B LOVED IN YOUR MARRIAGE

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This weekend marks the 20th wedding anniversary for me and my husband, Andrew. In this day and age, 20 years is a long time. Today, I am still so in love with the man I married, and I know that he is still in love with me.

BACKGROUND FOR LOVE

If you ask me what it takes to make a happy marriage, it comes down to two things. First, and most importantly, find a partner that loves you as much as you love them. Second, I will tell you that a marriage does take effort, and I like to use the word effort instead of work, because it is not a job. Just like everybody else, life gives us different situations and events that we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

I feel blessed that my husband came into my life over 20 years ago. I was going through a divorce with my two small babies ages 1 1/2 and 4. Most single men would run the other way if they met a single mom with babies. The moment Andrew and I met, it was love at first sight. Not just for me, but he fell in love with my boys. The second we got married, he called my boys his boys, not his stepchildren. Andrew and I have two children together, and forever he says he has four children. He treats them all the same. How lucky am I? In reality, it should be that way, as it brings the situation into real togetherness, a “family.” Divorce situations are so difficult in themselves, especially when there are children involved. Why not make the situation as comfortable and non-complicated as possible?

THE EFFORT

A WEEKEND AWAY AT BURNING MAN WITH MY HUSBAND

A WEEKEND AWAY AT BURNING MAN WITH MY HUSBAND

NEVER STOP DATING

You have to have alone time together with your partner, period! A dinner, a walk, a coffee—it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate. It can be going to a book store, or a movie. My marriage with my husband would not work without some type of getaway. You must reconnect with your mate without anyone else around, no kids, just you two.

With kids, family, and work, it is very difficult to have real intimacy and time to connect. I know so many couples, who once they had children, never went away alone, by themselves, when their children were young. Now these couples are miserable, not connected with their spouses, and some are divorced. Again, going away doesn’t mean it has to be elaborate or expensive—it can be a staycation in your own town. It can be an overnight, two day trip. You need to have this alone time with your spouse, and it is also good for your children. They need the break from their parents as well. It's easy to fall into the trap of acting like a control freak, insisting that no one can care for your kids as well as you can, but this is simply an excuse. It's good for kids to spend time with another trusted caregiver, even if they do things differently. So what if their hair isn’t braided perfectly? Or the kids eat pizza every day while you go to a cabin for the weekend? Your kids gain a lot from a fresh perspective. Also, when we do go away somewhere, it usually entails doing absolutely nothing. Maybe a walk in the morning, a coffee, a lunch, maybe a movie in bed in our hotel room, a dinner. Very simple.

GET OFF YOUR ASS

Sometimes negligence is an issue, but other times we get too far on the other end of the spectrum. Putting your partner first 24/7 is a great way to burn yourself out and kill the passion in your relationship. Looking good for your mate is a must, forever and always. This goes both ways male and female. Don’t let yourself go. This doesn’t mean go crazy and become a diet junkie, fitness fanatic. You both need to take care of yourselves and keep what was attractive when you first met. If you feel good about yourself, you will give good energy and vibes to your mate. Confidence is attractive, and taking care of yourself is a must.
Body confidence is super important to keep the spark alive in any sexual relationship. People change, and so do bodies. If you’ve gained weight since you first met, or you started getting dark chin hairs, you need to get off your ass and take care of that stuff! I guarantee you that decent, worthwhile partners are not turned off by this. Shutting down your sex life over a few stomach rolls is sure to be a relationship killer. Don’t let time and gravity stop you from doing your thing.

BEDROOM TALK IS A MUST

Speaking of doing your “thing,” everybody has different tastes, and if you want to keep your love life exciting , it’s wise to approach sex with a relaxed, non-judgmental attitude. As long as it doesn’t hurt you or throw your moral compass out of whack, adopt an “I’ll try anything once” attitude. Most people have already had enough sexual shame to last them a lifetime. Sex is very important to a healthy marriage. Sex should be regular, and you should be doing it when you’re not in the mood! Keep it interesting by talking about what pleases you and adding any fantasy role-playing, positions, or bedroom props you may want to introduce to keep it exciting. If you don’t keep your mate satisfied, they will find the love elsewhere!

DON’T SAY FUCK YOU

WRITE A MESSAGE ON THE MIRROR

WRITE A MESSAGE ON THE MIRROR

A good marriage thrives on the open exchange of emotions, desires, and beliefs. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a satisfying marriage. Most marriages go through rough times, which can change the way spouses communicate with each other. My husband I talk about everything. What we did during the day, conversations about our kids, our parents, you name it. Many couples develop bad habits and create destructive patterns when things aren’t going well. In my past marriage, when in an argument, I used to tell my ex “Fuck You”. How horrible is that? So disrespectful and disgusting. It was a habit that I learned from my partner at the time. I learned from that mistake. You should never talk to a loved one with so much disrespect. That goes for any name-calling as well.

We all get into arguments and disputes. Try not to raise your voice (really hard), let the steam go and then apologize and talk over the situation. Try not to go to bed angry. My husband and I are both Leo’s and very stubborn, so sometimes we go on the silent treatment for too long. Make-up sex is the best!

A BOOK FOR OUR ANNIVERSARY

A BOOK FOR OUR ANNIVERSARY

“HONEY I LOVE YOU”

Make your partner a priorityTake time often to let your partner know how special they are to you. We get that life gets super busy; school, jobs, kids, and other commitments often get in the way. Take time out of your day to send a sweet text or write “I love you” on the bathroom mirror. Whether it’s a birthday, or some sort of celebration, make an effort with a gift. Maybe make something. It's not about the item itself (unless you’re with someone who is really into material things), it’s the thought behind it. A friendly reminder that your partner is always on your mind will go a long way.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The most important idea that I can share in all of this is creating balance. We have four children, a company, and my husband commutes to a different city almost every week. Some people have more than that going on, others less. We can only try our very best, to make everyone happy and ourselves as well.

SOME FUN IDEAS TO SHOW YOUR LOVE

There are many things I have done over the years to show my husband that I love him and that I care. He has done even more for me. Here are some ideas for you!

A DIY ON PINTEREST

A DIY ON PINTEREST

Belinda Donner