February 13, 2013

On How to Stay in Love...

Let's just begin this by saying I am in no way, shape or form any type of marriage counselor. I have no fancy credentials and, in fact, you may be surprised to know I am not any kind of counselor. Actually, I haven't even been married for 2 years yet so if you don't accept the advice I'm about to provide you with, I totally get it. If you do, however, appreciate my advice, just call me Dr. Drew and feel free to stick a check in the mail to the address below.


There is no address. And I'd prefer to be called Dr. Howard. Mmmmkay?

I should also say my marriage is FAR from perfect.  Like, real far. We're only 22 months into this whole marriage biz and just like anything else, it takes a lot of hard work, compromise, good communication and wine. Lots of wine.

Slight warning: this gets mushy. (Don't say I didn't warn you!)

My take on...how to STAY in love:

1. Separate the problems between the tensions.

Problems are things like your spouse being abusive or addicted to porn. (I think we can all agree these are both HUGE problems.)

Tensions, on the other hand, are little things; leaving the toilet seat up, not picking up his shoes when you've asked him 16 times, or leaving dirty dishes in the sink for 2 days straight. (Hmmm...does that sound familiar, Beau Howard?) ;)

The difference between the two is that tensions aren't worth losing any sleep over. Problems ARE. Know the difference between something so measly as a tension in an effort to not create more problems. Pick your battles and fight fair.

Are those dishes in the sink really worth another stupid argument?
I mean, who can stay mad at that face?! ;)

2. Offer and accept daily affections.

This is HUGE in our house. Something as small as holding hands when you're on the couch or in the car, playing with each other's hair or a quick brush up against one another when he's washing said dishes. Sometimes it's as simple as a kiss on the cheek or even a flirty text! Flirting with each other is important. Scratch that...it's essential. You did it before you got married and there's no reason you shouldn't continue to do it after you get married. Let your guy know you still want him...and only him. ;)

3. Have some fun!

A happy heart is contagious! When you smile, your spouse smiles. When you laugh, your spouse laughs. Laughter is the best medicine so even in the toughest times, make sure you keep each other smiling as much as possible. Be spontaneous and make an honest effort to genuinely enjoy each other's company. Marriage is forever and in my humble opinion, I'd like to have fun forever.

4. Establish positive rituals.

I LOVE this one. When you go to bed, kiss each other goodnight. When you wake up, grab their hand and tell them good morning. When you leave for the day or even just to run to the grocery store, tell each other "goodbye" with a sweet, simple kiss and a hug. Most couples do this and don't even realize it so if that's you, give yourself a pat on the back. If you need help in this arena, it's ok! Just try it! I promise your man will be pleasantly surprised with your newfound habit!

The good news is that it's never too late to establish any of these into your relationship! And with tomorrow being Valentine's Day, what a more perfect time to start staying in love?!

Relationships are work, a LOT of work, so when you look around at other people's marriages/relationships and start to think "They have more sex than we do, make more money than we make, have more fun than we have, etc...", remind yourself that the grass is always greener where you water it.

Take time to water your relationship.


And because I love you ALL (yes...ALL of you!) and because I couldn't possibly mail out 1,700+ Valentine's Day cards...I hope you'll except my small gift:
Well...not my small gift because I didn't create it but I did, indeed, find it here.
Now get out there and love someone, wouldya!?


  1. Great post! I totally agree with everything you said. I'm getting married in June and hope to apply these types of things to our marriage.

  2. Awesome post Stephanie! :) My husband and I totally send flirty text, it is most essential to still have fun like we all did while dating. My husband and I never say bye. Just something I am not a fan of...we say I love you and hang up the phone. Or see you later. Never bye. To me it is too permanent and I dont like it. But that's just a little thing we have established. :)

  3. Love this post. And I'm not even married - it applies to dating too!

  4. So very true. Especially the distinction in problems and tensions. Good advice :)

  5. Perfect advice Dr. Howard! haha. Seriously though, it is great perspective to know the difference between problems and tensions! Thanks for sharing pretty girl!

  6. Great advice!! I love all the pictures with each tip, so cute

  7. Wondeful post!! Such great advice!

  8. Love these! & they're all so true to keep your relationship up & happy & healthy!

  9. i love allllllll of these Steph and they're so true and inspiring! Esp me reading this as someone who is not yet married. All of you fabulous ladies...you, shay, katie...i LOOK UP to your marriages seriously..seeing them firsthand after reading about them for so long before we met. Makes me SO happy to see you guys all loving eachother!

