As my one-year wedding anniversary is approaching (I don’t want to jinx it but I am pretty sure we will hit this milestone…mom, if you’re reading this, that was your daughter being sarcastic per the usual…), I have been thinking about my marriage, the trials thus far, the successes and the amazing journey it has been. Specifically tonight, Tuesday night date night, Rick is out of town and so my date-night-turned-Ann-night inevitably consisted of a bit of work, a 5-mile run, a very random dinner (4 Morning Star Breakfast Sausage Links, part of a Pumpkin Ravioli Lean Cuisine and too many handfuls of Flavor Blasted Pepperidge Farm Goldfish), thinking about Rick and writing. You see, for me, the one-year anniversary milestone is a bit more meaningful because my first marriage didn’t make it a year. There are so many reasons it didn’t. And one day I am sure I will blog (or perhaps write a book) about it but for now, I want to focus on some of the reasons I believe to be marriage saviors, literally and figuratively speaking.
- God. We have God at the center of our marriage. In fact, I have three wedding bands and the middle one represents God and the two outer ones represent Rick and me. This is a daily reminder for me that I can’t be at the center, Rick can’t, but God has to be. We pray together. When we don’t know what to do or how to handle something, we read the bible for guidance. We go to church every Sunday. Rick has a small group of Christian men he meets with weekly to get challenged, be held accountable, to learn how to be a man of integrity, a good father and husband. I have the same thing on Monday nights with a group of 10 women. We believe apart from God, our marriage and who we are as people would look far different than it does today for us.
- Spending time apart. Whether it’s Rick golfing on Saturday morning or me going away for a girls weekend, having a certain amount of independence and freedom, so to speak, is healthy. And for us, that healthiness has led to happiness.
- Love and respect. They say women need love and men need respect. We happen to agree. And we work at it every single day. I actually haven’t read the book in full, but I have heard good things about the book on love and respect. Click here to read more about it.
- Having a great therapist. We are forever indebted to the wonderful and amazing Dr. Paul Harris. I actually once asked Rick if he would consider naming our kid Paul, if it was a boy, of course. He looked at me like I had 4 heads. Okay, so maybe we wouldn’t go that far, but Rick has been seeing Paul for about 3 years and together we have been seeing him for roughly a year and a half. He’s a game-changer for us and we feel incredibly blessed to have found him, to have him as a resource and to not be afraid to be vulnerable and honest with him.
- Travel! Getting away and spending consecutive alone-time together has been awesome for us. Now, we both love to travel and will go away even for a night or two so we may be a bit more extreme (and totally blessed to work for an amazing hotel company!) but I think the point is to get alone time together, experience a new city or culture together and make memories as a family.
- Being flexible, understanding and not taking things too seriously. I don’t think this one needs much more explanation.
Okay, I will wrap it up and finally ease the suspense (I’m sure it’s been tough for you) and address Tuesday Night Date Nights. I love how I capitalized and bolded that phrase as if it’s a formal event. Actually, on second thought, it does deserve the bold and caps and for us, it has been a solid tool in our marriage toolbox. I remember a long time ago, perhaps 2 years at this point, telling Rick I thought we should set a weekly date night. Our schedules are insane, we both travel for work, we both like to work out, Rick has a son (translation: I have a step-son…still getting used to saying that…oh and did I mention there is a smaller age gap between Zach and me than Rick and me? Yep. But I will also keep that in suspense for another blog), we volunteer, I lead a weekly bible study and the list goes on. In true Rick fashion, he didn’t want to commit to that on his fancy Outlook calendar. The pressure of securing that was too much for him. Fast forward 6 months and voila! I receive a meeting invite series in my Outlook calendar for Tuesday nights (weekly) from Mr. Rick Ueno titled “Date Night.” Special thanks to JR, our dear friend, and Dr. Harris (of course). And so, every Tuesday night is date night. We usually see a movie, stay in and cook, hold hands (kidding, just wanted to see if you were paying attention), read, go for a run or frankly, do absolutely nothing at home…together. It’s awesome. We give each other our undivided attention. We are slowing down from the craziness of life. No laptops or checking email or working around the house. We are engaging with each other, talking about life and working on our marriage.