[This paragraph was originally written in November 2015 for reference on the timeline.] A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated five years of Joe and I knowing each other and six months of Bensen being in our lives. A couple of months ago, Sharlee of My New Lines wrote a post about enjoying each season of her daughter's life and it's something that I've been thinking about ever since. At first I started pondering as a mom, watching Bensen grow and learn new things has been a lot of fun, but sometimes I want to cry when I think about how much I miss that teeny, tiny newborn of mine who always wanted to curl up on my chest and cuddle. Then I started to think about it in terms of my marriage and how it's my goal to make my marriage a priority throughout every stage of life.
Do you ever find yourself reminiscing on earlier times in your marriage and thinking about the fun times and how much you enjoyed them? Do those thoughts ever shift to wishing your lives together were still like they used to be? I think it can happen in the happiest of marriages, and I know that we get caught up in that way of thinking sometimes in ours. The chorus to a popular song says, “I wish somebody would have told me…that some day, these will be the good old days. All the love you won’t forget and all these reckless nights you won’t regret….You’ll miss the magic of the good old days.” Or as Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you're in "the good old days", before you've actually left them.”
These are the times you’ll look back on and remember fondly if you enjoyed them fully or with regret if you didn’t make the most of them. I'm hoping that these three tips will help you find more joy in the current stage of your journey through life together!
Photography by Emily-Jane
Tips for Enjoying Every Stage of Your Life
Do Something You've Been Putting Off Until Tomorrow
Often times I find myself with a laundry list of things that I want to do at some point in time. Some of those things are time consuming and have been put off for understandable reasons. Although, if I'm being honest, I could probably find time to get started on them. Other things, like texting a friend or doing something fun with my little family, I need to stop putting off for tomorrow and do them today instead. Plan that fun date night, schedule that night away together, spend a little extra money on something that you both love, try out that new restaurant that might be a little out of your comfort zone. There may be things on your list that you can't do now for one reason or another, but I bet there are plenty of "we should do _____ some time"s that you could easily do right now or start planning and save for. Don't wait any longer, enjoy your now!
Look for Happy and Memorable Moments in Your Now
It's a lot of fun to look back on old pictures and journals, laughing over the ridiculous things I did, smiling at all of the memories, and remembering the good times. It can also be fun to dream about the future and all of the things that you plan to do. Don't forget that you were once dreaming about your present and that the things you are experiencing now will one day be memories that you look back on fondly as well. Don't get so caught up in waiting for your next stage in life that you forget to enjoy the current one, the one that you've been looking forward to for so long. Keep a daily journal and record all of the moments that mean something to you. Were you able to enjoy an uninterrupted meal together? Did you finally get to go on that date? Did your spouse say something that impacted you? You'll want to remember those little things in the future, and recording them daily will help you to better recognize all of the special moments that life brings your way in your current stage as well.
Learn from Your Past, Plan for Your Future, Live in Your Now
Sometimes I cringe when I think about my earlier years and all of the silly things that I did. Other times I realize that I was better in some areas of myself then than I am now. The same is true of my marriage, there are a lot of things that we do better now, but there are also a lot of things that we did better then. I try really hard to take those thoughts and turn them into actions now. When I think back to our dating days, I remember how busy our lives were, but how determined we were to spend a few hours together every single day. That reminds me not to take for granted the fact that we live together and see each other more hours every day than we did while we were dating. Just because we're breathing the same air more often doesn't mean we're prioritizing the time we spend working on our relationship as much as we did back then. What can you take from the past stages of your relationship and apply to your present stage to make it even better?
Photography by Kaitlyn Brady Photography
It's also important to think about and plan for the future. What goals and dreams do you have for the stages of life and marriage that you haven't reached yet? No matter how old you are or how long you've been together, there is always something new ahead that you haven't ever experienced before. You need to prepare now to make your dreams a reality in the future. We have goals to take our kids on memorable vacations and build a forever home that is set up for our ideal situation, with lots of space for entertaining and family togetherness as well as a master suite that can be a sanctuary for our marriage. Those hopes and dreams aren't achievable right now, and feel like they're too far into the distant future to focus on now, but we can still be doing little things in our current stage of life to help us prepare to make those things our reality when we get to that point. What goals do you have individually and as a couple that you can do something about now?
What will you do today to enjoy your current stage in life/marriage? What is the best part about the current stage of your relationship? What things are unique to this stage of life?