I looked a LOT younger and slimmer (who didn’t right?)

and I spent the day doing this…

So now you can see that the obsession with butterflies is not a new thing! 😉
Happy 10th Anniversary Neil!!
As you read this I am currently away at a resort, enjoying 3 nights of CHILD FREE time with my hunny for the first time in about 3 years. 
Thanks need to go to my Mother-in-law for her willing childcare services!
I know it’s pretty traditional to spiel off on a tangent now a whole bunch of lovey dovey stuff – but don’t worry – in this particular occasion you are saved from all that. Because while it’s all true – I’m pretty sure I’m saying all that stuff to Neil’s face right now and therefore don’t need to say it in a blog post 😉
But instead I thought I’d share some general thoughts and tools on marriage and how we make our relationship work and be the brilliant relationship that it is today.
Because like every marriage, ours has not been without its bumps along the way. Quite frankly it has been a lot of hard work to get to this point, {In my opinion anyone who says marriage is not a lot of hard work is either not married, or in denial!}.
The first 5 years in particular were very hard going actually!!
… While divorce has never entered our vocabulary, I must admit that I have on occasion felt like slipping Neil a little something ‘special’ in his dinner if you get my drift, during some of those hard times. As I’m sure has he to me as well.
But through faith and perseverance we have made it through, and 10 years on I believe we have the best and strongest marriage we’ve ever had! Yes we still have hard times, but we know stuff now that we didn’t before and we are much better equipped to deal with those times in an unbreakable way.
So I thought I’d share some of the stuff that we’ve learned…
I believe that the most valuable thing that I know about love today is that Love is a verb.
Not {just} a feeling like Hollywood would have us believe, although that is certainly a big part of it too.
But feelings in themselves are fickle! We all know that feelings can change, can “grow apart” {or smash apart}, especially when given a little conflict.
No; I believe that love is definitely a doing word.
And it can take practice to be exceptional at it.
So with that in mind I will share a few resources that we have found really useful to help enrich our relationship and help us continue to love even during the tough times. Ones which I think that every married couple can benefit from reading, whether they are going through a tough time themselves or not.
Because there’s always room for improvement right?
I know there always is for us anyway LOL…
So here goes…
The first book which stands out to me above all the others is this:
We got given this book as a wedding present, {by two different people actually} and I have given it many times as a wedding present myself. That’s how fundamental I believe it is!
It talks about how there are 5 different ways that we each communicate & receive love. Ever feel like your partner doesn’t really get how much you love them or continues to misunderstand things that you do or say? That could be because you are speaking different love languages…
The 5 languages it talks about are: Words of affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical touch and Time.
All I can say is that if you don’t know about these then trust me, they’re really worth knowing! It turns out that when we first got married Neil was speaking love to me by doing things, when all I really craved and wanted was for him to spend time with me. Not a cool combination and I’m sure that you can imagine it was one that led to a lot of disputes and misunderstanding!
Gary Chapman also writes a huge range of other useful books in this series and on other topics. E.g. there is one on love languages for children & another for teenagers. Really useful when dealing with your kids!
I also really like his book “The family you’ve always wanted & 5 ways to make it happen”…
Next I really like:
These are the best two books that I have ever read on explaining the differences between males & females. In my opinion it is invaluable to know that these differences are very real, understand and respect them.
There are two books included in the boxed set (although you can buy them separately also) – ‘For Men Only’ & ‘For Woman Only’. 
These books are in our experience very accurate, include a lot of fascinating research, but are very easy (and quick) to read and digest.
The set is designed so that you first read the book about your gender (E.g. I would read the one about woman entitled ‘For Men Only’) and highlight or underline the bits that you can particularly relate to or find most relevant. Then you give it to your partner to read so that they can better understand you as they go through.
They also have younger versions of these books “‘For Young Men Only’: A Guys guide to the alien gender “& “‘For Young Woman Only’, What you need to know about how guys thing…”. Great for teenagers too! I know I plan to make my daughters read them (so that they can understand just why I won’t be letting them run around in string bikini’s, low cut tops & micro skirts 😉 )
The next two resources also go together:

 The Love Dare is a book taken from the movie ‘Fireproof’. It is basically a 40 day programme designed to help grow your marriage.
In the movie the couple is at breaking point – about to get a divorce. But the man’s father gives him this programme to do. He does it really half heartedly at first but somewhere along the way he has a change of heart and keeps doing it without his wife’s knowledge. They end up resolving their differences and renewing their marriage vows. Very inspiring!
 I think that a programme like this can help a healthy marriage also.

This is the movie to support the book {or vice versa or whatever}.
Worth a watch!
It is a little cheesy in places, but it’s one that I always get something from.
Word from the wise though; you may want to have tissues handy…

  Sheet Music…
I’m pretty sure the cover sums it up. Not a book about music, despite what the title may otherwise indicate.

Probably enough said, just in case my children read this one day 😉 …

There are more resources that we’ve used & like, but those are the best we’ve used which I feel are most not to be missed.

They are all written by Christian authors, and most of them do have a Christian element to them, but regardless of your faith I think that they are very valuable resources for the toolbox.

Right, ok… back to sunning myself by the pool, drinking cocktails and being fanned by my cabana boy husband.
Oh wait – thanks to the wonders of Blogger technology, I have been doing that the whole time 😉 LOL

See ya

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  1. Congrats on ten years! I remember that milestone and time passes very quickly! I’ve seen the love languages book…not the others. Thanks for the info. =)

  2. You both look so wonderfully happy in your wedding photos.

    Happy Anniversary to you both . 10 years is certainly something to celebrate.

    Dont drink too many of those cocktails…..

  3. You were gorgeous then and gorgeous now, because you still radiate happiness. Congratulations on ten years. I look forward to the twenty year post, etc. Now, back to the sunning and chocolate eating with you!

  4. Happy anniversary to you both! Thanks for all the wonderful words of advice you have shared. Definitely a couple of books there that I need to check out 🙂
    Have fun without the kids!! xx

  5. 10 years, a super achievement and congratulations to you both. Billy and I just had our 10 yr anniversary as well….doesn’t time fly 🙂

    I’ll have to look for that first book, looks good!

    Enjoy the kid free break, lucky you 🙂

  6. I love seeing the photos…makes me feel like I was there lol… soooooo… I have a funny question… since you’re a Kiwi and he’s a Brit… do you guys find each others accents sexy? LOL

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