5 Years of Marriage and the 5 Things that Helped the Most

It's funny how differently 5 years can look--June 1, 2013 Jordan and I were celebrating our nuptials in the barn on my family's farm, and 5 years later, Jordan was taking care of Luke and I when we were basically bed-ridden for days with a terrible stomach virus. Too many more details could be added that we'd all laugh about, but I'll save you those! Basically, he's the best nurse ever and sure took care of us! ;-) Eh, but I'd say we celebrated 5 years pretty hard when we made our trip to Canada last month!

Anyway, I've been dragging my feel posting this, you guys. CLEARLY, I've been dragging them for over a month now (our anny was June 1). I kept wanting to either 1) feel like Jordan and I were in this perfect place in our marriage to be able to share (lies, lies) or 2) be so careful with my words to make it sound like we weren't perfect (the irony??).

So, I think we all know that nobody's marriage is perfect, even if social media can give it the looks of that at times. Understood? Nod your heads: yes, Masta. Ain't nobody perfect 'round here. But, like us, I'm sure there are plenty of people who have hit some hard bumps and can offer some advice. 

Hi, [insert Jordan and Lindsay]

Proceeding...

Honestly, I was really excited about our 5 year anniversary. That's a solid number. It feels good. And I think it feels good to feel in a good place. You know what I mean? And I say that, because our marriage, or connectedness, just took a pretty good hit when we moved to Dallas, started new jobs, bought a fixer upper, got pregnant, etc. etc. We clearly couldn't handle all of the transition and tried so many things to figure out how to find our "groove" back. 

Again with 5 years of marriage in the books, we've been married long enough to ride out the honeymoon phase and feel some pretty hard knocks like every marriage is going to feel. Yes, some are bumpier than others, but we're all going to come upon these. We're all human which makes us susceptible to falling short...often

Everyone. Yes, you. 

Which brings me to these 5 things that Jordan and I both agreed, looking back, helped us. They really blessed us, made us stronger and helped us feel the most connected and loved. I don't even want to call them pieces of advice, because I know there's still so much to learn, but guys, we are tangoing quite well with all of these in this season, and I'd love nothing more than for other marriages to feel the positivity and benefits from them, as well. 

--or honestly, I'd love nothing more for couples to pour into their marriages and tend to them. And to know it's not silly. Even when things are feeling smooth. 

But first, I've got to say that I am super crazy proud of and grateful for my man. He somehow gets cuter and wiser as the years go by, and I get to benefit from both of those! But truly, God knew what he was doing by giving me Jordan's calm, collected and reasonable personality. I need the way he weighs out situations with me, helps guide me and calls me out. I need the way he makes the hard things lighthearted and the good things even better. I need the way he is simply just Jordan. 

I'm so grateful for these nuggets below, because we ain't stoppin' here y'all! I know that a strong marriage is worth fighting for, because it's the foundation and environment we're creating for the littles that will be carrying on our legacy of love and loving others. This is what fuels the fire in much of what I do in my business and own home. So with that, I hope to let you know that all of the below are, like, way cool. 

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5 Things that Helped the Most 

1. Counseling

I honestly can't scream this to the mountains enough, and I hope to share more posts on it in the future to debunk it's taboo.  From the time we went through premarital counseling, Jordan and I both agreed that we'd never turn down counseling if the other (or someone else) felt it helpful. So when we both agreed that we just couldn't quite get ahold of everything we were juggling in life, lacked connectedness because of it and new that marriage hadn't always felt this way, we agreed that professional guidance would help. 

And let me just say that after the first session, Jordan looked at me and said, "I can understand now how anybody could benefit from counseling". And every time we left counseling, we left feeling hopeful, having more guidance, clarity and understanding of each other. We seriously learned so much, and it was exactly what we needed in that season. We literally communicate differently and better now and took away huge gains. Will we ever go back? Absolutely.

 So guys, anybody can go. The house doesn't always have to be burning down. Go

Where do you stand? Are you open to counseling? Cringe because you have a stigma behind it? Have benefitted from it?

2. Prioritizing self-care/individual time

One thing we actually took away from counseling was the importance of "self care". This is a tricky thing to master when you're 1) used to being busy or 2) parents. Our counselor really educated us on the importance of doing this, helped us figure out what we both individually needed (Jordan's time is different than mine, because he's an introvert, and I'm an extrovert). She helped us figure out how to communicate our needs before communication breakdowns occurred or...ish hit the fan, rather. 

This helped the way we parented, saw our time with one another and were simply just intentional with our time. 

What does "self care" look like to you? 

3. Traveling

Yes, lawd YES. When we first got married, traveling looked like driving 1.5 hours to my aunt and uncle's cabin in Ruidoso (simple, free, close). There's something to be said about making intentional (sometimes financially creative) time to getting away and trying something new together. There's a sweet intimacy and adventure linked to it that makes it precious. 

I'm all about traveling, and some of our best memories together have been doing just this. Ironically enough, it has also served as one of our sources of frustration in marriage: deciding upon timing, finances, expectations, etc. Funny (not funny) how that happens, right?

What kind of travels could you both enjoy together?

4. Praying for your loved one

While I wish I could say that I was more consistent about doing this, Jordan and I both agree that in the times we have been intentional about praying for one another and WITH one another, our marriage has felt stronger. I recently started a prayer journal specifically for Jordan, and it's shifted my mindset in the sweetest of ways--alleviating frustrations, bringing me peace and releasing the control from my hands.

Where is your prayer life, for and with your loved one?

5. Dating your loved one

I'm such a big advocate for dating. I, like, WISH somebody had been blunt before Jordan and I got married and told us to "set weekly date nights". JUST DO IT. Can I be that person for you? 

Unfortunately, we weren't intentional about doing this earlier in our marriage, dating every so often (which worked at the time), that when Luke was born, we were all sorts of jumbled around [insert counseling around this time haha]. Since then, I've heard people say to guard your weekly date, be intentional about planning it at the beginning of the week and look forward to it. Need help organizing and coming up with date ideas? Lemme help: 19 dates HERE!).

I even had someone suggest that when they first started weekly dates several years into their marriage, it felt awkward. She went on to say that they stayed persistent keeping them on their schedule until it became something that they both looked forward to and guarded each week. Oh, I just LOVED this wisdom and vulnerability from them. I hope we can all get there too. 

Things to thing about:

1. Define your goal for dating. What's the purpose? Connectedness? Growth? Fun?

2. Define what a "date" is for you. Is it only outside of your house or does Netflix at home (without your phone) count, as well? Does it count if it's with another couple?

3. Dating will look vary in different seasons. What you're able to do before kids will look differently than with kids, will look differently than with 2-3 kids in multiple sports. 

4. Determine your ideal for babysitting? Do you want to swap dates with another family? Pay for a sitter? Ask grammy and grandpa?

5. Determine if there topics you DO or DON'T want to come up when on dates. NOT going to talk about work? DO want to talk about what's on your heart?

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So while it may be difficult for you to see how passionate I am about thriving love stories [insert sarcasm], I hope that something in this has inspired you, equips you or moves you to share with somebody you love.

Jordan and I are not perfect, and that equips us to share our take-aways with you, hoping that you too can put the nitty, gritty, adventure-seeking, romantic, silly, thrilling time in to your love story.