When I’m feeling down and out and in need of encouragement, one of my go-to methods is to find an inspiring quote on Pinterest that looks nice and make it my phone’s lock screen.
It’s really a great way to pick myself up, because when I inevitably finding myself stress-browsing my phone, the first thing I see is that encouragement. When I see it over and over again, it starts to stick with me.
The quote I have on my phone right now is, “A little progress each day adds up to big results.”
I love it so much. I’m currently in the “messy middle” of about a dozen things, so I need the reminder that if I keep plugging away, the small effort I put in each day will add up and amazing things will happen.
I was thinking about it the other day, though, and I realized this quote goes both ways. While a little forward progress each day adds up, so do the bad habits you have. They can add up over time, too, and they certainly don’t bring you big results – well, not big positive results, anyway.
The bright side is, these habits can be fixed. Even if you’re totally guilty of some of them (or even most or all of them), you can take it one day at a time and work on better habits. A little progress each day, baby.
I know, I know. How cliche. “Communication is key.” Blah.
Thing is, it totally is. I mean, how often have you gotten mad at your husband for not responding to something the way you wanted… and then just assumed he’d pick up on the fact that you were pissed?
I get it! I mean, it’s so obvious that what he did was wrong. Why should you have to spell it out for him?
Because, well, it’s not always that obvious.
Men and women are so different – heck, people are all different – and it’s hard sometimes to understand the intricacies of why you got under someone’s skin. He might be able to tell you’re mad, but he might not know why – and it might be more comfortable to let you simmer than to poke the bear.
If you consistently get in the habit of not talking about the little day-to-day things with your husband, eventually you’ll stop talking about the bigger things, and things can quickly start to spiral out of control. Don’t let it get there.
You know, communication is a great thing. It’s so great to tell your husband how you’re feeling and communicate with him. But you know what the most important part of communication is? Listening.
If your husband tells you he needs something and you say, “yeah, okay” and don’t do anything about it, he’s going to feel disrespected and unloved. Same with you – if you tell your spouse you need something and nothing gets done, you feel pretty lousy, right?
Make your marriage better by listening – truly listening – to your husband when he talks to you. Don’t just brush each other off and hope you “get over” whatever it is that’s bugging the other one. Problem solve together and make it right – because you’re a team, and if one of you loses, you both lose.
And personally, I hate losing. 🙂
It’s terrifyingly easy to fall into the trap of an emotional affair.
One of the other things that can happen if you’re not communicating with your spouse is you might try to find the connection you’re looking for elsewhere. And you might not even realize at the time that you’re trying to “replace” your spouse, but if you’re overly connected to those outside your marriage and not enough to the one you’re married to, it’s going to cause problems.
I’m going to use myself as an example. I met a stay-at-home dad at the park last year. We were at the playground at the same time almost every day, and it was fun talking to him. I loved watching A play with his little girl. He was nice, and my husband and son and I even went to their house one night for dinner.
But it’s not a friendship I still have. Why? It didn’t feel appropriate.
The thing is, I could connect to this man as a stay-at-home parent in a way I couldn’t connect to my husband. Not because there’s anything wrong with my husband, just that we live in different worlds. Having someone I could connect with who was part of my world – who wasn’t my spouse – felt like a dangerous proposition.
I was sad to let the friendship go, but my heart told me it wasn’t a good idea, and my marriage is not something I’m willing to compromise. Not for anything.
So good boundaries = a totally good thing.
It’s easy to look at other people’s marriages and think, “Why can’t we have that?” Whether “that” is a super close relationship, well-behaved kids, money to go on vacations, or whatever. It’s easy to think everyone else has it better than you do, or that s0-and-so’s husband is better than yours, or whatever.
When you compare your marriage to others’ marriages, you’re missing the fact that everyone’s different. Everyone has things in their lives that are hard to deal with, but everyone’s struggle is different.
If you get in the habit of comparing yourself to others, you’re going to consistently miss the awesome stuff that’s right in front of you. Choose to focus on the good stuff in your life and be grateful for it, rather than wishing you were in someone else’s shoes (who probably doesn’t have it quite as easy as you think they do!)
I saw this other quote once on Pinterest (what can I say, I’m kind of a quote junkie :))
“Marriage isn’t 50/50. Marriage is 100/100. Divorce is 50/50.”
And it’s incredibly true.
Like it or not, the point of marriage isn’t about being fair. It’s about coming together as a united front, which means you both have to figure out how to do what’s best for your marriage – not just for each of you individually.
This is a hard habit to break, but it’s important. If you’re constantly fighting over who does more, or that your husband should do x because you did y, it’s just not gonna be pretty.
Stop keeping track of who does more and when. Focus on what needs to be done, and if there’s something you’d like help with, ask for it.
Sex is great. Let’s start there.
Not only can it bring you together emotionally as a couple, but it can also help you both feel happier and more relaxed.
To neglect it (or worse – withhold it as punishment) is not good for your marriage.
And I totally get it – you’re not always in the mood. That’s okay. It’s not like you have to get busy once a day or anything – just don’t let too many days go by without connecting physically, because it’s seriously a great way to help you smooth over disagreements and irritations.
I mean, not the big ones. You have to talk about those. But the day-to-day irritations you have with your spouse? Those hormones can magically make those seem a little less important.
Honestly, it’s a win-win.
If you want an amazing marriage, the way to do that is by paying attention to the stuff you do every day – both the good things and the bad things. You’re never going to be perfect, but do what you can to make sure the good things outweigh the bad things for the most part and you’ll be sitting pretty.
