Friday, February 14, 2014

Change Me: The First Step in Improving Your Marriage

Yes, it's that day. Valentine's Day. My kids are adorable and awesome (and sometimes smelly and  gross) and I love them a whole lot. However, today's post is dedicated to Gary. My goal for this year was to make him a greater priority than the kids. This has done a lot for our marriage and I know that I can do so much more.

The biggest thing that has changed my mindset? Six months ago, we were in a tough spot. I don't think Gary really knew how frustrated I was until I finally told him straight out. I won't tell you that exact conversation but it was not a conversation that I ever thought we would have. I had been thinking `He's so annoying!  He's driving me crazy.  Will he ever change? We can't have a marriage like this anymore.'.  I just kept feeling like, `Well, he's not investing much so I don't want to invest. He doesn't make me feel important so I'm not going to do anything that makes him feel important.'. Yes, I was selfish and tired. At that point, you can either give it all you've got or not. Thankfully I decided that I would start trying more. More than I wanted to. He agreed to try more too (he TEXTS me now, people. This is huge.).

I read the first chapter from Power of a Praying Wife and it recommended that instead of saying and praying `Change him, God!', it's `Change me'.  What?  Yes. I know I'm not perfect. I know I'm a bit...bossy. I'm a bit of a know-it-all in regards to running this household. If I can change my heart which was angry, that totally changes my mindset and outlook and everything will follow. I needed to shift priorities and give more patience, love, time and energy without expecting anything in return.

It is hard having three energy and time suckers. I love them, but they can be hard on a marriage. It's tough when you are just giving, giving, giving.  Thankfully Nya has been sleeping so much better as I really think it's easier to give when you've slept 6-8 hours in a row. Also, as they get older, they get much easier to parent as their demands on me are fewer.

We are moving in the right direction. There is more hand holding, more laughter, and more meaningful conversations with better listening by both of us.  I would encourage you to make sure that your spouse is a priority over your children. A healthy, happy marriage is such a great gift.  To each other and to your kids.

{The first time I met Gary's family was at his niece Kennedy's birthday party 10 years ago.  I'm pretty sure he didn't even tell them who I was or that I was coming.  All I remember was that he made fun of his mom's pleather pants and I was shocked that he would say that to her.  I also realized then that that is how he shows people that he cares about them, he teases them.}

{Celebrating our birthdays before I left for Kenya. Both of our birthdays are in August.}

{Hiking Stein Valley.  So beautiful, so difficult.}

{We got along so well on our trip to SE Asia this summer.  It was fun and exciting and something we would love to do more of with our kids.  When we told Kai that we were saving for Disneyland he asked if we could go to Peru instead :)}

What are we doing to celebrate tonight? Once the kids are in bed, we are getting take out from a local Indian Restaurant .  We will hold hands and watch the Olympics. I will drink some wine. We will have bread pudding for dessert which I guess I should make now. It isn't anything exciting but we will be together, and more importantly, wanting to be together. You're stuck with me forever, Gary!

I hope you have a lovely evening.

Love, Louise

As always, I'd love to see you on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please pin here for later:

Working on changing your own mindset in order to improve your marriage.


  1. amen sister! so wise! blessings to you guys :) M

  2. Anonymous3:13 PM

    I loved reading this. Especially as me and my husband's lives changed forever 6 days ago with little Emmie. Thanks for your honest insights.

  3. Megan-thank you for commenting!! I feel like you would have so much knowledge to share. You and Steve have been together for so much longer!!
    Brianne-so awesome about your baby girl. Love her name and I'm so glad she is here safe and sound! So happy for you guys.

  4. I really love your honesty! I don't think a lot of people are super honest about their marriages (or maybe just not on their blog) but I am thankful you're both willing to be honest about it and work hard on it, and share the overview with us. BLess you!!!

  5. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Thank you for your openness and honesty! I too find myself in a place where I am praying "change me" in order to help my marriage. Such a good reminder to put my husband before our child.

    Hope you have a great evening watching the Olympics.

  6. Kristin McNair9:39 PM

    When I got married I got little tidbits of advice and many people repeated what my Opa had always said. "give 80% and expect 20%" or something like that :) I try to remember that too. so important! we haven't been married long and don't have kids (yet) but I'm sure that will become even more important then! Love your honesty!

    1. 60/40! Funny timing cause I was just talking about his advice with someone last night!

  7. Kristin McNair9:39 PM

    PS: Stein Valley looks pretty amazing.....maybe it'll have to be on our list sometime after the West Coast Trail!

  8. This is so great :) Way to go Chapmans!

  9. Anonymous1:39 PM

    How did you get invited to Kennedy's Birthday?

  10. Kelly-thank you :) I don't love admitting that I suck at something so important but I just feel if people were more authentic we could all learn from each other, right?
    Kristin-love your opa's advice. Thought about it as I went for a run today. I guess sometimes they way we learn things best is through trial and error or our mistakes but I just wish I knew a whole lot earlier! AND Stein Valley is very amazing and difficult and scary (grizzly country). I should post pictures on it because they are pretty awesome.
    Katrina-thanks for cheering us on:)
    Maria-Gary invited me along. I'm pretty sure I thought his family knew I was coming and then seemed surprised when I arrived. You know of a kind!

  11. Lauren-I'll go with 80/20, that way I'm expecting less and hopefully will be so happy with more :) Either way, wise opa!!

  12. this is an awesome post! I always felt that my parents did this well, and I noticed it at a young age (and didn't appreciate it) but now I can definitely see the benefit- and how important it is to make this a priority now, as the kiddo's won't be around forever!
    thanks for sharing!!!!