Bedtime Habits | Marriage Hack

One of my favorite things about being married is bedtime.  I mean, I don’t think there’s anything better than snuggling up in my man’s arms and falling asleep.  And, well, sometimes, not falling asleep for a little while.  Wink, wink!  Bedtime habits are some of the best habits to cultivate in any marriage whenever possible.

Bedtime Habits for Married Folk

Bedtime Habits: Set a bedtime

Life can get pretty hectic.  Am I right?  Some seasons are more hectic than others.  One way to combat a hectic life messing with your marriage is to work to set a common bedtime–or at least aim to go to bed at the same time.

At the beginning of our marriage, The Hunk was in graduate school, full-time ministry, and interning as a counselor.  Sometimes, he had to stay up late to write papers–even pulling all-nighters.  Some nights, we couldn’t go to bed at the same time.  When it couldn’t happen, we still touched base before I went to sleep.

In general, having a shared ritual in a marriage improve a marriage relationship.  Going to bed at the same time can be a simple way to incorporate a shared ritual which creates a sense of unity in a marriage.  According to Dr. John Gottman, marriage research expert, shared rituals increase marriage satisfaction overall.

Bedtime Habits: Three Compliments

If we do a quick search engine search, we’ll see a myriad of answers to the question, “How many compliments does it take to undo an insult?”  In my quick search, I saw anything from 60 to a million.  I’m no expert, but I’m not sure insults can ever be undone.  I like to compare this to trying to put all the toothpaste back into the tube.  It’s difficult if not impossible!

So, whether your day was spent together all day or you were apart all day working, volunteering, having social engagements, and general busyness, aim to go to bed at the same time.  And as part of your bedtime ritual, give each other three compliments.  If it has to be forced at first, that’s fine.  After practice, it should become second nature.

Focus on complimenting one another’s accomplishments, appearance, and intellect.  Maybe he rocked at hanging up that canvas for you.  Tell him.  Maybe she came up with an epic solution to the kitchen organization debacle of 2013.  Tell her that you admire her skill.

Seal these compliments with a kiss. Or even more fun stuff.

Bedtime Habits: Debrief

If your life isn’t already crazy together, it will be.  Before going to bed, go through a quick debrief.  This debrief is clothing optional.

Take turns sharing a high and a low of the day, being sure to end with a high.  “So, dear, what was your favorite part of today?” “My favorite part was when you came home so glad to see me! What was yours?”  Complete the interchange.  Then, discuss a low: “What was the low point of your day?” “I was really sad to learn that my friend’s husband died in an unexpected car accident.  She’s my age with two kids!” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…” And this gives a good opportunity to bond and share with one another, offering comfort or a listening ear.  Then, complete the cycle and finish up with another high.  “Okay, what was another part of the day you enjoyed?” “I enjoyed my dinner with Tami.  She is a great friend and mentor.”

What’s great about the nightly debrief, according to Drs. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, is that it gives a chance for the two of you to learn more about one another–the things our beloved likes to do or experience and what makes life difficult or a challenge.

Bedtime is the best time.  Make it count with your spouse!

Kyle and Justina | Married in Columbus, Ohio

Kyle and Justina,

I just know that your lives together will be a fabulous reflection of the joy of Christ.  Continue leaning into Christ, reading books by wise Christ-followers, and seeking wisdom from those around you who emulate Christ in their own marriages.

Because I believe in them, I want to throw my three big pieces of advice to you:

  1. Love one another, even when you don’t feel like it.  Because we all get tired, irritated, and busy.  But even during those moments, love one another.
  2. Fight for “we” instead of “me.” Because conflict is part of a healthy marriage, make sure that in every disagreement, the end goal is to grow closer together, stronger together.
  3. Outdo one another in love.  Because you can never love one another too much in a marriage.  You can never do too much to make your marriage the best, most Christ-loving pair in the history of love.


Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina Kyle and Justina

Kyle and Justina’s Vendors

Florist: The Flowerman
Caterer: Bosc + Brie

Bob and Lara | Married in Columbus

“Forever is not long enough.”  Bob is such a romantic, right?  I was fortunate enough to attend the rehearsal for Bob and Lara.  I said to him, “Tomorrow, you get to start forever with Lara!”  And “Forever isn’t long enough” was his response.  How sweet!  Bob and Lara are so totally in love and I am honored to have had a front seat to their big day.

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Love Never Fails

Bob hails from the west coast and Lara is a native of Illinois. Both of them landed, professionally, here in Columbus.  Bob’s first words to Lara were “I hope I don’t stink!”  And, as they say, everything from then on out is history!

