Today I'm going to continue my little series on a few lessons I've learned through life.
Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I decided today I would blog about lessons I've learned about marriage.
For a little backstory, Mr. Farmhouse and I were high school sweethearts. We've been married now for almost 17 years.
We've owned three homes together, we are raising three daughters, and we are still head over heels in love with each other.
I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I do know that it takes hard work to maintain a healthy marriage and I do feel like we've learned some important lessons through the years.
So here are five pieces of advice for keeping a strong marriage.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
This might seem obvious, but trust me...it's not.
Listen first to understand what your spouse is saying and then talk.
Brené Brown talks about how our brains really crave "a closed loop" in situations, so we sometimes make up stories in our heads to fill in the gaps when we don't know all the details.
You know that moment when someone doesn't acknowledge you in the grocery store and you think, "Oh no...did I do something to offend that person?" or "I wonder why she doesn't like me."?
This is what Brown is talking about. We don't like unresolved loops in our brain, so we make up stories to fill them in.
And it happens in marriages ALL THE TIME.
So when something is bothering you...talk about it.
When you are unsure of the motive for your spouse's actions...talk about it.
Sit down and have real life conversation.
2. Be Present
This one goes hand-in-hand with number 1.
Put the phone away and be with your spouse.
Turn the television off and be with your spouse.
Carve out time in your day to be together.
When you are with your spouse, be fully there...not distracted by outside influences.
3. Find Out Your Spouse's Love Language
Here is a quiz you can take to find out your love language and the love language of your spouse. TAKE QUIZ HERE
When Mr. Farmhouse and I found out that his love language is quality time and mine is acts of service, this was a game-changer for us.
I learned that I needed to stop multi-tasking and trying to "get stuff done" and just sit down and BE with him.
He learned that doing the dishes or filling my car up with gas before I realize it's empty really fills my cup.
With that said -- I would encourage everybody to take the love language quiz because it is great for ALL relationships -- friendships, parent/child relationships, work relationships, and others!
4. Focus on intimacy
I'll make this short and sweet because I'm pretty sure my parents read my blog.
Ladies, even if your husband's primary love language is not "physical touch", he still craves physical touch.
Wives, commit to initiating an intimate encounter with your husband twice this week and see what happens. I promise, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what it does for your relationship OUTside of the bedroom.
Okay, moving on...
This next piece of advice might step on a few toes and I don't mean to do that, but I think it's a very important point to discuss.
5. Do not elevate your relationship with your children "above" your relationship with your spouse.
I know this is difficult to consider because, my goodness, those sweet babies are just our WORLD!
But there will come a time in 18-20 years, when those babies will grow up and move out.
During this season of the "empty nest", I've known so many couples who feel as if they don't know their spouses without the kids in the house.
Serve your spouse in front of your kids.
Put his or her needs in front of your own needs.
Schedule monthly date nights...just the two of you!
Take trips (after COVID)!
Sit on the porch together after the kids are in bed.
Love your kids well WITH your spouse.
Back each other up! Our kids have known from a very young age that if one of us says "no", the other parent will say "no". There's no reason to even ask. This is not to say they haven't tried!
Your relationship with your spouse will serve as a model for them as they build relationships when they get older. Give them a healthy marriage to watch & model in their formative years.
I hope these five pieces of advice were helpful for you.
What would you add to my list?
Spending this cold, cold day inside with the family here at the farmhouse,
I've got some new readers, so I thought I might take the opportunity to introduce myself a little more formally and give a little background on life as we know it.
My name is Hannah and this is my blog...Farmhouse654.
I've been married to Mr. Farmhouse for almost 14 years. We started out life in an adorable two-bedroom home in town and stayed there for over two years, before moving to a ranch-style home on four acres outside of town. We did lots of updates to that home and property and absolutely loved every minute there. We were completely content, except for the fact that our three girls shared two bedrooms and it was getting just a little bit tight as they continued to grow.
We had so many great memories in that house.
We brought all three of our daughters home there.
We raised bottle-calves, pigs, and chickens there.
We spent 10 Christmas mornings there.
We made updates to the house, added a few outbuildings, and even survived a tornado that picked up one of our barns and threw it to the other side of the property.
Our second home was such a special part of our journey.
