3 Tips for Expectations of Marriage

Yesterday we celebrated four years of marriage! It was incredibly special and I am thankful to have another year of life behind my life partner and I.

As we enter a new year of marriage I have been thinking lately about the expectations that each one of us has when going into marriage. Expectations can change over time but each one of us enters a wedding (and the years that follow) with preconceived notions in our heads.

It’s important to think about how the past as an individual will shape what you come into marriage believing. Past relationships, and the relationships around you (like that of your parents) will greatly change what you believe marriage should be.

Here are my tips for expectations:

    Talk to your spouse about what you envision and hope for your marriage to be. And don’t just have this talk in premarital counseling. Discuss this over time because your needs will change in different seasons of life. Be open and share what your best version of a marriage looks like, because that’s likely what you expect to strive towards. If you don’t share this then your spouse isn’t going to realize what your expectations are, so how can they meet them?
    Challenge what’s most important to you and in the process, learn to let some things go. Here’s an example. My parents were married 33 years and you would have never seen them without their wedding rings on. They both always had their rings on THAT finger. Before I got engaged, I dreamt of having someone love me enough to choose to put a beautiful ring on my hand. He did and I love my ring and wear it 24/7. We then planned the wedding and bought a beautiful band for my husband. I knew he didn’t wear jewelry, but I ‘expected’ that he was going to make an exception and wear his wedding ring. Two months after our wedding, he lost it. We replaced it with silicone band(s). He kept losing them. Kept taking them off because he didn’t like how it felt. Now, I have two options: fight over it, keep replacing them, make him do it…or let it go. Would I love to have him wear a ring? Of course. But is it a battle worth having? No, it’s not. In the grand scheme of things, we’re committed and he’s an incredible husband. That’s most important to me.
    As time passes from your wedding day and you continue to grow in your relationships, what’s most important to you might change. Like think about when you were dating and not living together, chores at home weren’t even on your list of expectations. Then once you’re married, you might be able to evenly split home responsibilities and that will work for a while. But what happens if one of you is working more while working towards a promotion? Or a health challenge comes up for the other? Be open to change because things will ‘look different’ than they did in the beginning of your marriage. That’s a good thing, though…it will keep life interesting!

If you’re committed to loving each other and working through ‘life together’ those are the most important expectations to be met…and exceeded!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to Say I Love You All Year Round

As February kicks off, you will likely begin to see all-things-love with Valentines Day right around the corner! What I’ve found is that the lovey dovey sentiments while in a relationship can sometimes come a little ‘easier’ when you’re dating (as opposed to in marriage.) Being married can be incredibly romantic but you might need to become a little more intentional to keep the spark turned on during some life seasons together.

So what I highly would recommend is that you don’t just do nice things for one another during the annual events like Valentines, anniversaries or birthdays. Year after year that will likely begin to feel forced. And it’s important to remember that it’s the small moments of everyday kindness that can make your spouse feel cherished and loved. Here are a few ways that I think you can say ‘ILY’ all year round, in no particular order.

  • Surprise your spouse by doing a house chore that typically falls outside of your responsibilities.
  • Go to their favorite restaurant or movie of their choice…without complaining
  • Take their car to the car wash or fill it up with gas. While you’re at it, buy their favorite car air freshener.
  • Leave a love note in their car, under their pillow, or on the bathroom mirror.
  • Send a nice text to let them know that they are on your mind during the day. This could be an emoji, a cute photo of the two of you, or a love quote or saying. You could even send a link to a song that reminds you of them.
  • Deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolate-covered fruit to their work…not on Valentines Day!
  • Surprise them with a gift card to their favorite spa for a pedicure or massage.
  • Bring home their favorite drink from Starbucks with a hand written message on the cup.
  • Plan an entire day to getaway and drive to your favorite romantic spot.
  • Propose an impromptu dinner at the beach or visit to the local park.
  • Bake (or purchase) their favorite dessert for a normal weekday night at home.
  • Plan ahead for date night with a bottle of wine to share, either their favorite kind or one that might remind you of your wedding day or wedding location.
  • Play your favorite romantic song and ask them for a slow dance, in the kitchen.
  • An album of boudoir photos, perhaps?
  • Change up your nighttime routine and serve them in ways that they desire to be served, not the other way around.
  • Check out the app “Hotel Tonight” for an inexpensive hotel stay.
  • If you want to try something completely different, spend some time on the Groupon app for creative+local ideas that could create for a special experience!

These are just examples of small things which can truly add up to a fulfilled life with one another. I hope you can make these personal to your insidiously personalities and relationship-norms. If Valentines becomes ‘less of a big deal’ because you do these things together often; that isn’t a bad thing. Try to put a few of these into action in 2019 and just see how it goes!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Another Year Has Come to an End

It’s been another great year for me over at Girl with a Diamond Ring. This is truly a passion project for me and it’s such a fun hobby to take my mind off of ‘real life’!

