From the Archives: How to Say I Love You All Year Round

img_7482Happy Valentines Day! I’m throwing it back to a post from my archives.

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

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More

Update: I’ll be taking a break from wedding content for a few months to focus on my personal life. To catch up on past content, feel free to check out the links above, and scroll down this page for other posts. If you subscribe to my blog via email then you’ll be notified when I’m back!

Expectation Setting When Planning Your Wedding

Once you have the shiny ring on your finger is when you need to step back and realistically ask yourself and your future spouse about expectations for the big day. The reality is that your wedding day will not meet your expectations. In many, and likely unexpected ways, it will likely exceed your expectations. In other ways, it will not meet the details of the image that you have made up in your mind.

Leading up to the big day, here are a few times that wedding planning did NOT meet my expectations.

  • Once I got engaged, I knew that planning the wedding would become a priority in my life. But I got a quick and very harsh reality check when I realized that other life priorities would still be important, and unexpected hard challenges might still come my way. Life doesn’t stop or become more smooth just because you’re engaged. My ask to you: know that juggling these priorities is a dry run for what life will be after you are wed. When two become one (even from the engagement) means there will be double the joys and double the sorrows. Prepare for that earlier and try your best to welcome what comes your way.
  • After I selected my wedding gown, I came back 8 months later for my first fitting. I thought it would fit better than when I first picked it out and would only take a few alterations to make it right. Wrong. It felt like it almost got worse than the sample gown. It took two other fittings to make it right. It wasn’t a big issue, but it definitely deflated the emotions from my first fitting after dreaming about it all of those months. My ask to you: be patient with the vision that you have for the big day. Whether it be your dress fitting or trimming down before the wedding, it will all come together beautifully.
  • I had three women in my bridal party but only two attended the wedding. A longtime friend let me down leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My expectation was that having a small bridal party with my closest would be a smooth experience, but it blew up and brought a lot of unwanted drama. It ended up working out for the best because the people that genuinely wanted me happy were standing next to me, but it was something that I wish that I could do over. My ask to you: when you choose your ‘team bride’ ask yourself if it’s someone that will be by your side for life before you invite them to join you to be in all of your photos. If there’s someone that you’re on the fence with, trust your gut.

My hopes are that hearing about my experiences, you might benefit when you’re setting your own expectations. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy because you will be over the moon, but sometimes a mental reset of what you might expect can be helpful!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Husband Appreciation Day

Today is Husband Appreciation Day. While that should be every day, social media likes to make an annual hashtag out of pretty much everything. So in honor of this day, and the fact that hubby and I just celebrated 9 years since our dating anniversary (Friday), I thought I’d share our love story.

Ever since high school I was often in a relationship. Most were very innocent short 3-month bursts of spending time with a guy and enjoying typical teenage activities together. I enjoyed the company and liked the idea of being with one person. I had a few get a little more serious as years passed and then I had one on and off longer term relationship with someone that I thought was the one. It turns out that he wasn’t and I am thankful for all that relationship taught me.

In college my family moved from Texas to California (which is currently where I reside.) I dated a little bit but nothing serious. A boyfriend and I broke up and then I decided to be single for a while. I wanted to get my priorities straight, to be able to love God first, then love myself, before I could have the space in my heart to love someone else. I learned over time that if this were done in the wrong order, it could be detrimental for me and what was truly important to me in a soul mate. I ended up being single for two years.

Fast forward and my sister was in town for her Spring Break. We went to T-Mobile to get her a new phone. A kind and funny employee with spiky hair helped us out. He had a beautiful smile and made me laugh but I don’t pay much attention. My sister saw there might be a spark there and got me more engaged in the dialogue. We ended up going in another time to see him and actually pick up her phone. My sister encouraged me to give him my business card.

I had two cards on me, one with an email address and one with a phone number. I gave him the one with my email address. Up until that point, I had never met anyone like this out in public (that I would end up dating)—it was always through existing circles like friends of friends, school or church. But he emailed me. And we wrote back and forth before we made plans to meet up again, so I then gave him my number.

We casually went on dates for a few weeks, I knew that he was different and that there might be something there, but didn’t know if it would be a ‘forever’ thing. When we started spending more time together and wanted to be exclusive, I made him ask me to be his girlfriend! (He thought that was strange, but how else would be know when our anniversary would be?)

I am glad that I dated because it helped me learn what was important to me and see how different people have unique strengths and weaknesses. And for that season that I spent time alone, I knew that God was not only preparing my heart but was working in the life of my then-boyfriend. Five years later we were married. I am feeling incredibly blessed that we have each other as life partners and I have so enjoyed being able to live out our love story. So today as I sit here, nine years since he asked me to be ‘his’, I appreciate him more than ever.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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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

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More

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

Follow Me on Instagram and Pinterest for More