However, in May of 2017, an opportunity presented itself for us to sell that home and buy a farmhouse on ten acres.
So in July of last year (after some bumps in the road), we made the farmhouse our home.
And that was the start of Farmhouse654.
Now...a little background on the wife & mom of the family who lives here.
Mr. Farmhouse and I grew up right here in this town.
We are hometown kids and I can't imagine raising our girls anywhere else.
Our girls are eleven, (almost) nine, and three.
They are so alike and so different in so many ways.
We love Jesus and love our church.
We believe that God's calling for us is to love Him and to love people.
We try hard to do this, but fail miserably a lot of the time. We're thankful for grace!
I've been a teacher for the last twelve years and will be leaving the classroom in May to move into the position of the Director of Special Services in the district where I currently teach. I run a photography business on the side and work for my parents, who own group homes for adults with disabilities.
We are busy and blessed.
The girls are involved in our church, play sports, take dance classes, and enjoy piano & guitar lessons once a week.
We love to be outdoors and spend time often just sitting around in lawn chairs in the back yard watching the girls play basketball or shoot skeet.
When I have some free time, I like to document our journey through this blog.
So there you have it.
Some of where we've been and where we are now.
Someday I'll tell you all about where we're headed...our goals and dreams for the farmhouse.
But for today, I'll just go rock our sweet Mattie-girl while we watch another Barbie movie.
Make it a great Monday, friends.
We've all gone through one, right?
A rough patch?
I remember getting lots of advice in the beginning of our marriage.
"Don't ever go to bed mad..."
"Keep an open line of communication..."
"Put your spouse's needs before yourself..."
"Keep going on dates, even after you have kids..."
"Take time to do the things you love on your own, so you don't lose 'who you are'..."
"Talk about all things money..."
But what about those times where you've been trying to do those things?
When you've had conversation after conversation, trying to feel better about life?
Those times in life where you just feel like you don't even have it in you to fight anymore?
We've been there.
We have had moments in our marriage where we felt like we didn't even know each other.
I pray that we never get to that place again, but I know it's likely that we'll struggle through certain seasons of life.
And even when we aren't in a "rough patch", there's almost always a time that somebody we know is feeling the strain of keeping a relationship alive.
This subject is one that I feel like God has put on my heart lately, so just in case you're going through "a rough patch"...in life in general or specifically in marriage...I thought I would share with you a few of the things I've learned about getting through these times.
1. Serving each other is always a good option.
There are days that I am cranky or Mr. Farmhouse is cranky and I truly don't even want to talk to him.
I just want to slide through the day and do my own thing.
I have found that with one day of no interaction, two days with no interaction becomes easier.
Anybody else ever feel this way?
Like you're two people living in the same house who hardly know each other?
I have found that when we get to this point (during harvest time, for example!), the best thing I can possibly do is to ask myself what I could do to serve Mr. Farmhouse.
What could I do to make his day easier?
Some days, it's as simple as finding him a pair of socks in the morning.
Other times, it's making one of his favorite meals even when I don't feel like it.
It becomes easier and easier to serve each other when you take that first step.
2. Choose to love.
Sometimes Mr. Farmhouse and I don't like each other much.
I get frustrated with him and I'm sure I annoy him.
But even when it's hard to like each other, we have committed to loving each other.
Circumstances can affect our attitude, our words, and even our actions...but we cannot let circumstances affect our choice to love one another.
3. Look back.
In the day-to-day junk of life, I feel like some days it's hard to look back.
It's hard to remember what life was like back when we were dating.
Back when we first got married.
Back when we were eating Hamburger Helper every night and Always Save ice cream for a fancy dessert.
Before the stress of money and parenting and careers took over.
We must look back.
Go back to those things that made you fall in love with your spouse.
Look at pictures. Reminisce. Tell stories of your favorite memories of days past.
We have to look back.
4. Find a healthy couple, a dear friend, or a therapist to walk through this season with.
I do not know what I would do in life without "my people".
There have been many times that I have had good friends who said the hard things to me.
Friends who had to be a voice of reason for me when I was being irrational.
Friends to pray for me.
To pray with me.
To help us fight through the hard days.
And I'd like to think that I have been that person for someone, too.
5. Take it one day at a time.
Marriages, friendships, and any relationships do not become strained in one day.
