How To Not Kill Your Spouse While In Quarantine

In my home, we are coming up to day number 50 in quarantine. 5-0! I can’t even comprehend how this whole ordeal has been going on for that long. That’s a significant period of time, so much so that what used to be the weird, new routine with my husband working from home, no gym, church, or regular shopping has now become our new normal. This feels like it just simply is how life is now. The end. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s what it feels like.

Anyway, this means that my husband and I have not had much more than a few hours of one of us running errands to being in different places, and I am proud to say we have not killed each other yet. As a matter of fact, quarantine has not impacted our relationship in any negative way whatsoever, and I feel like that is a massive accomplishment. We have figured out how to have him work from home and have me being able to do my own thing, whether it’s work in my office or do the cleaning or other homemaking, all in the same house at the same time. It’s a miracle.

Seeing other people complain about their spouses during this time got me thinking about how the heck we actually managed to make this work, and I think it came down to a few things, which is what I want to share with you today. Here are 5 things that my husband and I are doing that are making being quarantined together a piece of cake.

Spoiler alert: Constantly having an open line of honest communication is KEY here. That has to go without saying.

1. Set Boundaries and Expectations

As soon as we knew my husband would be working from home we sat down and talked logistics. It was important for us to make sure we understood our needs throughout the day so we both could get things done. He has a desk and office set up in our guest bedroom and I have my own office. General rules we live by include:

  • If one of our office doors are closed we can’t be interrupted. This typically happens when he’s on a call or when I am filming content. This is also a signal that being a little quieter would be appreciated.
  • I set a rule for dinner time. My husband eats on a weird schedule and sometimes doesn’t come down for dinner until 7:30 or 8. I can’t wait that long, so I set the expectation that if I was doing to the cooking (which I happily will do daily), it needs to be at a time that works for me. So to compromise, I told him dinner will be around 6:30. Not as early as I prefer, but not as late as he prefers. A happy medium that allows me to schedule my day and allows him to know when to expect dinner to be on the table.
  • Who does what chores. I do most of the chores around here, but my husband is willing and able to tackle a list on the weekends, or maybe even a few weeknight chores like cleaning up the kitchen after I cook, taking out the trash, or tidying up whatever whirlwind of a mess he might have made during the day. Don’t start to get bitter towards your spouse because you didn’t set clear expectations of who is in charge of what around the house.
  • Work hours: I know that as a general rule my husband is unavailable for roughly an 11-12 hour window daily. My husband knows that I have a filming day and two one-hour live streams I’m committed to during the week. These are times when we are 100% not available unless we communicate otherwise. Do not expect your spouse to be available if you predetermined what times they’re unavailable

Once you set your boundaries and expectations, you need to stick to them.

2. Get Some Alone Time

I know, you’re quarantined at home so it’s hard to technically be alone, but this needs to be one of your boundaries. Making sure you’re taking the time to do things alone and just for you is super important. Go for a walk or a run, read, spend an hour watching your favorite TV show. I journal first thing in the morning and it’s just me and my coffee and it is glorious. Making sure to take time out for a little bit of self care is essential. Plan it!

3. Intentional Date Nights

Just because we can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean date night isn’t still an essential part of our lives. It is very important to schedule time to be intentional about spending time together. Get creative with your at-home date night ideas. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you’re making the intentional choice to spend time together just the two of you.

4. Have Fun

Take the time to goof off. Laugh. Be goofy. Have a 2-second dance party. Take an hour to turn on your favorite show to watch together or enjoy a quick coffee break. Remember that just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.

5. Have Plenty of Grace & Patience

At the end of the day, there will always be challenges and frustrations. It’s really important to have a little ton of extra grace and patience for both your spouse and yourself. It’s a weird time we’re living in right now. A lot is uncertain, many people are on edge, and whether you realize it or not, this is taking a toll on you. Be patient with one another. Treat your spouse the way you hope they’d treat you if you have a bad day, get grumpy, or leave the extra dishes out instead of putting them away. This is important always, but especially important now.

Now, just because I’m saying that we’re doing pretty darned well in quarantine doesn’t mean it’s not difficult at times, because it is. We do things that gets on the other’s nerves, work stress causes tensions to be high, and not 5 minutes ago did a change in how my husband’s day is going effect something for me that was frustrating. This time is trying and hard and sad and many other things, but I firmly believe as long as we have that list above and a whole lot of love, we will come out of this the strongest our marriage has ever been.

