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Picture this: you sit down to supper with your sweet spouse, put your napkin in your lap and prepare to dig into homemade chicken pot pie and a fresh garden salad with mason jars full of sweet tea… and two pretty cellphones on the side. This seems to be a standard menu these days, right? Welcome to our discussion about the hint we almost dubbed “Put Down Your Technology.”

After an extensive discussion with my other half, we decided that “Being Present” better encompasses the technology giant that prances around in the background of our day-to-day as well as the over-arching idea of taking a step back and appreciating life at it happens. These days, those two ideas often go hand in hand.

Before we begin, full disclosure: both my husband and I fail at this hint on a regular basis, which is probably why we think it’s so important. With our numerous responsibilities and multiple connections through social media, it’s not easy for us to unplug, and I don’t think we’re alone in this.

Here’s the struggle for us all: Technology is necessary. When used properly, it can be a huge blessing. We are currently living long distance from family and friends, which is made easier through phone calls and FaceTime, emails and Facebook. Plus, when lots of people our age don’t have a landline, our cell phone functions as an emergency contact, making us more hesitant to stash it away for hours at a time. However, we have to remind ourselves that this doesn’t give us an excuse to be nose-in-a-cellphone and slurping spaghetti at the dinner table instead of engaging in actual conversation with the person in front of us. It also doesn’t give us an excuse to take 311 photos on a hike then miss the sunset at the top of the mountain because we’re too busy trying to pick the perfect image to instagram. Ouch.

Making memories is about intentionally being present. As hard as it is to imagine, there was a time in OUR lives when we didn’t have such amazing technology but were still somehow able to remember, and even share, everyday moments.

To tackle these technological challenges and assist us with intentionally “being present,” Kyle and I have put a few policies in place. We have regular technology-free dinners, and we charge our phones outside the bedroom at night. We work to be purposeful about turning our computers off after working hours, and we set boundaries with social media. We work at these strategies, but are admittedly far from perfect. We keep trying, though, because we feel they’re essential to the health and longevity of our relationship.

Today’s summary? Make room for conversation. Sit down and look at each other face-to-face and have a real, live conversation. Go and make a memory. Unplug your technology and tune into your relationship. I promise you won’t miss out, and you might be surprised by what you’re able to experience when you’re genuinely ‘being present.’

How do you unplug? How are you deliberate about being present in your relationship? Share your hints and tips below. I’d love to learn from you!

P.S. Catch up on past hints here: #1, #2, #3 and #4!

All photos by Kt Crabb, one of our delightful Blue Ribbon Vendors. See them all in this Facebook Friday feature!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Take a Deep Breath | Southern Weddings reply

    […] P.S. Catch up on past hints here: #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5! […]

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!

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October 21, 2004 was my half birthday, and it also happened to be the day that was supposed to be my first date with my future husband. He was going to take me to the NC State Fair to eat cotton candy, nibble ham biscuits and visit the farm animals. Unfortunately, I woke up on that fateful Thursday morning with a dreadful 102 degree fever and a throat that felt as if I had swallowed a bucket of nails. One trip to student health later and a diagnosis of strep throat in hand, we spent our first “date” on my sofa, watching the state fair coverage on the news. He did bring me cotton candy and diet coke to make me “feel better,” and we managed a first date redo a few days later. The rest, as we now know, is history.

I am convinced that this next hint for a happy marriage is one of the most important, potentially the most fun, and likely the one that’s most easily pushed aside. Hint #4: Keep Dating. As in, continue to carve out dedicated, uninterrupted time to invest in one another; forever and ever, amen.

Y’all, dating is so important. You really got to know your sig-o by going on dates, having adventures and spending quality time together, right? It’s where you learned about his favorite foods, he learned about your love of all things monogrammed and the two of you started to form a bond stronger than pecans and sweeter than honey. Unfortunately, after marriage (and even while planning a wedding), life gets busy, and suddenly there doesn’t seem to be time to dedicate to uninterrupted quality togetherness. The pressure of life starts to overwhelm the calendar and that sweet regular date night is the first thing to go.

I would argue that you must make dating a priority because it’s a simple way to remind yourself why you started this whole marriage journey in the first place: a way to connect to your spouse and continue to get to know him and fall in love. Continuing to date, on purpose, gives you a chance to break away from the busy and focus on what really matters.

Dates don’t have to be fancy. They don’t have to be all-day affairs. They just need to involve you, your other half and limited unnecessary distractions (insert cellphones here). Certain dates and adventures become lifelong favorite memories just because they are with the one that has your heart, and the accumulation of those memories and experiences is what enriches a relationship over a lifetime.

Kyle and I both have busy careers and other important commitments, and we haven’t added the complication of littles to the mix quite yet. I can imagine this hint will only get trickier to execute with time, but continuing to date is something I am fiercely passionate about, and plan to fight tooth and nail to maintain no matter what life throws our way.

For us, date night is occasionally getting dressed up and trekking to our favorite Southern eatery tucked up a windy road from our house. They have great live music on the weekends, to-die-for grits of the day and provide a sweetly Southern atmosphere for an intimate and cozy dinner conversation. Other times it’s strolling downtown to grab frozen yogurt and snag a bench outside to sit and chat. No matter what we do, if we are doing it together, in an effort invest in each other and our relationship, it makes more difference that we can quantify. After all, why on earth would we stop doing something we LOVED doing before we got married?

