Tuesday, June 25, 2013

happy 2nd wedding anniversary + my top five marriage tips

Today marks Ryan and I's two year anniversary!  It truly feels like we got married a couple of weeks ago- so cliche, I know.  But honestly.  I am one of those girls who literally dreamed of the day she would get married since I first watched Cinderella at age 3.  Most of you all do not know very much about Ryan, other than he is the patient and creative man behind the lens of this blog.  And that he is a total stud ;)  I figured today would be the perfect day to share with you all a little bit of our personal love story. 

Truthfully, I do not know the first time I met Ryan.  We both grew up in Memphis, but went to different high schools.  As soon as I went to college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I pledged a sorority- Delta Zeta.  I met some of my very best friends through this sorority, who went to an all girl sister school of Ryan's all boy brother school.   He attended Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, a mere three hours away.  We would randomly see each other in passing while in Memphis over Thanksgiving Breaks and Christmas Breaks.  I actually went to a party at his brother's house, which is the first time I distinctly remember Ryan...because he Facebooked me the very next day ;)

He and his friends would come and visit UT for football and basketball games.  After one football game in November of Junior year, we danced the night away and shared our very first kiss!  I, of course, was humiliated because I didn't want him to think I was the kind of girl who would kiss the first night I hung out with someone!  I sent him a Facebook message the very next morning letting him know how much fun I had and an apology for the smooch.  (Lame!)  He was so sweet and said we should hang out as soon as we got back to Memphis in November for Thanksgiving, which we did.  We shared another kiss.  Then my family and I went to Whistler, Canada for our annual Christmas ski trip and I finally told my mother I think I had met someone I would like to date seriously.  Obviously, I didn't reveal his name.

Before we both went back to school for second semester, Ryan invited me to a rush event for his fraternity at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.  I went, without  hesitation, and we spent all night talking to each other.  Ryan said that he wanted us to be serious, to which I rolled my eyes.  How in the world were we going to survive a long distance relationship?  They never, ever worked out. I was very doubtful.  He swore to me that we would see each other every weekend.  So we made a deal that we would play it by ear and see if we could fulfill his promise. And we did.  Ryan told me he loved me and that he knew I was the girl he was going to marry after 12 weeks (weekends, really) of dating.
And I knew he meant it.

You receive so much advice from couples, married or not, that you consider when thinking about your personal relationships.  I had many people in my ear about if we should or should not date.  One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for others is to truly follow your heart.  You hear this often, and I use to get worried- what if my heart doesn't know?!?!?! But, I PROMISE, when you know- you know.  You make a decision and your heart is content and at total peace with it.  You CANNOT listen to anyone else in regards to matters of the heart. 

After being married two years (and dating for almost four years before that), Ryan and I's relationship truly could not get any better.  It almost scares me to think of how strong we will be at 10 years, 25 years, or even 50 years.  Is it even possible?  You always dream of finding the person who was perfectly made for you.  And I did.  It's funny how two people can be total, polar opposites in many ways, but also a perfect fit in others.  Ryan is blonde haired, blue eyed, totally athletic and extroverted.  I am brown haired, brown eyed, CANNOT catch a ball and do not enjoy being sweaty, and also extremely shy and introverted.  Yet, we have the same sense of humor, patience, and a willingness to do anything for others.  Ryan did the impossible- he proved me wrong about guys.  And he continues to do so each and every single day. Without further ado, or any more sappiness, here are some things that I have learned along the way in our marriage. 

1.  Set Clear (and realistic) Expectations

Many people take a marriage class through their church before they get married.  At that time, Ryan and I had not yet found a church that we felt met our needs, yet we didn't want to miss out on having those crucial conversations.  Our solution was to complete a devotional together.  We used the "Before I Say I Do" preparational manual for couples. Although I truly grew from this, I am not saying that this is the best devotional for each and every couple.  What I am saying is that you really do need to sit down and have those conversations of expectations from each of you- careers, children, finance, living arrangements, religion, etc.  One of the lessons that most stands out to me is an exercise in which each of us described the characteristics of what we thought made an ideal spouse.  Seems so obvious- but to see it written down of what he thought made a wife, and what I thought made a husband, lead to a very deep and beneficial conversation.