    I mean, I have to try and look at the positives of Kurt's clothes being stacked up in front of his dresser rather than INSIDE of his dresser. And the argument that ensued about it the other day. And it makes me feel both grateful and guilty because the only reason theyre stacked there is because he has no more space because he gave ME the bigger closet and dresser!

    all of this is just SO important. And I'm patting myself on the back because every morning, kurt leaves before me and im still sleeping but he says i always subconsciously hug and kiss him bye while i'm still asleep haha!! :-)

    grass is always greener where you water it. AAMMMENNN girl!! I love that sentence. And I love you and Beau and your relationship!! Y'all are truly an inspiration


  10. Being married for 2 years has taught me a lot about problems vs tensions... the littest things used to bug me about Jon, mostly the way he kept the house (dishes, clutter, not making bed, etc) and now 2 years later, I find myself becoming a little more like him each day. Life is way too short to find petty things to put a wedge in between us!

  11. Such a sweet post! We are going on 21 months of marriage and I agree with all that you said. The little things in life should not turn into huge problems!

  12. I loved this list! Such simple and practical solutions! I definitely agree with you on the whole problems vs. tensions issues...It is so easy to allow yourself to go off the handle for the silly, little things that really don't matter at the end of the day! It's all about keeping your marriage in the right perspective. Things will never be perfect...but that doesn't mean it's not a great, successful marriage!

  13. Dr. Howard....how can I schedule an appointment?

    Hahhahaha. Great advice, girl! Thank you! :)

  14. I needed this today! With a new baby in the house, my hubby has been on the back burner, and you are so right about showing daily affection. I am going to try to be better about it. Great post!

  15. I love this post! I'm a firm believer of leading by example. It just rubs off! And being open about what you want. Men are NOT mind readers. A few years ago I got a crockpot for valentines day............ :| I had been saying I wanted one so it was thoughtful...just not romantic. I didn't want to make him feel bad so I played it cool but we had a conversation about what we each thought was romantic a few months later. For me, it is surprises...even small ones! For him it's "things I need but don't think to buy or do for myself". (The guy put a gas gift card on his christmas list this year lol). Ever since then he's done the cutest things for me! Even like as simple as getting my favorite drinks at the store without me asking. Had I just complained to my friends and never taken the time to understand each other I'd probably be bummed. I LOVE what you said about problems vs. tensions. That is SO true. It's not a big deal in the scheme of things. LOVE this!

  16. Great advice, I'll take it. Not being married, but engaged, I have learned a lot thus far. I totally agree with your first point, about not nit picking over every little thing. That's a work in progress for me, but I can see how we've both changing for the better.

  17. I love this post! Great job! Those are very vital things in a relationship. They are so little and easy to do but also so easily forgotten. Marriage is always going to be work and I think so many people think it is going to be flowers and romantic evenings. It has its moments but I think the best part is that it is familiar and that means the love lasts!

  18. Oh the affection it really is EVERYTHING.. That's a big hefty reason I called off my engagement among other things.. But a big factor.

  19. I think this is pretty spot on! I've been married about a year and a half and I'd have to say I agree with everything here!

    The Hartungs Blog

  20. You are too cute. And why can't boys put their damn shoes away?

  21. I totally love this post! I love #1 the best though. I think it's definitely a reminder that I needed to hear. Sometimes I tend to exaggerate things that aren't as big as they seem. Thanks for the reminder!

  22. I LOVE this post!!!! I have only been married for a year and I say I don't care how long you have been married.. being consciously aware of all of these things make for a better marriage. :)

  23. Such great advice! We make sure kiss each other every night...even when we are mad at each other. It's a small gesture but I love it. :)

    Happy early Valentine's Day!

    Classy with a Kick

  24. Such great marital advice, thanks special girl! All so true and will definitely help make a happy marriage.
    Will definitely keep trying x

  25. couldn't agree more with you sister!

  26. You are so darn cute, love this post! I am trying to play catch up on your blog since I have been SO out of the loop. Great advice missy :) So loving your pictures you took with Shalyn- they are so good!


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