Bob and Lara were married on Lara’s parents’ anniversary and in the same church as them, Clinton Heights Lutheran Church!

I love the sentimental and beautiful details of the day.  See the purse in Lara’s hands? Her family sent off both her mom’s wedding dress and his mom’s wedding dress to someone one Etsy; they took some fabric from each and made it into this lovely purse!  I love it!

Bob and Lara

Lara had so many capable hands to help her get ready.  And, seriously, her bridesmaids were the best at doting over her.  I loved ever second of this!

Bob and Lara

And these two groups were fun, despite the heat!

Bob and Lara

I loved the cufflinks these groomsmen wore.  On one arm, they had maps of where they are from and on the other, where they were when Bob asked them to be in his wedding!  Love!

Bob and Lara

I melt over the processional at weddings.  Don’t you?  We knew Bob would cry.  Good job to Scott, best man, who had tissues at the ready for Bob!

Bob and Lara

I love how Christ-centric their ceremony was.  I am falling in love with the second kiss–maybe even more than the first kiss.

Bob and Lara

There’s something about bubbles that brings out our happiest faces, am I right?  Seriously, Bob and Lara are thrilled during their bubble exit!

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Celebrate the Love

Then, we made our way to the Franklin Park Conservatory for the rest of the evening.  Lara grabbed a quick and gorgeous shot with her fave ladies!  I love these girls!

Bob and Lara

And we spent some time with just Bob and Lara, grabbing some pictures of these lovey-dovey newlyweds before we went in for the ultra-fun reception.

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara

I love dinner time at the reception because it gives me a chance to sit down, eat, run through my checklist, and grab more detail shots.  Between the ceremony and the reception, details were classy–not overstated.  What a classy day, Bob and Lara!  I think flowers are the most foundational element of the decor of the day.  These white roses, provided by Madison House Designs, are the perfect foundation for Bob and Lara’s vows.

Bob and Lara

Okay, so, no fair: Bob and Lara have a logo!  I want a logo!  I’m so looking into a couple logo… :)  Also, the treats at the reception were delicious!  These cupcakes were scrumptious!  Carrie’s Sugar Buzz, yes, you rock!

Bob and Lara

Now, Kari, you totally got Bob in your speech.  What a great toast!

Bob and Lara

Oh, Lara, you are gorgeous!  I love the after-speech smooches!

Bob and Lara

Um, Bob!?  You are a dancing machine!  Did you get it from your dad? What a fun dance moment!

Bob and Lara

After all of the fun dancing, we took a quick five minutes to grab this picture, which I love!

Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara,
Your commitment to one another is unbelievably obvious.  I pray God blesses you as you begin your marriage and continues to draw the two of you closer to Him as you practice loving one another and others even more than you already do!


PS: Here’s a cute kid being entertained during the ceremony:
Bob and Lara

PSS: Here’s a hunk taking a breather from helping me capture reception moments:

Bob and Lara

PSSS: Here’s a nerd who took far too many tries to snap a nerdy picture of herself in a mirror: Bob and Lara

Bob and Lara: Vendors

Florist: Madison House Designs
Cake Artist: Carrie’s Sugar Buzz
Makeup Artist: Ashley of Avola Lanza
Caterer: Milo’s Catering
Reception Venue: Franklin Park Conservatory
Bridesmaids Dresses: Wendy’s Bridal
Tux Rentals: Romanoff’s
DJ: Encore Entertainment

Bob and Lara: Sneak Peek!

Check out Bob and Lara’s same-day slideshow that I was able to surprise them with by cocktail hour! :)  What a loving family these two bring together! I can’t wait to enjoy the full album with them after they return from their honeymoon!

Marriage Hack: Daily Compliments

One thing I love about marriage is that my man compliments me daily.  And lavishly.  The other morning, I mentioned the concept of daily compliments to him–specifically, the role of complimenting one another in marriage.  There are so many reasons daily compliments will change any marriage for the good.

Daily Compliments

Marriage Hack: Daily Compliments

Maybe you read my love story.  On our first date, The Hunk called me beautiful.  I was taken aback–mostly because I thought he was crazy to think that.  He still thinks that.  And I still think he’s crazy. But over the years, he’s continued to regularly compliment me.  His language toward me is full of compliments.  And the compliments go both ways.

I don’t think our marriage would be nearly as enjoyable if we didn’t deliver daily compliments to one another.  Mark Merrill defines five ways to compliment your spouse.  Here’s his list and basic descriptions with examples from his post.

