March came in like a lion, and well, left like one too. And I am super excited to be moving on to my next topic for my Happiness Project: Marriage! Mastering Money March was great in many ways. It opened up lines of communication about sensitive subjects, and brought to light various ways in which we communicate differently.
These differences effectively help me transition into April’s focus, which is marriage. My marriage, just like every marriage, is not perfect. My husband and I met before I can even remember. He was the first boy to write his phone number in my yearbook in the seventh grade (I didn’t call). We started dating my sophomore year of high school, and we’ve been together ever since. We have grown up together, which presented its own set of issues when we were young, and now gives me an appreciation for exactly how hard we have worked to build our life together. We have been together 16 years and married for almost eleven, and as cliche as it sounds, he really is my best friend.
So if everything seems like sunshine, and rainbows, than why make marriage the area of focus for April? Because, like I said, my marriage isn’t perfect. And the whole point of a Happiness Project isn’t a complete overhaul of something broken, it’s improving something that is already good.
This month I plan to focus on a few different tasks in order to take my marriage from great to greatest. I have a couple of books that I plan on reading, and a few podcasts about relationships and intimacy that I plan to listen to as well.
My first area of focus, and this is one that Gretchen discusses in the Happiness Project, is not to keep score; not to calculate who has done what and when, because love doesn’t keep score. This is something my husband and I discuss frequently after I read about it. And although he and I both do a pretty good job of not doing this, it’s a very easy trap to fall into and leads to increased resentment.
The second topic is one of two pieces of marital advice that actually stuck with me; “Always be the type of person, that you would want to come home to.” This sounds simple enough, but there is a lot of truth to it. Whenever I think of this, I think of how at the end of the day I would much rather be greeted by someone loving and attentive than someone with a negative attitude. Due to emotional attachment, our bodies subconsciously pick up on any anxiety, fear, or frustration of those we are close to; Therefore, our mood and emotions affect those around us. I am not saying to sweep any negative emotions under the rug, and pretend like everything is lovely; Instead, I’m going to focus on emotional regulation and it’s influence on those around me, specifically my husband.
A final area of focus is gratitude; showing appreciation for my husband in the big things, but also the minute details that often go unacknowledged. How often do we take for granted those we are closest to? Gratitude is an important focus of my life in general, and I believe fostering an environment of appreciation for him and our life will promote exponential positive affects.
So here we go! Do you have any tips or tools that you use in your marriage that you think should be part of my focus for April? Feel free to share!