My Top Piece Of Advice After 10 Years Of Marriage

Today, Ben and I have been married for 10 years!

It simultaneously feels like forever AND just yesterday...it truly truly has just gotten better and better and I feel so blessed. I say it all the time - I'm like a broken record - but I feel so lucky to have met the love of my life at such a young age. You can read our love story here!

I thought in honor of hitting the 10 year mark, I'd share my number one piece of marriage advice. Now, I in no way think I'm an expert - but I do feel very proud of my marriage and I do have a big piece of advice that I think is worth sharing. When I've told people what I'm about to share, they often brush it off or don't quite understand what I mean. So I'll explain.

Because in my opinion, it's the most important thing you can do to cultivate a healthy, happy marriage full of unity and respect. Here it is:

Look for the GOOD in each other.

Ok. So, this sounds simple. This sounds like...no big deal. But it's actually very hard. Let me explain.

I feel like a very common thing is to see spouses LOOKING for things to be annoyed about, or upset by, or to be angry about. They are LOOKING to be let down. They are ASSUMING that their spouse is acting from a selfish place, or a careless place. They INTERPRET actions or words as something negative or bad or careless or insignificant. It can be an easy trap to fall into.

For example:  let's say your husband leaves a mess in the kitchen after fixing himself a snack.

It could be easy to see it this way: he is careless, he's messy, he doesn't even consider the fact that I'm going to end up cleaning this up, he ASSUMES I'll clean up after him, he doesn't appreciate me, he is lazy, etc... etc... etc...

BUT, if you are looking for the GOOD in your husband, you will see the situation from a place of love. Your husband's strength may not be in tidying up - he may not care about it as much as you do...and that's ok! If YOU care, you can clean it up. Or you could ask him if he wouldn't mind helping you out by cleaning up after himself when he gets a chance. You can choose to see the situation in a positive light - maybe it's endearing that your husband is messy. Maybe that's a part of who he is - and you love him! So you accept that!

Or, another example: Your baby has a poopy diaper. You are tired and you feel like you always change the diapers. You wait for your husband to take the initiative and change the diaper. But he doesn't.

It could be easy to see it this way: Your husband is purposefully ignoring a necessary task, he's expecting you to change the diaper, he's not taking responsibility, he's not helping, etc...

BUT, looking for the good in your husband, you could understand that since you DO change most of the diapers, your husband has every right to assume that you are just going to change this one. If you want some help, simply ask - in a nice and respectful way.

These are just two examples where I feel like I've seen spouses react in a way that seems as if they ASSUME THE WORST from their spouse. Doing this breaks down respect on BOTH sides.

You will see what you look for. So look for the GOOD!

The way I look at it is this: Ben is my husband. He is the GREATEST man and husband in the world. He is sweet, loving, smart, brave, hard-working, funny, honorable, humble, devoted...the head of our house, my best friend, my life-long team mate, the father of my children.

It's easy for me to see the good in him! BUT, even in situations where we may disagree, or where we may have a mis-communication, I always stop and LOOK FOR THE GOOD. I try to see where he is coming from in the best possible light. I will stand up for him, have his back, show him respect, fight FOR and ALONGSIDE him, until the end. Because he's mine. My other half. My perfect match. Every situation, I approach from this perspective. Ben and our marriage come first. They are the cornerstone, the foundation, and the base camp. He is my person. I see the good in him. Always.

It's about loyalty. It's about seeking out the BEST in YOUR better half. It's about making your team the BEST it can be by viewing and treating your significant other with respect and with trust and with KINDNESS.

I NEVER speak badly about Ben to ANYONE. Not that I would ever have a reason to. But in general, I don't buy into women (or men, for that matter) bashing their spouse to their friends or family. As a married couple, YOU are one. YOU are a team. YOU deal with your issues or concerns amongst YOURSELVES. YOU show your spouse the respect of not speaking about them behind their backs. By focusing on the negative and discussing annoyances and problems with others, you are weakening the strong front of your relationship with your spouse. It's YOU TWO against the world.

Or, at least, that's how Ben and I see it. :)

Anyways, I'll stop there. I feel so strongly that there is a huge lack of respect and the seeking out of GOOD within marriages. I hope this post makes sense and that it is helpful in some way to at least ONE person.

In my opinion, a marriage is the most important relationship of a person's life. Everything else revolves around that union. Love, look for the good, respect, work together, trust, encourage, compliment, listen, forgive... cliche, but so so important.

