I can't tell you how many articles I've read about guidelines to keep your marriage happy and healthy that included having a consistent "date night" is one of the keys to happiness.
We tried the weekly "noodle night" and that was great for a while, but we're busy folks for the most part. Coming and going and people coming over, working late and all of that - it's really hard to stick to a weekly date night.
So instead of pressuring ourselves to do it, we just do it on a whim, or we plan something a little more special well ahead of time.
Last night, we went on our first "date night" since we got Auron over a month ago and it was definitely well needed. We went out to dinner and then saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Wow. Just wow. Folks, I was rendered speechless. I actually sat through most of the show with my mouth agape in awe. Just awesome. Neither of us had seen them live before, but were always impressed by the music. It was amazing watching such talented singers and musicians blend hard rock with orchestral pieces. Garry and I started learning how to play violin this winter and it was definitely an inspiration to keep practicing and learning.
We ended up going to bed much later than normal and woke up really tired, but it was worth it. Tonight we'll just have a nice, quiet dinner in and spend some time playing with Auron outside (poor little guy was in his crate most of the day yesterday since we were running around everywhere) as I'm sure he would love to romp around the yard on such a nice day.
I guess if I were to say what I think a good guideline to keeping a marriage happy and healthy is to communicate, know yourself and what you want in life (it's hard to communicate those things if you don't really know or take the time to think about it) and think before you act. I know it sounds easy, but sometimes it's more difficult than it looks.
Sometimes you don't really know what you want in life, or the things you want might be conflicting. Instead of freaking out, just take the time to sort through it. Tell your partner that you're sorting through it. Let them help if it's something they truly can help, but if not, don't be afraid to say that you have to sort it out in your own head. Respect your partner if they need to do the same.
It's okay to be angry too. No really, it is. It's okay to be angry, upset or otherwise pissed off at your partner. It happens. What matters is what you *do* with that anger. Figure out why you're angry. No, why you're really angry. Not just because your partner doesn't do the dishes when you ask or some other minutia. Find the real root of it and then discuss it. If those issues come up and you're constructive with it (instead of just getting mad and fighting) you will not only learn something about yourself, but you'll definitely strengthen your marriage or partnership.
It's also smart to know when something is worth bringing up. If it really is minutia, there's no sense in blowing up over it. Allow yourself time to think about why you're upset before doing anything (unless it's something really serious that is a danger to you or others then bring it up asap) and you may find that it's not as big of a deal as you originally thought, or that it was a misunderstanding, etc. That doesn't mean to bottle things up, it just means to think before you speak.
Communication is key in any relationship whether business, friendship, romantic, family... it doesn't matter. So many relationships fail because the folks involved just don't communicate well. Being with someone you communicate well with is helpful. But, even if you don't communicate so well now, you can always work on it. Communication goes both ways, so both of you need to be dedicated toward making it happen. Being compassionate also helps. Put yourself in your partner's shoes and really try to understand where they are coming from. It really does help.
Tomorrow the girls will be coming over for a little pre-wedding get-together (my friend is getting married in a month) to work on some of the centerpieces and what not. It should be a good time. I'm hoping the nice weather holds out until Sunday to tackle the flower bed, but it's starting to look like that might end up being a next weekend project.