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Three Years Later Q&A

November 14, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this past weekend was an excellent one for me because my husband came home! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to accurately show how excited I am about that. After 139 days apart, he showed up just in time to celebrate our wedding anniversary together.

That’s right, today is our third wedding anniversary! Over the past three years, we’ve bought and sold a home, added another dog into our family, traveled to four new countries and gone through three deployments. I can honestly say that there isn’t a single person out there that I’d rather hold hands with through life. Having my husband home this year so we can celebrate our anniversary together makes the day even more special, as I’m grateful for even the littlest signs of us being together.

To celebrate, I’m keeping the mushiness to a minimum and instead I forced my (seriously jet-lagged) husband to play a mini version of the newlywed shoe game. For the most part our answers matched, but there were definitely some disagreements.

Q: Who is the most likely to wake up grumpy?

My answer: Me

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who is more likely to injure themselves?

My answer: A.

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who is more creative?

My answer: Me.

A’s answer: You

Q: Who is more likely to get lost?

My answer: Me

A’s answer: You

Q: Who made the first move?

My answer: A

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who takes up more than their half of the bed?

My answer: A

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who’s the better driver?

My answer: Me

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who’s more stubborn?

My answer: A

A’s answer: Me

Q: Who fell in love first?

My answer: A

A’s answer: Probably you.

Q: What is your favorite part of marriage so far?

My answer: Making a life together: finding that first home we both loved, traveling together, having holidays as a family. It’s all exactly everything I’d ever wanted.

A’s answer: Just being around you all the time. We always find something fun to do.

Things will be a bit quiet around here over the next few days while A and I travel a bit, but I’ll be back on Monday with some pretty fantastic deals for the shop!

Gift Guides Marriage

Traditional 3rd Anniversary Gifts

November 8, 2017

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

I like the idea of giving traditional wedding anniversary gifts, mainly because they usually require a little creativity to make them useful in the modern day. Things like paper and cotton don’t immediately scream great gift idea to me. But traditional 3rd anniversary gifts may be the easiest year I’ve done yet because there are so many leather options!

Leather is the perfect traditional 3rd anniversary gift material because it’s strong, but subject to change over the years, just like a marriage. Think about it: leather is made to withstand a lot of things, but will also show signs of surviving the years. Hopefully, a marriage withstands everything, but it will certainly be changed by events, both good and bad.

The past two years, I’ve shared traditional wedding anniversary gifts for guys, but this year, I decided to throw some suggestions for ladies into the mix as well. There are so many ways to give traditional 3rd anniversary gifts to both genders that finding suggestions was very easy!

Traditional 3rd Anniversary Gifts

Passport Holder: this would be a perfect traditional 3rd anniversary gift for a guy or a girl who loves to travel, especially if you added a plane ticket in there as an added surprise!

Baseball Art: this baseball art is such a neat idea for a sports fan! If you’re super crafty, you may be able to put this together on your own, but the Etsy shop I’ve linked has them at a very reasonable price.  Another idea would be giving a collector’s item, like a signed baseball. This would likely get far more expensive, but is a nice idea if your loved one isn’t into super sentimental things.

Earrings: Joanna Gaines strikes again with these leather earrings.  They are simple, made using ethically sourced leather and help employ at-risk women in the Waco community.  I think we can all get behind a gift that gives back!

Watch: my husband would probably want a watch with a leather band for his traditional 3rd anniversary gift. I really like the simple look of this one (and its reasonable price tag), but there are styles and price points to fit just about anyone.

Valet Tray: raise your hand if your loved one comes to bed every night and empties his or her pockets onto the dresser or night stand. Keys, coins, receipts, a random pen cap or two all pile up and almost NEVER make it back in their pocket. This valet tray keeps all those bits contained while still looking nice. Plus this particular one has an Irish wedding blessing on it which adds a bit of sweetness to its functionality.

Messenger Bag: I love this messenger bag! It’s stylish and would be perfect for your loved one to take to and from the office. It’s also a great travel bag for business trips and works for men or women.

Luggage Tag: you could easily combine this with the passport holder for the travel enthusiast in your life.  These two items make a nice gift if you’ve planned a trip for the future, but would still like a tangible way for your loved one to find out.

Bookmark: customizable bookmarkis your loved one an avid reader? Well then this would be a perfect traditional 3rd anniversary gift. You could add your own sweet message so every time they read a book, they’re reminded of your love.

Dopp Kit: my husband currently uses his military-issued Dopp kit for travel, which is fine, but this one is so nice that I think he’d love the replacement.  Plus this Dopp kit is made by R.Riveter, a military-spouse owned company that uses a business model that allows them to employ as many military spouses as possible.

Keychain: I love that you can have both the outside and inside of this keychain engraved. It’s a reminder of your love that will be seen and used every single day.

Now, if you’re not into leather or are vegan, you could certainly give something that’s synthetic or one of these leather-scented candles instead.

Traditional 3rd anniversary gifts made of leather are easily customizable to your loved one’s unique tastes.  Between all the different items and the variety in leather color, there is truly something for everyone.  Do you give traditional wedding anniversary gifts? What did you give for your 3rd anniversary?

Check out my traditional first and second anniversary gift ideas.


Five Years Later

August 14, 2017

Five years ago today, I nervously picked at mac and cheese while trying to convince myself that I did not like the guy sitting next to me. He was older, in the military and basically everything I didn’t want in a guy.

Spoiler: he turned out to be everything I wanted in a guy and now we’re married and I write cheesy blog posts on our dateaversary.

It’s a little hard to believe that five years have gone by this quickly. In the time since that (slightly awkward) first date, we’ve built a life together: making it through multiple deployments, getting married, moving into our dream home, adding four-legged members of our family and traveling to new places.

