Our 8 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

“They slipped  
 into an intimacy
  for which they never recovered,”
~ f. scott fitzgerald


It just seems like yesterday that Jason knelt on bended knee at the White Rock promenade one snowy December evening, but here we about to celebrate our 12th year of marriage.

Seriously, how did that happen so fast? Someone recently asked me how Jason and have managed to remain so happy together after all these years, especially when the divorce rate is something like 50/50 and the fact that we were practically teenagers when we first got together.

We’ve faced crippling debt, unemployment, health scares, death, the stress that comes from having babies back-to-back, and seemed to grow closer as a couple despite any adversity.

I didn’t really have an answer for her question at the top of my head, so I went to bed that night and really gave it some serious thought. The next morning I discussed it with Jason — he added his two cents as well, which I thought was pretty sweet.

Here are 8  tried and true 8 secrets to a happy marriage that are working for us.

Nothing like a cozy fire to turn up the heat on a romantic night in.

1- Date Night Reconstructed

Before kids, we aimed to have at least one date night a week. Nowadays, we’re lucky if we can squeeze in one date a month. Between extra curricular activities, work and family, it’s tough to carve out the time – and to find an available grandparent willing to take both dogs and kids (okay, we’re luckier than most when it comes to the latter).

Even so, we are adamant on doing something special on a weekly basis, just the two of us, even if we don’t get to leave our house.

For example, we’ll watch our guilty pleasure shows (this month it has been Bates Motel and Vanderpump Rules), have special cocktails (mine is more of mocktail as of lately) and enjoy Thai takeout or a homemade charcuterie platter in our flannel PJs.

It’s not always the stuff of romance novels – the dogs tend to bark and whine the whole time in the crate, the kids tip-toe downstairs to ask for an extra bedtime hug or glass of water, and the sauce from the lettuce wraps ends up all over our hands. However, it’s a weekly ritual we always look forward to. We’ll even turn our bathroom into a spa, complete with spa music, candles and relaxing music. Really, it doesn’t matter what you do, or where you go, it’s about making one night a week a little extra magical.

2- Just Say It – Sorry!

I tend to be more on the stubborn side of the spectrum when it comes to fighting – it took years to finally be forthright when wrong and just say sorry (10 to be exact). Each time I say it, it gets a bit easier, and wraps up a fight pretty quick that would have gone on for days not that long ago.

3- Couple Besties

They’re hard to find, but when you find them, don’t let them go! Over the years, we’ve met several couples that we’ve hung out with, but the friendships we tend to upkeep are the ones where all four of us get along and genuinely like each other. We love entertaining, picking the right playlist and appies for a night of Cards Against Humanity, banter and laughs.

On board the Eagle Wing Wild Life Tour in Victoria.

4- On the Same Page

Opposites attract, but it’s a novelty that is sure to wear thin – especially if you’re going on 12 years of marriage. While Jason and I are different in many ways (he’s more of the athletic extroverted type, while I’m an introverted nerd/bookworm) we share some the same values, dreams and hobbies. The latter includes having to see every single horror movie that comes out (not exaggerating here), travelling, playing board games and spending as much time as possible with our two girls and pups. We also really enjoy eachother’s company and could spend hours talking about nothing.

ValleyMom.ca has also become a passion project that the both of us really enjoy doing together. Lately, Jason has been trying his hand at photography  – he’s a natural.

Happy Marriage

Time for some R&R at the Sooke Harbour House with a magazine and cup of hot coffee.

5- Importance of Alone Time

I work from home, which means I can go days without interacting with another human being outside our little family unit. Jason is the opposite – he works as a manager in a busy grocery store, and gets pretty ‘peopled out’ on a regular basis. When he comes home from work, I’m ready to chat his ears off, but have to remind myself to give him some space to unwind.

To keep the harmony, he respects that I need at least one night a week to get out and socialize, which gives him time alone at home after the kids have gone to bed to unwind and zone out.

He also has his baseball games and poker nights, while I like to spend time at the gym or visiting with friends and family. Both of us would lose our minds if we didn’t give each other that breathing room. It also gives us something to talk about other than work or the kids.

6- Love Language

Unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages, believes Dr. Gary Chapman. The former marriage counselor has identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Knowing your partner’s love language can be hugely beneficial – lucky for Jason and I, we both happen to share the same language: Words of Affirmation. For us, that means always voicing our appreciation of each other and dishing out the compliments. You can find out your own language by taking a test HERE.

7 – Always Say I Love You

It doesn’t’ matter if we’re in the midst of a fight, we always say I love to to each other before going to sleep. We have been saying it so often that it would feel unnatural not to. Our girls have caught on and say it each night too.

Happy Marriage

We skipped town and spent an ultra blissful 24 hours at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

8- Skip Town

Life gets so busy and hectic when you have a family – vacations are few and far between. If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you probably know that Jason and I have been fortunate to partake in some incredible romantic local getaways, including Harrison Hot Springs, Squamish, Harrison Mills– just to name a few.

We find that two to three days is the perfect amount of time to recharge our batteries, unplug from the daily grin and reconnect as a couple.

This past weekend, we escaped from the hustle and bustle of reality and fled to Victoria with two important occasions to celebrate: our 12th wedding anniversary and Jason’s 36th birthday.

It just so happens that Victoria, B.C. was recently voted Canada’s Most Romantic City four years in a row by Amazon.ca. We’re so excited to be on assignment with Tourism Victoria to highlight the many reasons why this magical city is the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Is there a tip you think should be on this list? Let us know!

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