Marriage Advice Better Than “Don’t Go To Bed Mad”

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My husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage today, and while that makes me feel giddy and proud, there is also something about the fact we have been marriage for that long, that is making me feel really…old. Like, really? Has it really be 15 years? Wow.

We have been through a lot in those 15 years.

The first 14 pretty much fell in the “for better” category.  When life is sailing along crisis-free, it’s easy to take life for granted. This year, with the tragic loss of my mom, we have been undoubtedly been through “for worse”. Yet, he has stood by my side every step. God bless him.

For all the awful things I am going through grieving the loss of my mom, I think how awful it must be for him, to always being the strong one while watching your wife grieve. But we made it through, and we are still making it through. Witnessing his commitment to us has strengthened us. It might be one of the silver linings, we are stronger as a result of this “for worse” year. Nothing tests a relationship like crisis.

Marriage Advice

Photo cred: Melissa Wilson


My mom and I had the time of our life planning our wedding back in 2001. We were two peas-in-a-pod with our love for parties, celebrations and “cute details”.  The wedding was the party to end all parties for both of us and we had SO much fun together.

After the wedding, she gave me as a gift, a secret journal she kept starting with the day we got engaged. In it, she documented all the details of the engagement, planning and wedding and all the things we did together.

At the end of the journal, my parents both shared their tips and advice on marriage. My parents were married 46 years and were one of those couples that had something special. They were genuinely, truly happy together.

Here they are on August 16th, 1969…

parents collage

I pulled out the Journal today to read her words again.

Here are some my mom said…

“The promise and commitment of marriage is the most incredible gift.”

Treat your husband as your best friend every day of your life.”

“There will be ups & downs, highs & lows, but always be there for each other.”

Listen to each other and compromise if needed.”

“….and kiss him every night when you or he walks in!”

“Always” and “nevers” advice from my dad…

“Always listen to your partner twice as much as you talk. After all, God gave us two ears and one mouth.”

Never use sarcasm with each other, it’s often times an insult in disguise.”

“Always remember what is easy or difficult for you might not be easy or difficult for your partner. Embrace your differences, for they are what makes your marriage unique.”

“Always make your partner look good in front of others.

Never keep secrets from one another. Share feelings and try not to keep things inside and you’ll both grow.”

Never make major decisions when you are acutely emotional. Wait a day, take 100 deep breaths.  Most of the stupid decisions I have made in my life have been during times of high emotion.”

“Always treat your partner even better than you would your best friend.

“Never set your partner up to fail, rather set your partner up to succeed.

And then my moms ends with…

“And now you can even better understand why I love your father so much! He is an incredible person, I am so lucky to have him as my partner in life!”

Someone hand me the tissues.

This past weekend we celebrated our anniversary in Laguna Beach and had dinner at The Deck, which used to be a wedding venue called Pacific Edge, where we got married.

When we walked in I felt immediately nostalgic, thinking of that day, my mom and how special that place was to her as well. At that exact moment,  a guy walks right towards me with this amazing monarch butterfly on his finger and I tell him I believe it is for me. He hands it to me. I just know it was a sign from her, letting me know she is still right here with us.  Hug your loved ones today friends. Give your husband or wife an extra kiss. Appreciate each other.  Life is fleeting.


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So my hubby and I turn 10 years old today.

I actually had to scan this photo because when we got married digital photography wasn’t really the mainstream yet. Doesn’t that seem weird?

In a way that day feels like yesterday and it a way it feels like a lifetime ago. But, one thing I know for sure – that is the last time we walked hand in hand on the beach in formal wear like that and the last time I donned a tiara!

Reflecting on these past ten years and what I have learned about marriage, I truly believe the person you chose to marry is probably the most important decision you make in your lifetime.


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5 Tips for a Successful Relationship by Lesley Malik, M.A. MFT

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Before kids, I never used to get when people said “marriage takes work” because my husband and I were so compatible our relationship used to feel effortless.

But those were the days when, just for an example, we would sleep in on Saturday morning, have breakfast together, read the paper, maybe go for a bike ride or go grocery shopping together, hit a movie, go to a home store to buy stuff to work on our house, make dinner together or maybe go out for dinner and drinks, you get the idea.

Every weekend, all weekend it was just the two of us.  And what that meant was we had a lot of TIME to focus on each other, talk and connect. No wonder it felt so easy!

Now after kids, I can absolutely see how marriage does take work. Anyone else feel the same?

There are stretches of time when I feel like we are both just totally immersed in “Operation Scheumann Household.” We are a cooperative team focused on everything we need to do to take care of the kids and our household.  Kids, activities, cleaning, shopping, birthday parties, organizing, work, bills, etc. etc. And unfortunately “Operation Scheumann Marriage” is often a neglected mission!

It started to bum me out last year because I really love being with my husband, a lot. But with two young children, the time we had with just the two of us started to become far and few between.  At one point, there was a four month stretch between date nights. Not good!

So, this past year we really have tried to make a conscious effort to do more regular “date nights” and it has made a big difference. Just an hour and a half to put on a cute outfit and get away someplace is all it takes to feel more connected again. But even this hour and a half takes effort, planning, babysitting, etc.  It’s not easy, but it is worth it.

I got to thinking that we can’t be the only ones that have to work to fit in time to devote to our marriage in parenthood, so I asked Lesley Malik, an Orange County individual and couples therapist, if she could write some helpful tips on how to work on strengthening your relationship.

I love what she wrote because they are all things that are easy to do. Here is what she wrote…

5 Tips for a Successful Relationship
by Lesley Malik, M.A. MFT

1. Be curious about your partner’s world – people who have successful relationships stay curious about their partners. Think about whether you could answer questions like:


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