Leif and I recently celebrated our six-year dating anniversary in Leavenworth! Every anniversary, Leif gives me a piece of fine jewelry. As I get older, I have found joy in collecting fine jewelry so that I can keep it forever and pass them down to my kids. This year I am partnering it with LAGOS to share some of my favorite pieces. LAGOS is known for its Caviar designs and it is seriously stunning! I especially love the Caviar Crisscross Ring and Caviar Gold Ball Stretch Bracelet.
Leif and I had so much fun opening up to you all on IG stories (saved in highlights under Leif). We had a lot of requests to share some relationship advice... while I am no expert, I thought it would be helpful to share 6 key things I've learned in those 6 years and let me tell you, it takes a lot more than love.
Leif and I are busy. We don't spend a lot of quality time together (watching TV or running errands does not count). So we do something that’s “just the two of us” at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but doing something that allows us to focus on each other keeps us connected on a mental and emotional level. This is especially important if you are busy or are have kids.
We love having dinners on Friday nights to talk about our relationship issues or goals. I think it is SUPER important to talk about everything put it all on the table. TALK OPENLY ABOUT EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY THE STUFF THAT HURTS. Otherwise, you might build up resentment or blow up over silly little issues.
While Leif and I both have similar interests and love to eat, travel, and go on adventures together, we are also very different individuals with different interests (and that is perfectly ok!). It is crucial to both of us that we have our own lives outside of each other. Don’t neglect your friends, your interests, or yourself. Don’t expect your significant other to fulfill you.
This time apart to pursue individual creative interests... I love to travel with my girlfriends, go out to brunch, and spend quality time with my girlfriends. Leif supports me! He loves going to the gym, going to his son's games, bonding with his brothers one night a week playing video games or watching NFL football - and I support his "me time".
It’s so easy to fight about finances but talking about money—the right way—has actually help made our relationship stronger. I know it is not romantic to talk about money but it is SO necessary. Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a survey of people in a relationship or partnership by SunTrust Bank. Some 35 percent of all respondents experiencing relationship stress said money was the primary cause of friction. (Annoying habits came in second, at 25 percent.) Leif is 18 years older than me and had a lot more financial baggage but he was so honest with me. Although we both have our own accounts, we share all of our finances with each other.
The book that sparked the new way of thinking about love, The 5 Love Languages - by Dr. Gary Chapman.
Basically, there are five ways to “speak” and understand emotional love. But many couples don’t know about love languages and are often surprised when they learn about them.
Full disclosure: Neither myself nor Leif have actually read the book, but you can basically get the gist by doing a Google search and taking this little quiz — it has really helped Leif and I understand the way we receive and communicate love. It was a big game changer!
Yes, we have spontaneous sex but we also schedule our sex sometimes when we know we have busy schedules (humpday anyone? ). So yes have spontaneous sex. Or have scheduled sex. Buy a new outfit. Whatever it takes. It really is important. Don’t put nooky on the back burner.
Not to him. Not to my friends. This is one of the most important things. We don’t criticize each other – instead, we try to understand each other and only uplift each other. Yes, of course, we both have annoying habits that we don't like about each other. But there are plenty of ways to discuss different viewpoints or hurdles we’re facing together without bashing each other. Using the popular “I feel” language is so helpful in these scenarios. With closeness and vulnerability comes the knowledge of each others’ sensitivities. It’s so important to never use that knowledge as a weapon.