3 Tricks for a Happier Marriage

Barcelona, February 2011.
It's February, which means another anniversary since J and I started dating - wait for it - 14 years ago! That is quite hard to believe. But here we are. I have done the math correctly. Actually, we met just before Christmas 14 years ago and then hung out or went out in groups with our friends over the course of a month or so. But, our first meaningful, officially-became-an-exclusive-item date was 14 years ago on the 21st. We went to a formal party and heard a band play and stood at the back holding hands and smooched a bunch. Then, after the band was over, we were standing in the hallway and there was a Seurat on the wall. We were admiring it and reminiscing about life in Europe as we had both recently returned from study abroad and both very much wanted to go back. That was when we first decided we would go to Switzerland. That very moment! We both missed speaking another language so much and J said, "We could move to Switzerland because both German and French are spoken there." It's crazy to think we actually did. It's not exactly accurate that French and German are spoken in Switzerland; you have to ride a train for a couple hours from Zurich to speak French and be understood, but close enough!

CΓ΄te d'Azur, April 2011.
So this is the month I always get misty eyed and feel really proud of the relationship and family and life J and I have made together. It's pretty damn good. But, of course, marriage is also one of the hardest things a person will ever do. Our first couple years of marriage were really rough. I can be a bit of a commitment-phobe and the commitment level fully freaked me out. But I'm glad we are here now, still together. Marriage is definitely worth the hard work. Sometimes the hard work is marriage counseling, or taking a good hard look at one's own self and flaws. Other times it's being patient and kind despite frustration and dissatisfaction and being wise enough to know that any relationship, but particularly one that spans the entirety of one's life, is bound to go through phases and stages. Sometimes it's keeping your mouth shut and knowing when to go to bed early.

Pompeii, October 2010.

And then there are the little things, the simple things that make life so much easier. So, without further ado, the three little things that make marriage way easier for us:

Before we had a dishwasher, we argued a lot about the correct way to do dishes, or who would do the dishes. When the dishes really piled up, the mess made me crazy. Then, after we got a dishwasher, all arguments about dishes were over. Having a dishwasher really is the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, I would rather have to slice all of my bread than give up our dishwasher. It seems like a given, or maybe silly, but having a dishwasher has been so good for us.

Separate Closets
Once you're married, you share everything. We share our bedroom, our bathroom, our bed. So it's nice to have my own space, kind of the way my locker was my own space in high school. My closet is organized by color and type of clothing and I only use white wooden IKEA hangers. All of my bags and purses are on the top shelf and I have space for my shoes and scarves and accessories and I love that it's the one place where everything is as I left it when I return to it. Add kids into the mix and it truly is the last sacred space.

Separate Toothpaste
I can't stand the way J squeezes the toothpaste tube and he doesn't notice that he does it (right down by the spout, crunched up and mangled!) so pretty early on, we stopped sharing toothpaste. We each have our own tube and we don't touch each other's. They're easy to tell apart!

What are the little ways that you avoid conflict in your marriage? Please share! One can never have too many happy marriage hacks. ;)

PS - Obviously keeping these separate has been a marriage saver, too! xo


  1. Our travel together became way more fun when we divided the tasks according to our strengths. I book stuff and do the advance planning and packing. He does all the organisation on the day of travel. I am so much more fun to travel with when I'm not worrying about missing trains/planes so he works out the timing and just tells me when we have to be leaving and I just follow along staying relaxed on the travel day. Of course the key is figuring out your own split of take like this because everyone is different. Also having the other person do the chores you loathe in exchange for doing theirs is awesome. Makes you not mind whatever chore you do because you know they appreciate it and that you get to skip your least favourite too.

  2. It's that time of year for us too- Super Bowl always gets me remembering meeting my husband 11 years ago. I laughed at the toothpaste- my husband finds it so irritating that I don't meticulously squeeze from the bottom like he does. But then, he drives me nuts the way he casually leaves empty bottles or wrappers lying around- if you care about the aesthetics of toothpaste why don't you care about our living room? But bottles and toothpaste notwithstanding we are a team through and through, and while love shifts and changes over the years it's only deepened for us. πŸ’› Happy anniversary!

  3. Happy Anniversary -
    And.Don't forget his AMAZING hair! LOL


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