Thursday, October 20, 2016


Today is Michael's and my nine year anniversary!  I started this blog when we were engaged so it's been a pretty great journal of our lives... up until 2012 when it turned into the Jude & Sloane show.

I went into our marriage thinking we were a great couple.  Several years of wedded bliss confirmed my suspicions.  I wish I could say once the kids arrived things just kept getting better - and in some ways they did - but my blog isn't the only thing that turned into the Jude & Sloane show.  

I've done a few posts on what I would tell my 16-year-old self so I'm going to dedicate this year's anniversary post to nine things I would tell my newly married self.  Because, oh my goodness, she didn't have a clue.

1.  Travel before you have kids.  This is one I think we nailed.  We didn't go anywhere too crazy, but Michael and I went on several trips before kids and they are some of our fondest memories.  The furniture and new cars were nice, but nothing makes me smile more than talking about our trips.  If you love to travel I can't emphasize this one enough.  I think we always thought we'd continue traveling once we had our first child but when you have two at a time, logistics make it quite difficult.

2.  SAVE.  Going from dual income/no kids to one income/two kids was a swift kick in the pants.  So many times we've looked at each other and asked, "Where did the money GO before kids?"  Of course we remember where it went... Fancy sushi dates on Tuesday nights.  Late night movies with giant popcorns and cokes.  Do I regret the fun times?  Meh, I don't think so.  But going from no budget to a very, very, very tight budget was so hard.  Maybe just share a popcorn.  And save the sushi for a special occasion.

3.  Fighting does not make you a bad couple.  This has been a hard lesson for me.  Why?  Because Michael and I don't fight.  I need two hands (maybe one?) to count the number of true fights we've had in nine years of marriage.  I always wore this as a badge of honor.  What I didn't realize is this often means crucial words are left unsaid.  Grudges held.  Fights don't harm a relationship as long as you work through it.  Silence hurts.

4.  You are not #1.  I think this is an easy rule in the beginning.  You are so excited to be married and you want the world for your spouse.  You didn't want to spend your Sunday afternoon watching football?  Who cares, he's happy.  You didn't want to shop till you dropped?  Who cares, she loved it. As the years go by and kids arrive, it's very easy to make the kids your #1 priority.  And in the early days, I think that is to be expected.  However, there comes a time when they get a bit older and are more self-sufficient.  When that happens, remember to put your spouse first again - not yourself.  Once I realized I could finally take a breath, I put my needs first and didn't look back.  I felt like I'd earned it.  Terrible idea.

5.  Date Nights Are Important.  With twins we didn't have people knocking down our door to babysit.  No clue why.  :)  Also, due to budget restrictions mentioned above we didn't get out much.  I wish we would've realized how much we could do once the kids were asleep.  I read about this all the time - keep the date nights up - and I completely agree.  Even if you don't leave the house.  Even if it means eating cereal for dinner and watching a made-for-tv movie together.  Have a date night.

6.  Embrace the Mess.  The physical mess, the mental mess, the metaphorical mess.  When you get married, offer your partner grace.  When you have kids, offer yourself grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.

7.  Pick Your Battles.  As I mentioned above, Michael and I rarely fight.  However, that doesn't mean we were lovebirds constantly complimenting each other.  I picked every battle.  Rather than be grateful for all the things he did, I noticed the one or two things he didn't.  Teachers always tell us to offer more positive reinforcement than criticism with our children.  I think that should be the golden rule for all humans.

8.  Don't Lose Yourself.  I've written about this multiple times.  Some of the strongest marriages I know are two individuals who have their own passions, jobs, friends, etc.  It doesn't mean they don't make time for each other, it simply means they never lost who they were.  At some point I lost who I was.  It came after kids and it wasn't a pretty revelation.  I've since gained some direction (still have a ways to go) but I wish I'd never let it get to the point where I barely recognized myself.

9.  Eye Contact, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation.  Look each other in the eyes when you talk.  Hug as often as you can (even if - especially if - you don't feel like it).  Don't just tell your spouse you love them, tell them WHY you love them.  I'm a firm believer that saying it out loud affirms them and reminds you what a special gift you have right in front of you.

This past year was the hardest we've experienced yet, mostly because of the reasons above and mostly because of me.  Fortunately, rather than turn away from one another we chose to turn toward each other and became stronger because of it.  It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't easy.  But it was necessary.  And, as with all things on this dear blog, it's very much a work in progress.

In plenty and in want
In joy and in sorrow
In sickness and in health

Here's to year 10...


Bitzsoi said...

This is great advice, Meredith. Thank you for it. My husband and I are about to be five years in our marriage on Nov 4th so it's good to read about somebody who's been there and is willing to show how to make it work even longer than five.

Kerry said...

I love your advice - I found myself nodding along in agreement to almost everything. My husband and I have been married 5.5 years and have 3.5 year old twin boys - I really wish I had known and followed #1! Now I dream about what we'll do and where we'all go when they go to college haha!
Also, every time you write a blog post, I feel like we should be friends :)

Aubrey said...

This is awesome advice. So sorry it's been a rough year for you. If it helps, I've been right there with you. Here's to a stronger, happier, more loving tenth year!

Emily said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder list! Wishing you two many more happy years with the (three!) kids!

Laura said...

Really great post! It's interesting how marriage relationships change throughout the years and circumstances. How wonderful that you recognize the reasons things aren't going well and figure out how to make it right! I can relate to your post SO much! Happy anniversary! 😀


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