Since our family has experienced quite a bit of upheaval and tragedy in the last few months (and even before that, frankly) a lot of people have asked how Nate and I keep it together. How we keep going, smiling and moving through life. We’ve continued to travel and work, leaning into each other as life whirls on around us. If you’re going through similar issues, here’s a little marriage advice to put your relationship into focus in the midst of chaos.

Marriage Advice That will Keep You Moving in the Same Direction, Together

Big & Tall – get the look!

Choose Wisely

First up: this guy. I like to think that things got off on the right foot for me primarily because I chose the right dude. I had a literal list of prerequisites for the person I was going to marry. They needed to be in line with my morals and values. They needed to be willing to move to San Diego. They needed to be smart and self-sufficient. With those basics in place, Nate’s charm, loyalty, and wittiness were the added bonuses that caused me to really fall in love with him. In many ways, those qualities are the backbone of our relationship.

On top of that, I’ve gotten to know my husband well enough that I know his love language. I know that he needs words of affirmation and physical affection in order to feel supported and loved. As for me, I’m more of an “acts of service” kind of gal. Don’t buy me gifts or tell me I’m pretty. Instead, wash some dishes and make dinner, and I’m putty in your arms. You see…at the end of the day…love is a choice. You choose the person you fall in love with. You choose how you treat them. You choose to prioritize them.

Feel how you feel

Feel How You Feel

There’s no sense disguising your real feelings or pushing them down just to explode on everyone abruptly down the line. We realized fairly early on in our relationship that we’re both the sort of people who feel deeply, and we need to be allowed the space and time to process emotions. If either of us is having a bad day, now we just come out and say, “Bear with me, I’m having a bad day.” No hard feelings, no expectations of faking it, just true and complete acceptance. Meeting the other person where they’re at without pressure is the first step in any great relationship, and is the best marriage advice I can give.

Stay active as a couple

Move Together, Every Day

Our sponsor Lee Jeans makes jeans that move with us in any situation. Nate wears their Big & Tall line, while I go back-and-forth between their sculpting pants and flex motion jeans. I’ve shared how we try to squeeze in activity and exercise on the road as well as at the gym, and this is one of our key tips for making it happen. We are ready to move at the drop of a hat, whether we’re in the airport, on a boat or in the middle of a trail. From big leaps to little steps, we’re making progress together every day. For us it isn’t about weight or muscle mass, it’s about endorphins and connection.

Happy couple

Make Date Night a Priority

We do date night every single week. No work, no kids, no rules. We get out there and we do all sorts of crazy stuff from indoor skydiving to hot air ballooning to axe-throwing and painting classes. Keeping it light and fun helps remind us that we can always depend on each other to be the consistent thing for each other, no matter what life sends our way.

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How did you meet your spouse? Do you have any marriage advice to share?

This post was written in collaboration with JCPenney. All thoughts and opinions are my own.