As you may have seen in the title of this post, this is part 2 of ‘5 Changes I Made To Improve My Marriage.’ If you missed part 1, you can go on and read it quickly here and then come back here for part 2. If you read part 1 already, this took me a lot longer than anticipated to post but here it is now 🙂
While I’ve always thought we communicate well, for a while now, I am not not sure we actually have. Our relationship has always been very open and one of the things I love about it and my husband is that I feel and can say whatever is going on for me and he is always open to hearing it. I have always been honest with him about everything and him with me. However, I realised that our communication had taken a bit of a dive. I think it started with the death of my dad 7 years ago when a major part of me shut down. It was the only way I knew how to cope with raising a 4 month old and a 22 month old. The thing with being shut down is that you can’t really decide whom to open up to. If you’re closed, you need to stay closed for fear of what might erupt should you open up. This was how it is for me anyway. And so, I shut myself off to my husband as well but this year have started opening up again which has improved our communication immensely.
“Are you communicating in an open and honest way with your partner?”
2. Date Nights
Making the commitment to date nights was the first step in things feeling better as it felt like we were being proactive. Actually doing the date nights has just been incredible. As I said to my husband the other night when we were out. Once again, it had been a busy week, we were tired but just sitting outside at the restaurant with a drink in hand admiring the view, it felt like I could breathe. Just be still, take my time and breathe. I realised that besides other things like spending time with him of course, this was what I looked forward to. Just being and breathing!
“Besides spending time with my husband, date nights allow me to breathe out and remember who I am”
3. Changing What Doesn’t Work For Me
I have tried to look at the things that trigger me, things that irritate me and instead of trying to change my husband, I’ve tried to change the way we do things and the way that I react to them.
“I can not change what my husband does but I can change the way I react to it.”
4. Working with each other as opposed to against each other.
We are still working on this one. At some point in the relationship once you’ve had kids, it becomes a bit of a survival of the fittest competition. Who slept more, who was awake more, who’s more tired, has the harder job? All of a sudden you realise that you start working against each other as opposed to with each other as both of you are just desperately wanting the same things…sleep and down time. So, we have tried to work more together on giving each other what we need and realise that it’s just so much more pleasant when we are in this together.
“Things are always better when we work with each other as opposed to against each other.”
5. Being More Forgiving
My husband was late for my daughter’s birthday celebration at school. Normally, as he walked in, I might have rolled my eyes and clearly made my annoyance with him known. But the thing is, he is an amazing, hands on, awesome dad and we all make mistakes and stuff up a bit sometimes. Because I knew he felt bad enough, instead of laying more guilt on him, I decided that it was ok. So when he came and sat down next to me, I took his hand and gave him a look that said, ‘it’s ok’. Because, flip, we give ourselves enough guilt as parents, how am I helping if I only add to that? And who am I to judge him as I have certainly made my own stuff ups as a parent. So, while I’m working on being more forgiving of his mistakes, I’m actually working on being more forgiving of my own.
“It is easier to forgive your partner when you learn how to forgive yourself.”
I am under no illusion that our relationship is now sorted. It is constantly growing, changing and evolving as we do. But we have definitely found our groove again. Our connection. Our silences when we are annoyed with each other are shorter. I still shut down when I’m annoyed (not sure I’ll ever get that one down) but I can open back up much easier. We are constantly a work in progress. And having just come out of a bit of a slump in our relationship, I am happy that I feel excited once again about this thing we have going on.
Have you made any changes in your marriage which have helped to improve it? Please share in the comments below.