For context: Intro to My Happiness Project | Month One: Energy & Status Report | Month Two: Health & Hygiene & Status Report | Month Three: Diet & Status Report | Month Four: Money & Status Report | Month Five: Home & Status Report
This month I am going to focus on my marriage. Thus far, my goals each month have been much more quantifiable, so this will be a change of pace. I chose February because it is an important month for romance, not just because of Valentine’s Day (which we really don’t celebrate), but because our wedding anniversary is the 21st of the month. Plus, though it’s technically in March, we’re gearing up for our 7 year anniversary of being together.
The tasks I have set myself are:
Choose your battles. It’s easy to get bent out of shape over the small mountain of soda cans on your partner’s bedside table, but at the end of the day it’s not worth a fight and the resulting hour of tense pre-sleep stiffness. So I want to try and let the little things go, and make my stand over what’s important instead–which should honestly help make my points more felt.
Identify the problem. Back to the soda cans–the underlying problem is that the mess feels like blatant disregard for my time (because I will recycle them eventually). So the solution here would be to ask my husband to pick them up and then refuse to do it myself, and ideally forget about it altogether.
Communicate. This is essential to solutions because I can’t just expect my husband to read my mind and notice that I’ve been letting the soda cans on the bedside table stay. Not to mention that he needs to know why it bothers me so much. [Answer: a disorganized house makes me feel like my entire life is disorganized and then I start to feel like I’m behind and forgetting things…generally, I spiral.]
Be sweet. I want to try to show my affection more outwardly and consistently. Things like sending a text in the middle of the day just to check in, or bringing home a special treat from the store, or a back-rub. And not to seem self-serving, but according to Gretchen Rubin, this sort of things encourages unconscious reciprocation. Which will then, in turn, encourage even more reciprocation on my part, and the cycle continues.
Date. Everyone offers this advice. It was written on countless wedding and baby shower cards. The dreaded “Date Night.” But the trick to a successful date night is knowing what works for your relationship. Finding a sitter, getting dressed up, going out, and then having nothing to talk about over alfredo ravioli is time-consuming and tiring to us. While we still might find a sitter from time to time, most often we just curl up together after PJ goes to bed and watch a movie. Just being close and laughing at the same show (ex: Fresh Off the Boat or anything by Michael Schur) and carving out time to just be a couple, rather than mom and dad, rejuvenates our relationship.
I’ll report on how keeping this month’s resolutions goes when I start the next round in March, so stay tuned!
P.S. I’m on the fence about telling my husband that I’m doing this project–what do you think?
UPDATE: Check out my status report on how Month Six went!