Looking back at five years of memories, all I can think is: boy have we been busy! Seriously, so much has happened in the last 1,826 days. We’ve had so many adventures and our relationship has become so much a part of who I am that I cannot imagine my life without A.

I wouldn’t say that being with A has made me a different person, but over the past five years, I’ve grown as a person, largely because of him. He makes me brave enough to try new things, strong enough to face my fears and confident enough to pursue my biggest dreams.

Whether it’s quiet nights in or nights out on the town, I’ve loved dating my husband over the past five years. I still get butterflies every time he smiles at me and look forward to him coming home each night. Each deployment homecoming makes me feel like I’m back on that first date all over again.

So here’s to five years since that first date and the many more dates to come. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

Marriage Military

Relationship Habituation: What It Means And How To Make It Work For You

April 13, 2017
Relationship Habituation: What it is and how to make it work for you!

How often have you heard the expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Military spouses hear it a lot, especially from civilian friends and family members who are legitimately trying to soften the blow of frequent and prolonged separations. Maybe it’s because we hear it so often or because it’s often said during the toughest moments of a deployment, but odds are we roll our eyes and brush it off as meaningless. But I actually don’t think it is; there may be something to relationship habituation. I know, I know. But hear me out on this one.

You see there actually is some scientific evidence that may back up the concept. The basic idea is that if you’re constantly exposed to something, you’ll get used to it and it won’t have as big of an impact on you as it did originally. This can apply to everything from a fancy meal to a new phone to that expensive sweater you just had to have, but doesn’t seem as great the 5th time you wear it. This is called habituation and is something that military spouses don’t seem to get a lot of.

Think about it. Between regular workdays, training, TDYs and deployments, military couples barely have time to get used to a joint schedule, let alone become immune to each other. It’s why homecomings have the rosy glow of a first date and the butterflies to go with it. On the bright side, you get to live like newlyweds longer and maybe find yourself loving your spouse more after a long separation. They have a stronger effect on you.

Unfortunately, this same concept may also be why couples may learn down the road that they aren’t as well suited for each other as they thought, especially now that they have to spend more of their time together. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can make relationship habituation work in your favor throughout your relationship, even if you never go through a deployment.

Spend time apart, even when he or she is home.

I’m not saying spend months at your summer home alone (invite me!), but rather explore your own hobbies/activities. A few hours or even a day here or there spent apart may recharge your relationship habituation batteries and give you plenty of new things to talk about.

Openly and respectfully discuss the things that irritate you about your loved one.

In my experience, it’s the smallest irritants that cause the biggest fights and the most resentment, largely because someone has kept them on lock down for eight years and suddenly lets it all come pouring out because they cannot stand one more pair of dirty socks on the floor. So nip it in the bud and discuss it early on before you’re boiling with rage at the mere thought of cotton footwear.

Regularly look for new reasons to love your spouse.

Part of the fun of a new relationship is that you discover new awesome things about your significant other on a regular basis, sometimes even daily. The same concept applies if your loved one has been gone for an extended period of time: you rediscover how good they smell or that cute way they crinkle their nose when they laugh. So look for ways to get that same warm and fuzzy feeling even if you’ve spent every day together for a year straight or 10 years straight.

Do new things outside of your collective comfort zone together.  

In new relationships, you’re constantly doing stuff together for the first time, learning about each other and bonding as you go. But as time goes on, couples often stop exploring together, instead settling into a routine of Netflix and chill. But I think it’s so important to continuously do new things together! You can try a unique date night idea or visit a new place or even just eat a new restaurant. Create new memories together. And who knows? Maybe you’ll see a whole new side of your spouse when you take them salsa dancing for the first time.

Relationship habituation isn’t necessarily something military spouses are super familiar with, at least not during their spouse’s military career. And in a way, we’re lucky because of that. But as time goes on, we may find that all the time together is a bit too much time together. How do you make relationship habituation work for you instead of against you?

Marriage Military

Five Love Languages Military Edition Reflection

March 29, 2017
Five Love Languages Military Edition Reflection

Before A and I were married, we had to go through a series of meetings with our chaplain so that he could ensure we had a good grasp of both who we were marrying and what marriage meant. Part of our first exercise was to take the Five Love Languages quiz so that we could compare our results.  Two-plus years later, we finally got around to reading the book that went with it!

For those who aren’t familiar with the book, the basic concept is that we all have a primary Love Language (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time or Physical Touch) that when used appropriately makes us feel the most loved. As a couple, we need to be mindful of each other’s love language so that we can make them feel as loved as possible. For the record, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation while A’s is Physical Touch.

I appreciate that Dr. Chapman recognized the unique challenges military couples face, so much so that he wrote a military edition of his Five Love Languages book which A and I read together while on vacation. Well, to be more accurate, I read the entire book and highlighted a few sections for him to read.

Any military spouse will tell you that the military lifestyle makes it really difficult to stay connected. Between long hours, conflicting schedules and deployment, it can be hard to fit in quality time or any sort of physical connection.  Luckily, Dr. Chapman took that into account and offered quite a few tips for loving someone in their primary love language even when separated. I felt those tips were very useful and could go a long way to helping couples stay connected during deployment. For example, A’s love language is Physical Touch, but I can’t exactly hug him during deployment. Instead, I can send a care package that smells like me or a t-shirt I’ve slept in for a few days to make him feel close to me.

I would highly recommend military couples read this book, even if you feel like your relationship is strong already. It’s a great reminder to work on loving each other every single day. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how I interact with A as I keep the Love Language tips in mind. And honestly, I’ve seen him make small changes as well which make me feel all warm and gooey inside. And who doesn’t want that?

Have you read the Five Love Languages or taken the quiz? How do you love your significant other in their love language?