Well all, we officially made it. We made it a year, that is, of living together as a married duo without killing each other, any mega blowouts or rethinking our choice to do so. But that shouldn’t be the goal after all should it? Our goal was not to simply survive our first year together but to thrive and grow as a couple enabling us to look forward to successful cohabitation for years to come.
That being said, here are some tips that have worked for us this first year in making our home a Happy one. Do we get all of these right all of the time? By no means. Are there other ideas out there that we haven’t even begin to think of yet? By all means. Will they change as our family grows and changes? Of course. But we like to believe these are the unwritten rules (for now) which guide our home.
1. Greet each other when you get home. No, it doesn’t have to be a dramatic “Honey, I’m home” type entrance every time. But a quick hug, kiss and how was your day goes a long way.
2. Divide up chores in a way that works for you and your schedules. I know that some couples have a lot of success delegating specific chores as his or hers. For us, it has worked really well just to either a) tag team them on a day we both have off (we can knock out floors, bathroom, vacuuming, you name it in less than an hour) or b) take turns taking on the responsibility throughout the week. Since we both work full time, this has worked well for us to ensure than neither of us is taking on the majority of the load.
3. Similar to housework, making cooking a joint effort whenever possible has been good for us. Neither of us loves cooking (although we love eating), particularly after a long day of work. Therefore, when we can do it together it makes it a faster and less painless process. Ryan has become quite the expert chopper and slicer (this is my least favorite part), and usually when he has finished the prep work, I take on the rest. Mission accomplished.
4. Share things that are important to you in your home. Aka shoes put in the closet, dishes in the sink, etc. Your spouse cannot read your mind, so you need to be specific. For instance, I shared with Ryan one day shortly after we moved in that I truly love being able to get into a freshly made bed each night. As he is almost always the last one out of bed and off to work, he has taken on the bed-making responsibility most days as he knows it is something means a lot to me. I can nearly guarantee, however, that if I had not said something- it would not be gettin’ done all.
5. While it is important to share what is important to you in your home, it is equally important to not be overly nit picky. Proverbs 10:12 reminds us that …love covers all transgressions. Sometimes the best way to deal with the little things that get on your nerves is to overlook them and extend a bit of grace to your loved one. None of us is perfect, and while sometimes it can be hard to bite your tongue and just straighten the hand towel in disarray or pick up the Q-tip that didn’t make it into the garbage, sometimes this is also just what you should do because love covers mistakes. Let it go.
6. Spend quality time together. This seems obviously, right? Particularly if you are living under the same roof. But it is easy for work, chores, technology, etc. to get in the way of this. Set these things aside (I promise they will still be there) and watch a movie together, cook dinner, play a game, go on a walk around your neighborhood or just have a good old fashion conversation.
7. Pray. Thank God for the gift of your spouse and this home you have created together and pray when you need wisdom on how to handle these gifts as well.
We've been married for two years and we're still working on the equal chores thing. It seems to work for others to divide up the chores but my husband works odd hours and rarely has time off (and I actually enjoy most housekeeping-tasks) so I take on A LOT of the house work. I think this works for us, though 🙂
Totally agree with the quality time tip! It's so strange how you share a house and bed with someone but still don't necessarily spend quality time with them! Great tips!
You definitely have to do what works for you – and it sounds like you are :). Thanks for sharing, Audrey!
What an awesome post! There have been times we've just been surviving as a couple – but I agree, I want it to be much more than that! Truly, some of our biggest conflicts have come out of unspoken expectations, even over the smallest things – so I love that you talk about working out chores! It seems silly, but I have gotten so mad when I've expected my hubby to do something, and it isn't even on his mind at all. That's where #5 comes in 😉 And yes yes yes to praying!!
Those unspoken expectations can definitely be hard to deal with sometimes! We have gotten better about recognizing them slowly but surely :)!