In many ways, working with couples on a regular basis helps me to re-align my own relationship with my husband.
Each time I photograph a couple I get to peek into their world and get inspired. First, the excitement around their wedding is contagious. It always brings me back to how I felt when I was engaged, and it reminds me how lucky I am to have had what they have now. Second, I get to learn from them. I get to see how they relate to each other, and how they raise each other up. I often go away thinking about how I can incorporate some of what I learned from their relationship into my own.
Today I sat down to make a slideshow of Jocelyn + Morgan's images, and I realized it has given me the opportunity to share some of these lessons with you.
I was reading an article recently about making friendship a priority in your relationship, and it reminded me of Jocelyn & Morgan's engagement session. The author spoke about tips and tricks for how to become closer friends with your partner, and even though many of them were cliché and the article left a lot to be desired... it was the heading that really intrigued me.
'10 Habits of Happy Couples who Make Friendship a Priority'
Jocelyn & Morgan's engagement session was like a date night with a photographer! They picked three things they have fun doing together, and we went from there. It honestly was like hanging out with two best friends for the night, out on a great date!
So I was thinking, what small things could I do today, and every day, to make sure that my friendship with my husband stays vibrant?
Here's what I've come up with:
Make Time for FUN
If you're anything like me (and Jocelyn, and Morgan!) you probably find it's WAY too easy to take on new projects. I often find myself in a place where the things I've committed to are exciting and they make me happy, but they may be demanding too much of my time.
Here are some ways I can plan ahead today, to make sure we have fun this week:
I can look at my calendar, choose a day, and tell my husband to keep the day free for a surprise. Then I can watch him squirm for the next two weeks while I plan this "surprise" in secret.
I can write a note, or cut a comic out of the newspaper to sneak into his lunch tomorrow morning.
I can find a new recipe and make dinner with him when he gets home.
I can dig out a board game or a deck of cards and make sure we have some fun tonight, instead of disappearing into our own little worlds after dinner.
Get Out of the House
Whenever people have asked us for marriage advice my husband has always said, "When things get hard, go for a walk." I think this has worked for us because getting caught up in the day-to-day can make the annoying things about our relationship stand out. When we finally get out of the house and do something fresh we remember that life together is better.
Today, we can:
Go for a walk
Go see a movie
Catch some local live theatre or an improv show
Sit on the deck, wrap ourselves in blankets, and pop a bottle of bubbly!
Be tourists in our own town and visit the Muttart, City Hall, or Fort Edmonton Park
Pack a picnic dinner and go to the neighbouhood park for dinner after work
Go watch a local sports team play
Try New Things Together
New experiences provide opportunities to surprise and impress each other the way we did when we were dating! I might forget how smart he is until he blows me away with his math skills solving a problem in an escape room. He might not know that I was a woodworking wizard in high-school unless we take a workshop together where I can show off my skills. These moments are critical in the effort to fall in love with each other again and again as our lives get more predictable.
Today, I can jot down new activities in Edmonton that we haven't done yet, as a roadmap for the next time we have a day off together...
Classes & Workshops
Put the Phones Down
I don't even want to know how much time I spend scrolling through Instagram. Let's be clear - I LOVE Instagram - but I can still admit I would have more time to play board games, read a book, or watch Netflix with my husband if I didn't have an iPhone glued to my right hand all day long.
Some guidelines that could make our house more social:
No phones to distract us from catching up at dinner
No phones in the bedroom so we can have better conversations or read a book together before bed
No phones in the morning so we can get ready and have breakfast truly together
It's not the rules that matter, it's the act of creating boundaries so that the time and attention we have for each other is respected and treated as sacred.
Take Time to Appreciate Eachother
What if we never took for granted the amount of help and support we get from our partner? What if we stopped EXPECTING them to always be there for us, and instead showed appreciation each and every time they helped us out with something? If my friend made me dinner I would try to repay them in some way, so when my husband makes me dinner (almost every night) why don't I look for small ways to repay him with kindness?
I think I'm pretty good at gratitude, but here's a list of things that go above and beyond my usual thank you:
Pouring him a bath if he's had a hard day
Bringing home a bottle of his favourite beer, wine, or soda
Organizing or deep-cleaning an area of the house we've been putting off
Bringing him a coffee mid-day at work
Making him a DIY gift just because (Click HERE for great DIY gift ideas)
If I can translate even one of these ideas into reality today, I believe my relationship will grow a little brighter. Bottom line, when we give our attention to others it gives them the desire to pay attention to us. My husband is already my best friend, so I better make sure he can tell.