4 Lessons I’ve Learned in 4 Years of Marriage

It’s hard for me to believe that 4 years ago today I walked down the aisle in my church to marry my best friend: a man who I met so very randomly on a free dating website due to him just happening to search what kind of women might be in the Chicagoland area because maybe someday he plans to go to grad school there (spoiler alert: he didn’t).

Under no logical circumstances should mister and I have Found each other, and I’m sure if it wasn’t for the internet, this Chicago gal and Florida boy would have never crossed paths, but God clearly had another plan. When I received a message from him in my OKCupid inbox, I decide to write back simply because he took the time to write a legitimate message and show he read my profile rather than just sending a “wanna hook up?” message, which I got far too many of. Little did I know that writing back would be the beginning of my relationship with the man I would marry. It’s crazy how things like that work out, isn’t it?

Even though we’ve only known each other since summer of 2011, it feels like no time and a lifetime all at once. I can barely comprehend life before him and I can’t imagine what life would be without my husband by my side. I guess that’s a sign that things are going pretty well, huh?

In these 4 years of marriage, through crazy adventures, moves, job changes, and challenges there are a few things I’ve learned about marriage and the relationship I have with my husband. Read more

Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment…but Marriage IS!

Marriage Accomplishment

Allow me to be more specific: a good marriage, that is.

I’ve seen this article titled “Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment” floating around Facebook and getting shared by various people for a few weeks or so now, and while it made some great points, it’s the reaction and comments of the readers that really got me thinking. 

The entire premise of this article is the getting married part.  The excitement and ritual leading up to the big day.  People are then taking this to mean that marriage is not an accomplishment. I say that getting married and marriage are two very different things, and I do agree that getting married is not an accomplishment. However…

I also believe that a marriage; a good, strong, loving marriage, is a huge accomplishment.

Read more

7 Tips for a Wonderful Wedding Experience from a Newlywed

 

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  If you already haven’t figured it out by magazine articles and Facebook status updates, it’s wedding season!  As a newlywed who had, in my opinion, the absolutely perfect wedding day (I’m not even exaggerating, it was amazing), I thought I’d offer my two cents on some wedding advice, not just for the wedding day, but in general.  Do with this what you will.  Some of it might sound like common sense, some of it you might think is just not for you.  Whatever your thoughts, it was tips like this that made my wedding planning experience and my big day pretty low stress and very enjoyable.

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1. Don’t be a totally crazy “everything has to be PERFECT” bridezilla!  Seriously ladies.. I think my sisters thought I’d really be a bit more of a bridezilla than I was, but I am proud to say that apparently I was a rather easy bride to please.  My situation was a tad unique with my wedding being in Illinois and my being in North Carolina, so I was not there to monitor every move, but I learned that it was okay.  Between my team of my sister and mom running the physical errands for me, and my coming home once or twice to do things like our tasting, it was pretty easy to let the little details go.  For example, I had a friend of the family design our centerpieces, gave her a few ideas and let her run wild.  She’s the pro.  When my mom went to pick a color for the chair sashes, I told her just pick the purple that was closest to the centerpieces.  It took her a whole two seconds to clearly see which swatch that was, and the choosing was done. Our wedding coordinator at the Hyatt was beyond stunned.  She said some people will take weeks to decide which color and fabric to choose for the chairs.  I said that was ridiculous and what does it matter as long as it matches right?  Same went for the flowers.  I told the woman my ideas and the color scheme, but since she was the professional florist I knew she’d know best.  Guess what?  Everything in the wedding and the reception was beautiful and I didn’t have to micromanage any of it!  AND the easier I was to work with the more people were willing to work with me and gave Erik and I an outstanding experience.  It’s amazing what a little kindness and calm will do for people.  Just relax and let go, ladies.  Your wedding day will be beautiful.

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2.  Let your photographer get all up in your business on your wedding day.  Seriously, allow your photographers to get up close and personal.  I had my (male) photographer in the room and inches from my body while I was getting my corset undergarments and wedding dress on.  He definitely saw me in very little clothing, but I got some beautiful shots out of those moments.  I had two photographers and two videographers there the entire day( one of each followed Erik and I around separately until we were at the church), and the memories I have on film because of it are amazing.  Granted, I happened to know my photographer personally (not well, but I at least knew him), but still.  You eventually learn to just ignore the fact they’re there all the time and just start living in the moment.  Let them capture everything.  You want these moments to last a lifetime.  I still get all romantic and happy feeling whenever I look at those photos.