2.  Do not be selfish

I hate to admit it, but this has probably been one of the hardest ones for me.  You go your whole single life looking out for yourself, making sure you are happy and comfortable.  I had never shared a bank account with someone, or had to have a discussion every time I wanted to buy something expensive.  The truth is, it is no longer just you.  Both of your happiness is equally important.  The good news is, like with any life adjustment, it just takes time!  The more you do something, the more of a natural habit it becomes.  In this case, I truly think the old saying is true- it is better to give than to receive.  Nothing makes me happier than to do little things for Ryan and to surprise him.  Keeping the lines of communication open, finances and all, is one of the most important things. 

3.  Do not talk negative about your spouse to others

I had read this piece of advice some time ago, and the more that time passes, the more it has resonated with me.  As with any  relationship,  there will be ups and downs.  In the heat of the moment, people (specifically gals) like to vent to their moms, best friends, etc.  I do not think there is anything wrong with getting advice from others, but I do think you should wait until you have cooled off before you share the details.  Each and every time you share information like this with someone else, you are, in a way, changing their opinion of your spouse.  You get over the issue with time, but that person remembers the things that you shared and how it made you feel at the time.  I do not want my friends or family thinking negative things about my wonderful spouse just because I was frustrated one day for a few hours. Marriage is a very special thing that should be protected and defended!

4.  Focus on the Positive

This piece of advice spans many topics, not just marriage. Too many times we focus on the negative, somehow it seems to just come naturally to many people.  NOBODY wants to be around a negative Nancy, especially your husband.  I have really learned to pick my battles.  So he doesn't load the dish washer in the most effective way- is it really worth having a conversation over? Would you want the person you love continuously pointing out your flaws and what you are not good enough at?
I don't think so.   
TELL him when you appreciate him and why.
TELL him what he is great at.
If you are not going to be each others biggest cheerleaders, who is?

I am not great at math, but the formula I keep in the back of my mind is for every negative comment that comes out of my mouth, there needs to be three positives.  If something is big enough to sit down and have a conversation over, try to keep the accusations out of it and really think about the delivery and tone of your message.
That is one of the biggest reasons I love Ryan, I know he has my back no matter what. 

5.  Have fun together

Once you get married, it is so easy to find yourself in a slump.  It is kind of a bittersweet thing, it is so refreshing knowing you don't always have to try so hard, like many of us do in the beginning of a relationship. Yet, you are both exhausted and stressed from work.  You need to save money for a house, vacation, etc. But, it is so important to continue to date.  Get dressed up.  Go out to dinner and a movie.  Surprise them with little things. Ryan and I have a promise that we have a minimum of one date night a week. Sometimes I plant love post-its randomly in his lunch, on the mirror, etc.  I see something small that reminds me of him- like a Memphis Grizzlies Tervis Tumbler and grab it for him.
Truly, it is the small gestures that mean the most to us.

Happy, happy, happy two years, Ry!  

Somehow my love for your manages to grow more and more each day.
You have made me the happiest girl in the whole world, and I cannot wait to see how our love story grows throughout the years.

Thanks for following along!  What are some relationship tips your have learned along the way?

To see more of our wedding, you can go here!

PS:  With all of the changes in Google Reader, please make sure you follow me via Bloglovin or some other source :) 
Also, be sure to leave me your link so I can follow along, too!



  1. This was an adorable post! Loved reading your story :)

  2. Loved this post! You two are adorable together, the perfect little puzzle pieces! Thank you so much for this advice, certainly appreciated during this time of my life, preparing for a marriage of my own. #3 is something that I so strongly believe in, and #5 is something we try to do every day, even if it is just getting on the floor and laughing at the pugs ;)
    Enter my $100 jewelry giveaway!

  3. These guys are extremely affordable, and their food was so delicious. My guests could not stop talking about it! The staff is so on top of everything.


Thank you for your sweet comments! I read each and every one of them.


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