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5 Tips for Building a Smart Marriage

Hi Lovely! In celebration on my 6th wedding anniversary, I wanted to share 5 tips for building a smart marriage. If you are a Lovely Girl looking for relationship advice, then this post is for you! These are not your typical “have open communication” fluffy tips. These are real life, relatable tips from a young couple that has been through a lot together over the years and is still going strong. Let’s get started!

1. You Are a Team, Not One Entity

First and foremost, you need to be your own individual.

You need to know who you are, what you like, how to be happy on your own, and you need to have your OWN career goals! Relying on your spouse for happiness and fulfillment is NOT going to cut it.

Your partner is not your “other half” and you are NOT one entity. You are a TEAM that supports each other and can accomplish more together. You are better together, but you can still function without each other around.

2. Be Open About Career Goals

It is really important to talk about your individual career goals because it will affect your relationship if you aren’t clear about expectations.

There are times when my husband needs to travel for work or needs to work late if he’s on a time sensitive project. And I am okay with eating alone some nights.

And there are times where I need to stay late at the office or attend a function after hours. And he is okay with having the house to himself after hours.

The key is that we both understand that there are going to be sacrifices so that we can get to where we want to professionally; we’ve talked about it, the expectations have been set, and we are good with that. Not doing so can cause resentment and a big gap in your relationship.

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3. It’s About Give & Take

Sometimes you are going to need to make really big sacrifices that could affect your entire lifestyle and who you are as a person.

I met my husband when I was 21, and right out of college, he wanted to pursue his passion of starting his own business with colleagues from school. We talked about this together and I fully supported his decision.

For a very long time, we lived off of my temp to entry-level income and were broke as a joke. I learned very quickly how to budget our money down to the penny. Going to the beach and paying $8 for parking meant we bought fewer groceries that month. Going out to eat, watching TV, traveling, and shopping were phrases that were very rarely in my vocabulary (except for when our very loving and extremely supportive families visited or let us stow away with them).

When I went back to school to get my MBA at night while working full time, my husband had to take on house chores, grocery shopping, and cooking to help support me. There were times where I would disappear to campus all weekend long, or nights where I was in class until 10pm. We hardly saw each other, but it was a sacrifice we were both willing to make.

We got through the short term discomforts to achieve goals that will help better us in the long term.

4. Know Your Love Language

LaughingDoes your heart skip a beat when you are told you’re beautiful?

Or if he cleans the house while you are out with friends?

How about if he swings by work to drop off a Starbucks?

Do you love the idea of going on a picnic together?

Or how about a sweet hug from behind?

We all have an emotional communication preference, called a love language, which breaks down the way you prefer to be shown love. Find out your love language here.

5. Talk About The Future

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

I know I already said this, but your partner is your teammate, and just like in any team sport, you need to plan out the game strategy and adjust as you hit milestones or bumps in the road to achieve collective success.

If you are not actively working together towards the same goal, then your team will fall apart. What if I was ready to start a family but my husband was intensely focused on his career? What if it were the other way around? If you don’t talk about the future, then one day you will wake up and say “where did my life go?” Your 20s and 30s are the best years of your life, don’t spend them keeping it all to yourself. Plan your future together.

What are some tips that you’ve learned along the way? Anything that you had to work though that surprised you? I have to admit that being a young professional has definitely been a much larger part of our relationship that I ever thought it would be!

xo Annie