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3. Eat food!  I’m being dead serious.  Eat before you put the dress on (it doesn’t have to be much…I had a muffin, fruit and a skinny latte) and make sure you get the chance to eat at your reception.  Erik said from the beginning of our engagement that he didn’t care if it was rude or whatever, he would tell guests that he and his wife would be taking time to eat.  Turns out we didn’t have to.  Right after we got in (and danced, and had toasts, etc) we started heading to the tables to greet guests until the soup came out.  The wait staff was amazing nd kept an eye on us and would serve us when we sat back down.  Amazing soup: check!  Off to talk to a few more tables before salad.  We got to enjoy every course of our meal in a relaxed manner and we still managed to hit every table before the cake cutting.

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4.  Have someone pack up food for you to take to your wedding suite.  This is also really important.  Your day is  go go go from the minute you wake up and by the time the night is over and you and your new hubby are headed up to your room for the night you will realize you’re hungry and exhausted.  We had someone pack up fruit from our dessert table (although we really should have had the desserts packed up!) and we took it to the room with us so we had something to eat.  Some of our friends (who we allowed to have the privileged information as to where our wedding night room was) went up before us and set up our gifts, lit candles, and laid out granola bars for us too so we had something else to munch on.  No matter what other plans you have for your wedding night, make sure having a snack is on the to do list. 5. Accept that something WILL go wrong.  It’s inevitable.  This was a piece of advice I got from my good friend Katie, and it was.  I can’t tell you what it will be, but something will go wrong.  We kind of built our something in to the ceremony by asking Erik’s nephew to be the ring bearer.  At the time of the wedding he was a week or so shy of turning 2.  We knew this was risky, and we didn’t care.  What was the worst thing that could happen?  People get a good laugh (which they did) and he needs a little help.  We also had a small sound issue, but whatever.  Just relax and know that there are people to help solve any issue that comes your way on wedding day.  When you expect something to go wrong right from the start, it’s not a huge stressor when it actually does.

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6. Enjoy the day! Remember, a wedding is a celebration and a party.  Don’t sit and worry about what comes next or if things will go as smoothly as you planned them in your head.  Enjoy the moment and party just like your guests are doing.  I didn’t just enjoy my wedding day because it was my wedding; I actually had an amazing time!  It was seriously one of the most fun parties I’ve ever been to.  We were surrounded by our closest family and friends and we had a blast.  I didn’t think I’d dance much, but it turns out I danced the entire night (except for a few minute break to sit and eat our cake).  I remember when my mom, Erik and I went and picked up our guest book Thursday afternoon (we were married on Saturday) I looked at her and was like: “That was the LAST thing!  I don’t have to think about the wedding anymore!”  Because I took that approach and on the day of the wedding I decided to just go with the flow and let the whirlwind roar around me rather than be caught up in it, it was the best day.  Relax and celebrate.  You just made a life changing decision, successfully went through all the crazy planning and made it to your day and you still got up there and said “I do.”  I say that deserves a celebration!  Enjoy the fun.  If you have fun, odds are your guests will have more fun too.

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(One of my favorite pictures that my sister took.  Right after the ceremony we went back to the bridal hangout area and Erik and I were so wrapped up in each other since we hadn’t seen each other all day that, at least for a moment, nothing else mattered.  We just needed to be together.  Kristina caught that:-) )

7. It’s not about the wedding, it’s about your love.  Remember, the wedding is only one day.  People get so overwhelmed and stressed over having the perfect wedding (and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be an amazing day), but remember, it is one day out of the rest of your days.  It’s the first day of you uniting with the person you love and starting your own family unit whether you plan on having kids, a dog, or remaining just the two of you, the wedding is about committing yourself to your love as you vow to protect and care for him through thick and thin and putting your trust, faith and your whole heart into one another.  Its okay to try and get all the details worked out for your ideal and perfect wedding day, but in the midst of all the wedding planning don’t forget to do some marriage planning too.  So what if your wedding day has a blip or two?  Make sure your heart’s true focus is on the bigger picture: not the wedding, but the marriage.

 

 

Photos were all done by Marcin Tomaszczyk and his amazing crew.