I asked the SW gals about their favorite date memories (big or small). Lara loves visiting Fearrington Village and the beltie cows with Ari! Nicole’s most favorite date with her beau was an spontaneous Fourth of July adventure to the coast for a picnic and a day of catching rays. Marissa reminisced about a day spent playing hooky from school, riding roller coasters and giggling her way through Universal Studios with BDK. Lisa has the sweetest memories of her first camping adventure with her cute beau and his family. And Emily loves going to outdoor movies with John — they’re usually less than $5 per ticket (or free!), and they can bring along a picnic supper. From once-and-a-lifetime visits to amusement parks to regularly visiting the Fearrington cow, regardless of the details, the most important part is that memories are made and quality time invested.

So I am extending a challenge to each one of you. Join the Keep Dating movement. Take turns planning dates. Get creative and see what you can dream up. Make a date jar full of ideas and keep it on your counter. Be committed and block off your calendars. I promise that the time invested in planning and participating in the Keep Dating movement is so worth it!

Have a creative 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! See more from this session in our Facebook Friday series!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
  1. avatar Samala C. reply

    I loved reading this! I could not agree with you more regarding setting that special time together. Having been married and divorced with 3 children, it was a lot harder when the kids came into the picture. But kids or no kids, making one another a priority will keep you both rediscovering why you grew to love one another, and give you more reasons to keep the love alive!

  2. avatar Madi Reid Sanders reply

    Sig-O! Love it! Great post Kristin!
    Sending BIG southern hugs!

  3. avatar Stephanie Huxter reply

    GREAT post Kristin!! Oh we are so passionate about this subject! Life is busy for all of us, but dating our spouse really does need to be a BIG priority! It’s the way we stay connected, in love, and on the same page. When your marriage is happy and good, other priorities in life seem to fall in place. Our favorite date night – having a fire pit in the back yard with a bottle of red wine! All of our life, dream, funny conversations seem to happen there! Cheers to the Keep Dating Movement!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Stephanie! Am I allowed to invite myself (and Kyle) over for a double-date in your backyard? It sounds dreamy!!

  4. avatar Brittany Lott reply

    This is so sweet and absolutely 100% true! It is so important to invest quality time and effort into your marriage.

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Brittany!! Yes, yes, yes! I couldn’t agree more. Quality time is so important.

  5. avatar keep dating | Piwo z Lody reply

    […] am not married, duh, but read this “tip for a happy Marriage” that said to keep dating.  I thought that it was sweet. I […]

  6. avatar Jessie at Gramercy Studio reply

    I loved reading this post & totally agree. Dating (and engagement) are really special times not to be rushed through. It is easy when you know you found the one to neglect this time – but it is really precious and should be enjoyed. I believe taking the time to work through things and learn about each other when dating relieves a lot of tension and fear when you do get married.

    Lovely post and VERY lovely photographs. You are stunning!

  7. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Get Away – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] rejuvenate you. Put some of those past hints in action: laugh out loud, put down your cellphone, go on a date. The WHOLE point of this hint is to recharge your batteries and to take time AWAY from the daily […]

  8. avatar Hints for a Happy Marriage: Take a Deep Breath – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] I, and even for our future children. I long for dinners eaten at our table (more on this later), date nights, and the occasional lazy Saturday morning sipping coffee in our pajamas. So, I try my hardest to […]

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!

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Hi y’all!! With all the excitement and busyness of V6, I seem to be crafting these sweet marriage hint posts in unusual locations these days. This week I collected my thoughts behind the scenes at our shoot in Chapel Hill. I got a chance to talk all things marriage with a room full of sweet girls, all of whom provided unique and precious outlooks – quite appropriate for this week’s hint.

Thus far, we have tackled hints one and two and today we are swapping shoes!! This doesn’t mean literally trying on each other’s shoes, though the thought of Kyle in my monogrammed Jack Rogers does make me giggle. We are talking about perspective. In other words, how does this situation look from your spouse’s side of the hen house?

Why is this important? Appreciating where the other person is coming from can go a long way. Whether you are trying to make date night plans, pick out a new sofa or decide where you are spending Christmas, ‘putting on your spouse’s shoes‘ gives you a chance to take a step back and open yourself to a better understanding and the opportunity to open the door to compromise.

It could be something as simple as a household chore. I am a ‘make the bed every day’ kind of gal because I feel that it helps start the day off one the right foot. If no one ever visited, Kyle would rarely make the bed because — from his point-of-view — you rumple the covers and climb in at night so why waste time making it up in the morning? After hearing my viewpoint, Kyle graciously joined team ‘make the bed every day’. [Note: I have tried to join team ‘squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube’ because KPW presented a strong position after we started sharing toothpaste. My other compromise is to buy separate tubes ;)]

I can think of a heap of other topics we have successfully navigated, both big and small, by trying on each other’s shoes. It is amazing what a dose of perspective can do for a situation. Conceding isn’t always easy or necessary, but if you swap shoes, at the very minimum you open things up to healthy conversation. And might I remind you to use your words ;)

With that, we continue on our quest to change the world one good marriage at a time, with laughter, communication and perspective under our belts. Sound off below and share what you have learned by ‘putting on your spouse’s shoes’!

PS: You can catch the intro to all 10 + 1 hints here

P.P.S. See more from this sweet engagement shoot by Dixie Pixel in our Facebook Friday feature! Dixie Pixel is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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!

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