We are going on two years of being married!! Holy cow! We were asked this weekend if we were giving our newlywed friends marriage advice. I believe Coach said something along the lines of "I think we're still trying to figure it out ourselves", but I may have been chuckling too loud to hear him correctly. I had been thinking of doing a post on the advice I could give to our newlywed or engaged friends, but didn't think I would have much to say. I've come up with a few points that have worked for me and Coach, and though this initial list will likely be pretty short, I do plan on adding, editing and possibly deleting some of these as time goes on and we start to figure this thing out.
1. Pick your battles. I can distinctly remember my mother telling me as a kid "Don't fight over if its chicken or beef for dinner! Who cares?!" This really has stuck with me. Sometimes this is definitely easier said than done when life gets in the way, but I think you can stop a few fights before they start just by asking yourself "is this worth an argument", and usually if you have to ask it's not.
2. Limit the "no" in your dialogue. I can recall one time since Coach and I have been married when I'd suggested something that I thought would really be in our best interest and was quickly shut down with a "no". There was no thought or consideration given, just no. I immediately felt defeated. I told Coach how crappy this one word response had made me feel and he hadn't even realized that 1. I could read so much into a 'no' 2. it really can be hurtful to be just shut down like that. Ironically enough, we ended up going with my idea, but that's beside the point ;). Throw a few more yeses in there, even if it's about pizza for dinner, and you both will feel more valued in the relationship.
3. Go to bed angry. We never intended to do this, but in a long distance relationship where one of you is generally only getting a few hours a sleep a night, it just happened. They say never go to bed angry. Who the heck are they? They definitely aren't coaches, trying to get every minute of the 4 hours of sleep they can! Honestly, I'd prefer to go to bed angry. Fights look a whole lot less significant in the morning light. Then there's the "I'm sorry, that was stupid" texts, 7 hours of good sleep and it's done. Now, if you wake up and you're still angry, have it out.
4. Have it out and be done with it. I've always been the type who gets mad and gets over it. Coach, not so much. If you've chosen to have it out though, get it all out. Don't save ammo to fuel the next fight so make sure you say what you need to say. I know nothing irritates Coach more than when I bring up something from an old fight (I really don't do that often, I promise), especially when he feels like we had come up with a solution and now it's rearing its head again.
5. Don't stop trying to impress your sweetie. Coach is really great about this. He works his crazy work schedule and still finds time to work out and take care of himself. And he looks amazing! I can lean on my athletic shorts, intramural or ZX t-shirts and ponytail a little too frequently, but I'm working on this. Why would you not continue to remind them how awesome, fun and hot you are?!
6. Date! This is another one that's easier said than done, especially for us between August and November. It doesn't have to be anything fancy and there's a ton to do without having to spend money. I took Coach on a picnic after they got the playoff bid two seasons ago. We had lunch, played horseshoes and enjoyed being together. There are blogs and articles online about fun/free/cheap date ideas in every city! And it's fun to have a reason to get out of your sweats and snuggle in public!
7. Make time for your friends. Have girls night every other week or so or catch a game with your buddies without your spouse. My best friend lives in west Texas and I try to head out that way every now and then to keep that relationship going also. I would never want Coach's friends to feel neglected once I entered the picture, and even though priorities do change, keep those friendships if you can. Some will end, and that's ok too.
8. Be his/her fan. Being a coach's wife takes work. To me, that means being at every single game, cheering him and his players on. I want him to know that I appreciate what he does for not only our family, but these kids too. I want him to know that I support his goals and what better way to do that than by hootin' and hollerin' with my cowbell! And, sometimes games are the most time I get to see him all week. How could I not be there? I ran a 5k last month, and Coach got up at the crack of dawn to be there and hold my stuff. It felt awesome to see him being my cheerleader too.
9. Don't bad mouth. Not to your sister, brother, mother, father, best friend, no one. And don't put your issues on Facebook for the world to see. I really think this is just hugely disrespectful to your spouse. No one needs to know that you're upset that he didn't empty the dishwasher or that she forgot the dry cleaning again. Don't make a spectical of your relationship. And we all have that friend or family member who has told you how utterly disrespectful/mean/selfish their boyfriend/girlfriend is. How hard is it to change that opinion of them, even if you understand that all your hearing is one sided? Why would you do that to the person you've chosen to spend forever with, surrounded by all the people who think he's an idiot because of your careless remarks.
10. Goof off together. One thing I truly love our relationship is how silly we can be together. We are constantly making up songs, dancing, or coming up with some ridiculous game. It definitely keeps things interesting.
11. Make out. Seriously. Often.
I know no two relationships are the same, and some of these may not work for you but they do for us. And we are truly happy. Being married takes work and there's not one answer to what makes it last, but as long as you continue to try and make things even just a bit better for you and your spouse, I think you're doing it right. I'm interested to hear what makes other relationships work, what advice you were given as a newlywed and anything else so please add in the comments.