Updated: Apr 3
by April Defillo
My number one marriage tip is “do what works for you as a couple.” For context to this blog, I’ve been married for four years and we have a two year old child. In the span of four years we bought a house, renovated some of it, moved in together, had a baby and are now venturing through toddlerhood. We learned so much more about each other over the last four years than we knew the six years dating before. In doing so, we’ve learned what we can and can’t live with and have worked hard to get to a place where we can live happily.
Our marriage thrives on systems. Over the last four years, I’ve analyzed the things we value
and times we fell short of the others' expectations and created systems to help us uphold our values and lessen the chances for disappointment. I’m fortunate to have a husband who is “all in” when it comes to embracing changes and lending a helping hand.
After becoming a mother, I quickly learned how overwhelming the mental load can become. I did a decent job at delegating tasks with a newborn but still found myself significantly more drained than my husband. While analyzing my feelings, I realized the weight of my thoughts. In an effort to divide some of the mental load I purchased a wall calendar where we place upcoming events for the month. I didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of creating the systems that allow us both to live harmoniously.
We have shared phone notes for grocery lists, 30 minute weekly catch ups, a weekly dinner, bedtime routines, a notebook for chores and a joint phone calendar. These systems allow me to set it and forget it, which is great for lessening my mental load. They allow my husband the autonomy to know what’s happening or needs to happen around the house without feeling like I’m always asking him to do things.
The best thing about our systems is that we’ve created a world where we have time and energy to do other things we enjoy more. Contributing equally to our household and the care of our kid lightens the load for us both. With lighter loads, we are happier more often. Being happier allows us to love on each other more often.
As with anything, there are downsides to our systems as well. When creating them and trying to find the ones that fit our lifestyles and worked best for us our marriage began to feel like a business. I was doing COO level work coming up with strategies and plans for every dilemma. It became very business-like. But, because we built in space to talk weekly we were able to recognize this as a flaw in our systems. Since then, I’ve made sure to implement things that cater to my husband’s love language as well. As I mentioned earlier, as we worked through the kinks our systems ultimately created more space and energy in our lives.
Before our systems, it seemed like my husband and I couldn’t be more different. Now that
we’ve found what works for us both, it turns out we were just going about it wrong. Creating systems has made our lives so much easier and surprisingly our marriage more free. There is peace in being on one accord with your spouse, no matter what that may look like for you. Adulting is filled with so many things we’d rather not do but have to. Having a partner that is helpful has been the key to our success.
April Defillo has worked in operations for eight years. She is the mom of a toddler. When not chasing him around, she enjoys reading and journaling. She considers herself a life long learner and looks forward to learning and growing throughout these blogs.