January 4th, 2014 was the best day ever (1/4/14)! We both cannot believe that we are celebrating 5 years of marriage. Not because we didn’t think we would make it to this point or anything, but because it’s gone by so fast yet we feel like we have grown so much in the short span of 5 years.
Last year on our 4th wedding anniversary, Raymond and I wrote a blog post about Our Love Story and how we met. You can come back to this post if you want to read that first since it will give you the entire story. We both loved writing that post together and reminiscing.
Wow what an incredible 5 years its been! I feel like we have crossed a certain territory celebrating 5 years, you know. Not sure what territory I am talking about though. Maybe the we are not in the “newly” married stage, or in the “very beginning” of our marriage stage anymore…I can’t exactly put my finger on it but it feels like a totally new and exciting season!
As we reflect on the past year, we can see that we have been laying layers upon layers on our foundation with God and with each other. We have set ourselves firmly on the word of God and the definition of a Godly marriage. This year we have surrounded ourselves with couples that have been married much longer than we have and learned so much from them. I mentioned this on my 26th Birthday post, but Raymond and I took a 16 week marriage course in the summer with our church and we grew leaps and bounds during that short period. We went deeper in our relationship and truly have never felt more in love or closer than how we feel now.
When we were thinking of this post, we thought of what wisdom we could offer you from the short time that we have been married. We love seeking marriage advice from our close friends who continually work and strive for a better relationship. So we thought, because its year number 5, we could give you 5 relationship tips that have helped us throughout the years. We have been together almost 9 years in March of this year and we’d like to think that we can offer you at least 5 tips from almost a decade of being in love and working on our relationship, so here they are.
5 Relationship Tips from Raymond and Karen
Treat Each Other With Respect: Have you ever said to your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend something really hurtful? I mean something that you would never dare to say to someone else? Yup. Why do we do that? Respecting each others feelings and points of view can be very difficult in the heat of the moment, or at any given time in the course of a relationship. Respect is most definitely earned and hopefully you both have earned that from each other. In marriage, your relationship just escalates to an entirely new level so it most definitely gets harder. Use the golden rule, “treat others how you want to be treated”. -Karen
Invest Time AND Money in your Relationship: Investing time in your marriage/relationship is extremely important. As Karen mentioned above, we spent 16 weeks in a hard core marriage class last summer. We met once a week with 5 other couples of all ages. We had couples married for 20+ years, 15+ years, and 4+ years. This was the best investment we could have ever made. I felt that our marriage was is good shape heading into the class. It wasn’t until we dove into the sessions each week that we realized we were living on auto pilot and not being intentional with our time, words and actions towards one another. This class taught us so much about what we were doing right and what we we needed to work on.
You might be reading this thinking, “My marriage is great, we are way better off than most. I don’t need a marriage class”, but that is EXACTLY what I thought going into this 16 week class and I was 100% WRONG! Invest in your marriage! I don’t care if you have been married for 1 year or 10 years, invest in your marriage. Surround yourself with other married couples who have walked the journey you are on. Stop getting marriage advice from your two time divorced aunt/uncle. Don’t be afraid to make friends with couples twice your age. There is so much to learn from them. Karen and I have about 3 really close married couple friends that are our age and about 20 married couple friends in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s!
Use money as an investment for your marriage. Every single one of you reading has a different story. Everyone has a different budget. Instead of eating out 3-4 times a week spending $40+ on food, how about you cut that down to $20 a week and use the other $20+ for flowers, a card with a hand written note inside, or a surprise gift of some sort.
Be creative! Don’t use the “we don’t have money” excuse for not having a date night! You don’t need a whole lot of money in order to be intentional. Some of our most memorable moments together were when we went out in our PJ’s to get $1 sundaes from McDonalds and ate them in our car while talking about life and dreaming of our future. It just takes the act of intentionality.
You will be surprised on how much you can save for a getaway if you were to budget every single cent that comes into your bank account. If getting away once in a while is important to you, have a written budget for each pay check. When you do this you will be able to see how much you actually spend. Once you have that down, add a vacation bucket and start throwing in some funds each paycheck. If you eat out 3-4 times per week, you most likely spend $80+ as a couple per week. That is $320 per month and $3,840 per year. If you were to cut that in half, you will have $1,920 in savings for a nice vacation. Karen and I have been on a week long cruise staying in a normal cabin for $1,000 all expenses paid. We both believe that getting away together is so important for our relationship and results in amazing memories together. You don’t have to spend $1,000 to go on a weekend getaway. Do what you can with what you have. -Raymond
Learn Each Other’s Love Languages: Lets start off by laying out what the five love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Love languages can change as time goes on but for the most part they are embedded in your heart. To learn what your spouses love language is should not be rocket science. Just simply ask or observe! Once you find out, start being intentional in every way possible. If your spouse has the love language of quality time, make sure you make them a priority when planning your week. If something comes up, always ask yourself if that will interfere with you spending quality time with your spouse. If the answer is yes, don’t do it. Your spouse is the most important! PERIOD! Now, don’t be silly, I am not saying drop everything 100% of the time because you had something planned. Unexpected events pop up and when they do, have a meaningful conversation with your spouse about it and decide together. Learning each others love languages fills up your love tank and keeps you happy and connected to each other. – Raymond
Have Fun Together: This one may seem really simple to you but it’s so important to have fun together! Life gets crazy and being an adult is totally overrated. People get sick, someone loses a job, you get in a car wreck, kids come, etc and it’s all part of life, but fun should be too. Have you ever had so much fun that you forgot that there’s a problem your facing? That’s a good thing! I think fun not only brings joy to a relationship but also hope. – Karen
Keep No Secrets From Each Other: This is one is super important. If you’re married this is a must. Never keep secrets from each other. I think this is the number one rule for an honest and healthy relationship to prosper. First, think about what a secret is. A secret is something you don’t want to share because of shame, fear, or a number of other reasons. If you both are committed to having an exceptional relationship, secrets have to be shared. If you are the person someone shares a secret with, be sensitive. Realize how hard it is to come clean about whatever it is. Don’t give shame or fear a foothold in your relationship. -Karen
I have a feeling you already know this but being in a meaningful relationship take a lot of work! Nothing worth having comes easy. We hope that these tips help you in whatever stage of a relationship you are in. If its dating, courtship or marriage there is always something to learn. Thank you so much for all the anniversary wishes in the past couple of days! We look forward to…well, forever.
Raymond and Karen