding.

    Thanks for posting and I’m looking forward to another article next month!

  3. avatar Megan (Best of Fates) reply

    Expect change – pretty great overall life advice.

    Except when it comes to the deliciousness of cheese.

    That, I have faith, will never change.

  4. avatar Sonya reply

    Great advice! This is terrific for everyone to read.

  5. avatar Confessions of a Young Married Couple: On Moving « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] check out her blog, Marriage Confessions, here, or check out her past columns for Southern Weddings here, here, here, here, and here. Have a question for Katie? Feel free to email her! xo Emily July […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: