Lately I’ve been talking about my resolutions, so I thought I’d share my husband’s because, well, he’s a keeper.

His resolution this year was to be a better husband. We are a bit romantic around New Years because it is our wedding anniversary. I thought I’d throw that in to first give him back his masculinity and to explain the following. In the cards we exchanged to celebrate our anniversary he thanked me for working so hard for our family and that my struggle to do, and be it all, hadn’t gone un-noticed. 

I have struggled. The going back to work shift is enormous. A complete turnaround and it took a lot of adjusting. I didn’t  feel like I had an identity without my full time job but going back to work made me big time guilty mama. Some days I headed to work in tears at leaving a little girl standing at the front door crying with arms reaching out for her Mum, the one person in the world that should be there for her. It was extremely difficult and heartbreaking, yet exhilarating and rewarding.

I was challenged with trying to be a good mother, a good wife and hold on to some semblance of my old exciting life. Trying to do all that was exhausting, and after a while I think I was resenting that Gerard’s life hadn’t changed, and mine was so full on. I think all Mum’s juggle these emotions and there is no other answer other than pushing through.

He knew that, and promised his number one resolution was to be a better husband, support me, and take care of me, but above all protect our marriage.

So we have stolen some tips from acclaimed American author M. Gary Neuman for creating a better marriage in a busy life and I want to share them with you.

1. Daily Time: Successful couples spend a minimum daily average of 30 minutes or more talking uninterrupted. Put the phones away, get the kids settled or asleep and do nothing else but chat, catch up on your day, and talk about life. Schedule it into your calendar as you would any other appointment that is important for work or for your child.

2. Date Night: One night a week, no matter what, go out alone for a minimum of two hours. Don’t spend the time with another couple. Since this is a night to enjoy, my one rule is that you can talk about anything except three subjects: money, work and kids. I know, many couples look at me and ask, “What else will we talk about? That’s all we ever talk about.” That’s the problem. Of course you have to talk about those issues, but successful couples know that you have to take time to turn it all off and just enjoy each other. That fun is what helped you decide to get married; it’s what you need to sustain that marriage as well.

3. Make Three Appreciative Gestures Daily: This can be a simple statement, hug, kiss, any kind gesture that says, ‘I appreciate who you are and what you do’. When we appreciate another, we have basically summed up that person in a positive way. We work hard in life and desire to be loved for it, not diminished for everything we don’t do. Don’t just appreciate your spouse for doing the things that are ‘above and beyond’. Too many spouses think they shouldn’t say thank you for working at one’s career, or being a great parent, because this is ‘what he/she is supposed to do’. Give it up to each other and make your spouse feel like a winner. That’ll always motivate your spouse to give his/her very best.

I guess as a marriage celebrant I wanted to share this with you because marriage is hard work, but nothing worth it comes easy.