It can take weeks, months, and sometimes years to rebuild what has fallen apart.
Make a plan to serve each other.
To love each other.
To recommit to each other.
To do the best you can every day.
To be the best you can every day.
To put one foot in front of the other and to take it one day at a time.
Gabe & Allison Davis.
It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
When Gabe texted me a few months before his wedding to ask if I would be available to photograph his wedding to his love, Allison, I said "absolutely" and put it on my calendar.
I have known Gabe for basically my whole life.
We share a hometown, a lot of the same friends, and a love for all things black and gold.
I hadn't met Allison until we visited at the wedding venue a few weeks before the ceremony, but I was immediately drawn to her kind smile, and her and Gabe's respect for each other and partnership in making decisions during our conversation that day.
I was excited to meet Allison's sweet son, Hudson, the day of the wedding and capture their wedding day memories alongside them!
Gabe is a talented woodworker and the vision he and Allison had for the ceremony location was just perfect.
From the sign welcoming guests to their "beginning" to the beautiful arbor he built for them to get married under.
Two of my favorite moments in every wedding are when the bride's father walks her down the aisle and "the kiss". Gabe & Allison's wedding was no different.
This moment where Allison's dad said something and they both smiled before they started their journey to Gabe was just precious.
And equally precious was when Hudson had to get a closer look at the kiss! Simply adorable!
I was so thankful to be a part of this beautiful day and pray for God's blessing on you as you continue to serve each other in marriage, Mr. & Mrs. Davis.
Congratulations to you both...and Hudson, too! ❤️
Something really big happened on Friday.
You might remember that we have owned the old house and the farmhouse for the last month.
We went ahead and purchased the farmhouse so our sellers could move along with their lives and were still waiting on our sale to go through.
We knew it was happening, just didn't know when.
And then...last Monday, we got a phone call.
It was happening.
It was time to sign papers and officially sell our house!
This process that started last spring was finally coming to a close.
It was a long-awaited phone call.
A huge relief.
A blessing to finally get rid of the feeling that we were holding our breaths until everything came to a close.
We signed Friday after school to finalize the sale.
Earlier that day, on Friday morning, sweet Dylan & Bailey went and signed the papers (how stinking cute are they???) to start making the house we had loved for so long into their own home.
It's a joy to see these "kids" who share so much of our story jumping in and making our old house their home.
We are excited for them to finally be through this process, even if they are having to keep Harlee's LeBron James cutout on the wall for a few more weeks until we can get her wall built and move him to his forever home!
Thanks for sticking with us through this process, faithful readers!
Can't wait to share the future of the farmhouse as we start to transform the upstairs with a few extra walls and a bathroom!
Coming soon! ❤️🏡❤️
June 5, 2004.
Many people have asked me or made guesses about where the "654" on Farmhouse654 came from.
It's not our house number.
It's not our street number.
It's not the number of dollars we have spent on the farmhouse, so far...I wish it was only $654!
It's our wedding anniversary.
Mr. Farmhouse and I went on our first date in September of 2000, to the Homecoming bonfire.
As a junior cheerleader, I needed a football jersey to wear and as a freshman football player, he had one.
From that point on, we were pretty much inseparable.
I married my high school sweetheart two short weeks after his high school graduation.
People thought we were crazy.
Settling for each other before really "seeing the world".
But while people thought we were crazy...we KNEW we were crazy.
Crazy for each other.
Committed to each other.
Excited to grow up together and grow old together.
We got married on June 5th, 2004.
And we just celebrated our 13th anniversary.
654 is the day our married life begun.
We've had ups and downs.
Good days and bad days.
New jobs, new homes, and three beautiful daughters added to the family.
654 was the start of everything we know and love.
And that's what I think of every time I write for Farmhouse654.
I am always blessed to see young people following through with the commitment of marriage and pray nothing but joy and contentment for this couple, as they grow together and serve one another.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Dodds. ❤️
Yesterday was Father's Day.
The hubs and I are really terrible at relaxing. Like really terrible.
However, Father's Day is one of the days every year that we are able to really let ourselves sit down and enjoy our families.
Matthew is such a hard worker.
He has a full time job, farms, mows seven yards every week, and is still an amazing husband, dad, son, grandson, and friend.