I have now been married 3.5 years and am so thankful that I have my best friend by my side to endure the ups and downs of life. He always makes me laugh, with his silly dance moves and sarcastic sense of humor. He takes care of me and asks me “How can I support you?” when I’m struggling. I have had great marriage mentors, too. I have been incredibly inspired by my parents who celebrated 33 years this summer before my dad lost a quick and tragic battle to kidney cancer.

If I have learned anything through this recent season that my family has endured, it would be to hold your loved ones close and pick your battles (especially in marriage). At the end of the day, much of the stress and ‘small’ day to day things that we freak out over are not worth it. Stay present, give thanks, and let your spouse know that your life is better with them by your side.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my other social channels for GWADR, check out my regrams on Instagram from some of my favorite wedding photographers and real bride moments, and hop on over to Pinterest for my wedding theme boards and style inspiration. To catch up on my blogs, just scroll down this page!

Happy New Year: don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Seasonal Wedding Details

Christmas and New Years weddings are the best, but since they often overlap with an already well-known holiday, it can be easy to become too cookie cutter. Think outside of the box and make this season your own.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to implement for weddings taking place in December and January:

  • Have a hot chocolate bar. It’s unique, budget-friendly, and super easy. Don’t forget flavor additions like candy canes, marshmallows or even cinnamon! You can also take advantage of seasonal whipped cream flavors like pumpkin or peppermint (just don’t put the cans out, please! Place them in another container that feels more wedding-appropriate.)
  • Consider adding a s’mores bar if the venue you’re at can help you figure out the logistics.
  • Have some cozy blankets or pairs of gloves available for guests. Consider matching them to your wedding colors.
  • Speaking of colors, don’t get caught up in what you ‘think’ you should do. A red and green or blue and silver wedding theme has been done a million times. If you have other colors in mind, go for it. They won’t feel out of place if you keep the seasons in mind.
  • If you are fans of Christmas, Christmas trees and poinsettias can make for beautiful decorations. Wrapped Christmas boxes that look like gifts can be cute for your table centerpieces, too. Just be careful not to overdo it because it’s a wedding and not another Christmas party.
  • Don’t forget that you can use candles as part of your decor! They can be super romantic and easily set up the environment. Throw in some that are scented like pine or cinnamon.
  • On the sweetheart table, wrap super thick and luxe blankets around the bride and grooms chairs. Then you can use those in your future home.
  • Get creative with a signature drink with seasonal colors, alcohol flavors and drink names.
  • Tie in the season with your favors. Think, hot chocolate pouches, peppermint coffee or mini-liquor bottles and ornaments can be great ideas for your guests can enjoy after the big day (without breaking your bank!) If you want to invest a little more, you can give away blankets or snow globes that help represent you as a couple.
  • Light up the dance floor with glow sticks and confetti. If it’s around New Years, bring in a disco ball or fun hats and sunglasses.
  • For your grand exit, bring in a snow machine…if there isn’t real snow coming down!

At the end of the day, remember that this is your wedding and it’s important that you don’t get too caught up in the seasonality of details. Incorporate the ideas that feel true to who you are as a couple and don’t force it! For more seasonal wedding ideas, visit my Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/girlwithadiamondring.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Creative Wedding Gift Ideas

The holidays are quickly approaching and that will bring with it some beautiful winter weddings. It will be likely that you’re invited to multiple weddings or wedding showers in a short amount of time, which might make it difficult on your wallet since this can already be a financially-strapped season.

Here are a few recommendations for wedding gifts that don’t break the bank. And remember that you don’t have to be cheap about it, you can still do something classy or meaningful!

  • Take them out before the wedding to somewhere like a local wine bar or specialty dessert place. If you just make sure that it’s far enough in advance before their planning gets too hectic, some couples really appreciate having some down time and a night out together leading up to the big day!
  • Go in on a registry item (like a bedding set, for example) with another wedding guest and make it a shared gift so you can split the price.
  • Buy the “smaller” registry items that many others won’t. (Do watch out because these can add up quickly, but if you focus on one room like a bathroom then it likely won’t break the bank.)
  • Offer quality time to the couple and share a home cooked meal after they return from their honeymoon. This could be helpful for them if they’re still up to their elbows in moving boxes and they can reminisce on the fun memories. Make this night feel special for the ‘bride and groom’ and make them your guests of honor.
  • Give them a gift card to a place like the movie theater in their home town for them to go on a date night.
  • Purchase something meaningful that ties into their shared interests as a couple. It could be something like a cute picnic basket for the couple that likes to go to the park or nice matching water bottles (those that keep water cool for, like, ever) for the couple that enjoys hiking. Just add a sweet note with the gift so it’s clear that you put thought into it.
  • If you want to buy them something meaningful but don’t have the cash right then, let them know that you’ll go in on wedding prints for them (like a canvas shipped from Shutterfly) once their wedding photos have been edited. Just make sure they don’t forget, so reach back out if you see their photos hit social media and offer to make the purchase!

As long as you go into this with the right intentions, that will be made clear. No matter what? True friendship and support for the newlyweds post-wedding day is priceless.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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