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Mommy Monday: 21 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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My kimono is from Pinkblush - they have so many cute ones!! Click here to see all the kimonos

Happy Monday! 21 weeks already...wow!

Today, my dad asked me what I was doing at this time during my last pregnancy, and it got me thinking. My pregnancies have been so different - thank God.

During my last pregnancy, at 21 weeks I had been on bedrest for one week and we were all holding our breaths, holding out for viability at 24 weeks. You can read my 21 week blog post from my first pregnancy here.

It's pretty emotional and surreal thinking back on all that we went through last time around. I am so incredibly thankful for how well this pregnancy is going. I seriously can't stop thanking God for letting me experience a "normal" pregnancy! I pray that it continues going as smoothly as it has thus far!

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On Saturday night, Ben and I had a date night! It was a blast. We went to this super fancy restaurant and it was just a really special, fun night. Our dinner reservation was for 8:45pm and it was a serious STRUGGLE to stay awake, haha. But we made it and had such a wonderful time. I love that man so much!

My dress is from Ingrid & Isabel, but it's no longer in stock. Click here for a similar one, and click here for a similar sleeveless version. I also LOVE this one.

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Now for my 21 week survey:

How far along: 21 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I have no idea! I have my next doctor's appointment next week, so I'll update then!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pinkblush and Target are my go-to!

Stretch marks? Yeeeessss...trying to embrace them! haha

Sleep: I've been a bit restless, so not great!

Best moment this week: Date night!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much! :)

Food cravings: Muffins! Baked goods!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: Boy! Yay!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! But also grumpy. haha

Symptoms: RESTLESS LEG - it's so bad!! I didn't have this with James, and it is so so so very annoying!! Spider veins, stretch marks, bigger boobs, heart burn, always thirsty, congested, lower back is sore

Thanks for reading!! See you back next Monday for my 22 week update!

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A Father's Day First

This year, Father's Day is extra special because it is Ben's first! Well, he was a father last year, but I was still pregnant, so this will be his first since James was born! I can't wait to celebrate what an incredible father Ben is. It has been so amazing and beautiful to watch him become a dad and to see his love for our son. James is the luckiest little boy in the entire world to have Ben as a dad.

In honor of Ben's first Father's Day, here are a few of my FAVORITE pictures from the past year. These are of Ben becoming and being a father, and they seriously bring me to tears to look at. I feel so very blessed to have such a wonderful, loving man as my husband and as the father of my children!

Happy Father's Day, everyone! ESPECIALLY to my amazing dad!! I love you, daddy!

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At Home Date Night Ideas

As any new parent can attest, getting out of the house -without the kids- for a date with your significant other can be hard! Not only can it be difficult logistically, what with securing child care, etc... but it can be very difficult emotionally as well.

Since James has been born, Ben and I have gone out on a few date days. We have done date days rather than nights because we like to be home for James' bed time routine. Although my mom is learning the bedtime routine so we'll be able to get out for a date night here soon! We're fortunate to live by family now that we live in Washington again, so we always have someone to watch James for us. But honestly, what we've found to be a more realistic and, in some ways, more enjoyable option as far as a date goes is at home date nights!

At home date nights are dates that can be enjoyed right from the comfort of your own home after your little ones have gone to bed. Ben and I have these AAAALLL the time! It's such a great way to get in quality time together sans children and to be able to reconnect and have fun just the two of you.

I love being able to spend time really focusing on Ben and having conversations and doing fun things, all while knowing that our baby boy is safe upstairs. Don't get me wrong, going OUT for a date is FUN and I really really enjoy Ben's and my dates! But I also like the option of being able to do a date spur of the moment, all while being close by James if he needs us.

Here are a few fun at home date night ideas:

  • Cook dinner together.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Sit by the fire and chat.
  • Play board games.
  • Read together.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Plan a trip together.
  • Have your own beer (or wine, or whiskey) tasting - try all different kinds.
  • Make a fun, new appetizer.
  • Listen to new music.
  • Dance - around the kitchen, by the fire, wherever.
  • Light candles.
  • Make a blanket fort.
  • Watch the sunset together.
  • Do at-home yoga together.
  • Paint together.
  • Have an ice cream night.
  • Karaoke - pull up songs on YouTube and take turns singing (not TOO loudly, if you have sleeping kids ;))
  • Give each other massages.
  • Lay out a blanket and watch the stars.
  • Take a bath together.
  • Shop for houses online together.

What are some of your favorite at home date ideas?? I'd love to hear! We're always looking for new ideas. :)