I am ridiculously stubborn. Like, seriously – so stubborn.
Whether it’s a result of my German heritage or what, it’s sometimes a problem.
In fact, when I was a teenager, I didn’t actually think I’d ever get married. I didn’t think it was in the cards for me because, boy, did people get on my nerves. I wasn’t what you’d call a “team player”.
More often than not, I thought in terms of, “my way or the highway.”
When I met my husband, things changed. I was so in love with him, and I didn’t ever get tired of spending time with him – a completely new concept. I’d do anything to make our marriage to last a lifetime.
But it definitely hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Believe it or not, my tendency to want things exactly how I want them to be hasn’t subsided just because I fell in love. I’ve had to work really hard on my faults – which I don’t know, I guess is part of the whole point of marriage ;).
I struggled a lot with communicating with my husband. I wanted him to just intuitively know what I needed without having to spell it out for him. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, make the plans I’d come up with happen, spend money how I wanted, and have chores done without nagging or goading.
And then, of course, I wanted him to see things my way, and just do things how I wanted them done.
The thing is, marriage isn’t just about me or just about my husband. It’s about us, conquering the world together. It’s about being able to overcome anything that comes our way, and making our marriage work… no matter what.
It’s about being a team.
When I was pregnant, I had so many ideas of what motherhood would look like. I was scared of the responsibility and scared I wouldn’t measure up, and I was scared of what effect a baby would have on our marriage.
So I watched.
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As a new police wife, I dreaded night shifts.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m an introvert who loves her alone time, and having the bed to myself is kind of luxurious, but night shifts got old quickly. I’d pretty much spend the time watching Netflix and grumbling when there was nothing to watch.
Now, I recognize that it’s just part of this life. It’s still sometimes hard (especially now that it means doing dinner, bathtime, and bedtime routines all by myself), but for the most part I love it. I don’t really know what I’d do without it.
The key is to recognize that that time alone is the perfect opportunity for you to focus on taking care of and improving yourself – and then taking that time to intentionally do something for yourself.
I know as a police wife you spend a lot of time doing things to try to help your husband, but you might be surprised at the positive difference it’ll make in your marriage if you invest some time in yourself, too. 🙂
If I’m being honest, I hated my husband’s time in the academy.
For one thing, he was far away 4 days a week (since it was an out-of-town academy) and we were living with my in-laws, with whom there was admittedly some tension.
On top of that, we were in a completely new town where I didn’t really know anyone.
Oh and the cherry on top? I was 14 weeks pregnant when he started the academy. Hormones, baby.
I’m so bad about sitting in my husband’s preferred seat in restaurants. I always manage to sit in the spot where he’ll inevitably give me the look that says, lovingly, “move it.”
At first, I thought it was weird (and annoying), but after 7 years of dating and marriage, I understand better what’s going on in his head.
When he looks around while I’m talking, I know he’s paying attention to me, but I also know he’s checking where the exits are. He’s thinking about where he could duck for cover if needed. He’s wondering how and when he’d draw his gun if he needed to. He’s assessing whether anyone in the restaurant gives him a weird feeling.
Technology is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I mean, think about it. We live in a time where if we miss someone, we can instantly contact them via text or social media or anything. That wasn’t the case even 10 years ago. Heck, I remember spending many of my teenage years warning people NOT to call me until after 9 (or else I’d go over my minutes and get in trouble!)
But I think a lot about my husband’s grandparents when I think about this topic. My husband’s grandfather was a game warden, and his grandmother has said there would sometimes be as long as a week at a time without word from him.
I mean, they’re an awesome example of a strong law enforcement couple, because he passed away a few nights before their 76th wedding anniversary. Talk about commitment. But I can imagine it wasn’t always easy.
To my sweet little boy,
I love how much you love your daddy. Even though it sometimes pains me when you’ve been a butt for me all day and you’re an angel for him, I love the way the door opens and you drop everything and run to him, demanding he pick you up. You wrap your arms around his neck and want to tell him all about your day. He might not be able to understand a word of it, but it doesn’t matter. You just want him to know all about the adventures you had that day.
When you see your dad, I know you’re seeing so much more. You’re too young to really understand his job yet, but you know there’s something special about what he does.
If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time (or been in a long distance relationship), you’ve probably heard of “open when” letters. They’re letters you pre-write for a particular person for them to open when something special happens or they’re feeling happy/sad/lonely, whatever.
I LOVE them. I think they’re such a fun idea, and they especially appeal to me since I like writing (hence the reason I blog :)) and they’re an inexpensive, meaningful gift idea. I love homemade gifts, and one from the heart like this really appeals to me, especially because it can be enjoyed for a long time.
If you want to make a set, just choose however many you’d like to do (say, 5 or 10… or 24, if you’re really feeling motivated!) and write out the letters however you’d like. You can type them or hand write them if you’d like, or type to get it all formatted, then copy it down in handwriting if you want to make sure it’s perfect (or if you’re okay with stuff being scratched out as you go, that’s fine too!)
I feel like before I became a police wife, I didn’t really know much about the world.
I thought because I worked in a domestic violence shelter I really had a handle on the worst things in life. I felt like I understood it and was prepared for the emotional toll it would take. And even though my husband does his best not to tell me the worst stuff he sees, he’s also better able to separate himself from the emotions – so he doesn’t always realize the stories he tells me are things I didn’t want to know.
And sometimes after hearing these stories, I can’t help but wonder: why did that have to happen?