  1. People Skills: Compliment how they treat a stranger.
    This type of compliment starts with observing your spouse. Note when they show uncommon kindness, generosity, chivalry, courtesy, or patience with someone. Let them know what and why you admire that. Say something like, “I really admire how kind you were to people in that crazy crowded store.”
  2. Parenting Skills: Compliment the way they handle your kids.
    Your spouse is more aware of their parenting mistakes than their parenting strengths. You can help them see what a difference they make in your kids’ lives. Just yesterday, I texted my wife, “Susan, I just heard you talking with Megan and Emily, and you really coached them well on that issue. Great job!”
  3. Get ‘er Done Skills: Compliment their ability at a task.
    It’s important to let your spouse know that you admire their abilities, but don’t just compliment an extraordinary skill. Let them know you appreciate all the things they do by saying, “Thanks for cleaning the kitchen…I was tired and I really appreciated you doing that.” Don’t just treat it like it’s just their job…you should still compliment them.
  4. Challenges: Compliment their handling of a difficult situation. If you see your spouse navigate a hard situation well, let them know that you noticed. Tell your spouse that you see how they help your marriage and family. Say something like, “I know the last few days were unexpectedly difficult, but we couldn’t have made it through without your steady hand. Thanks for keeping us calm.”
  5. Appearance or Style: Compliment the impression they make on you. If it’s been a long time since you’ve complimented your spouse, unprompted, about their appearance, do it this week. To be most effective, compliment how your spouse improves what they wear, not vice versa. I sometimes say to my wife, “Susan, you make that dress look really good!”

Daily Compliments: When and How?

Getting started on your daily compliments is simple, but not necessarily easy.  You may find that you are not naturally good at delivering compliments.  Perhaps you have a career in evaluating, problem-solving, or deciphering problems.  As a teacher, I definitely have an affinity toward finding problems and pointing them out.  I am not naturally bent toward looking for specific positive aspects of things or people.  But marriage has helped me work toward improving that part of me.  If you’re like me, you will have to start out making a daily compliment more intentionally.  And that’s okay.

First, look for something you admire about your husband or wife.  Be sure not to choose a compliment that is actually pointed; for instance, if the house is a mess when you come home to your husband or wife, don’t say something like, “You’re really good at chilling on that couch.”  That is not a compliment.  Instead, consider looking through the list above and gather inspiration from that list to start your compliments.

Then, just say it.  Whenever.  Wherever.  In front of people. In private.  Before heading off to work.  As soon as you greet another after work.  During dinner.  In the car on the way to a social gathering.  There is no wrong time to give your husband or wife a compliment.

But you may be asking yourself: Will my husband/wife reject my compliments? It’s a valid concern.  Sometimes, compliments aren’t well received.  There are a few reasons this might be the case.  Firstly, words of affirmation may not be your lovely spouse’s love language.  It may not seem to make a huge difference in your relationship if this is the case.  Either way, though, a lack of compliments can give the appearance of a lack of affection for your love.  So push through if your compliments seem ineffective.  I can tell you from experience that consistent compliments create a better marital atmosphere.

Over time, work your way up to delivering more daily compliments every day until it is second nature to compliment your husband or wife.

Daily Compliments: The Benefits

There are numerous benefits to delivering daily compliments.  I’m speaking only from experience, here, but I’ve gathered a few benefits I’ve found in my marriage that are a partial or a direct result of The Hunk’s daily compliment habit.

  1. Daily compliments reinforce trust.  I trust my man more because he regularly shares his appreciation for me–what I bring to the relationship, my intellect, and his attraction to me. There are plenty of ways to develop trust between two people, but compliments are definitely one way The Hunk has made it easier for me to trust him.  Conversely, The Hunk feels he can trust me with his feelings, internal struggles, and even joys because he knows that I have favorable thoughts toward him.
  2. Daily compliments reinforce genuine love. He loves me.  One way he expresses his love for me is by complimenting me.  I feel cherished, wanted, and–well, honestly–loved when I’m never searching for his general feelings for me.  They are positive.  And being in love with a man who finds me generally a good, attractive, intelligent woman makes me feel loved. Conversely, The Hunk feels loved and respected because he knows I have expressed love toward him as well.
  3. Daily compliments build up your spouse. I’ve seen The Hunk’s entire countenance change when I’ve complimented him.  And, in return, his compliments have improved my self-esteem.  I think it’d be tough to argue against the building up of one another in a marriage.  The healthier a person’s view of himself or herself, the better his or her relationships are in the long run, right?  Makes sense to me.

Wow! I didn’t think I’d have this much to say about daily compliments. Go out there and compliment your loved ones–especially your forever love.