Maintaining Love & Meeting Needs

IMG_2680 - CopyMy husband and I had a whirlwind romance.  We started dating and almost instantaneously fell in love.  Six months later we both knew we wanted to marry each other.  A few short months after that realization we were engaged.  Another two months later we were married (just under   a year from our first date–and yes, I planned a wedding in two months).  We didn’t slow down after that either.  Within a couple of months of our wedding, we were pregnant.  We had a baby and bought our first house all before our first anniversary.  We conquered all the milestones that traditionally many couples take on over several years.  While each milestone was one worth celebrating and was exciting, they also came with mountains of stress, frustration, and anxiety.  As a couple, we have faced a lot together and have had countless arguments. Yet, we have always managed to keep our love strong…Here’s how we do it.  We meet each others’ needs.

Every Sunday evening we ask, “what do you need from me this week?”

By asking this question, we not only communicate our biggest needs to one another but the answer often leads to revealing conversations about how the other is feeling; feelings that might of otherwise have been left unsaid.  We are able to work through disagreements, clarify misunderstandings, and appreciate stress that may be brought on inside and out of the home.  We end our conversation with asking each other what prayers are needed.  In the most overwhelming moments, it’s nice to know that my loved one is praying for me.   If you aren’t spiritual, you can appreciate knowing that your person is thinking of you when you need him or her the most.

We keep a “Love Journal.”

I was very surprised that my husband suggested we keep a book of notes between one another after we read this blog posting together.  I am happy to brag that my husband is one of the sweet ones who frequently leaves me love letters scattered throughout the house.  I used to find post-its on the mirror, scraps of paper on the counter, and sweet words on our dry-erase board (and I admit, I did the same for him).  As sentimental as I am, I have each and every one of those notes stored safely in my “Jesse box.”  Our love journal has not replaced our love notes, rather it has compiled them.  Gushy sweet nothings, words of encouragements, and playful banter all go into our journal.  After writing in it, the journal gets hidden somewhere new for the other to find.  We communicate our love and adoration verbally every day, but it’s nice to be able to sit down and read a sweet note from my darling when he’s not around, particularly when I’m feeling down or overwhelmed.

We go to bed angry.

Honestly, if Jesse had his way, we wouldn’t go to sleep angry, but I think that’s more because he doesn’t want to deal with my wrath two days in a row (the man sleeps like a log; he couldn’t lose sleep over an argument even if he tried).  But sometimes, folks, you just need to go to bed mad!  I think the old sage advice of “never go to bed angry” is just ridiculous.  If you’re upset and TIRED, the best decision would be to get some sleep.  What argument can be reasonably resolved if both parties are extra crabby from exhaustion?  There still may be anger in the morning but at least we aren’t tired.  Moreover, sometimes I just need space.  Lord knows I can hold a grudge so I rarely wake the morning of an unresolved dispute feeling completely forgiving; however! I typically have more perspective and am more willing to hear my husband’s words.  Similarly, feeling refreshed, my husband is able to communicate more clearly and we generally reach a conclusion relatively quickly.  If we tried to sort through every argument before lights out, we’d be up all night.

So there you have it, folks.  Jesse and I maintain our love with communication.  While daily we may not be the best at sharing our needs, we make sure they get expressed explicitly at least once a week.  We make sure we put our love in writing for the other to enjoy as it’s needed (not to mention the added excitement that goes along with finding a sweet note). And, we go to bed angry…to make sure that we both get our feelings heard.  Two years and many milestones later, our love feels just as fresh and new as it did after our first month of dating.

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