My husband and I have been married for a year now.
We also have three children from my previous marriage. When we walked into this marriage, we didn't get a honeymoon phase where it was just the two of us. We were automatically thrown into the married with three children life. Those of you who have three children, you know this isn't a walk in the park. We went through a multitude of changes in the short time we have been living together and married.
We have known each other since we were thirteen but living in different states. When we finally decided we were all in, my husband moved from Minnesota to Mississippi for us to have a real shot. So we went from living completely separate lives to living together. With three children. He was the real champ; I was used to life with three kids. He had what we like to call his "training day" because my aunt was there, then he jumped into the stay at home dad life while I worked and he searched for a job.
It was definitely hard and stressful, but we learned a few things in order to keep the romance alive.
First things first, discover your love language.
My husband and I have completely different love languages. Mine is words of affirmation, and his is quality time. While my husband appreciates when I tell him how much I appreciate him, which I do very often, he really needs that quality time together in order to feel connected. For me, I need to hear that I'm doing a great job. I need to hear that he loves me and needs me. Since we have different love languages, we often express love in the way we would want to feel loved.
Make each other a priority
My husband and I struggle with this one a lot. Between children, my job, school, and him being in the Army there are not always enough hours in the day. We try our best to go to bed together, but he requires more wind down time and less sleep than I do so it doesn't always work. What I do know, is that on weeks we let our other priorities top our time together there is a disconnect.
Go on dates.
These don't have to be big, extravagant, and expensive dates. Go to the park together. Go to the movies. Go to Starbucks and just talk. One of our favorites is going for Mexican food and then walking through an office supply store. The important thing to take away from this is to spend time together.
Love is a choice. You have to wake up every day with the intention of loving your partner. It is not always easy. You have to see the very worst parts of a person, all of their darkness, and then choose to love them anyway. One of the benefits of knowing each other so long, my husband and I know each others darkest corners. We understand each other on a level that only thousands of hours of conversation can achieve. We choose love. Everyday.
Intimacy is a big part of any relationship. I'm not only talking about physical intimacy. I'm talking about the kind of intimacy that leaves your soul laid bare in front of your partner. I've always had a problem with being who I am, because I've never liked myself very much. I still don't like myself, but I'm now able to share those feelings with my partner because he understands who I am on a much deeper level.
While this is not the end all of a healthy marriage, we have found that these five things have kept us going so far. True love is really hard to find these days. And even harder to keep. You have to make the decision every single day.