Monday, November 25

4 Fun Marriage Strengtheners & Traditions

Is this wrapping paper from the BYU bookstore not adorable?? It's a "box of chocolates"!
(Actually, it's an iPad mini that I got for $279:)
I am always looking for fun things to do with Dalin to strengthen our marriage and bring us closer as a couple. He is my very best friend, but sometimes we get so caught up in our responsibilities that we lose sight of maintaining the friendship that made us want to marry each other in the first place. So here are four ways we strengthen our marriage (and you can, too!).

Spouse Gratitude Journals (Daily)
Probably one of the best ideas I've ever had was to suggest to Dalin that we each start keeping a journal to record things about the other person that we're grateful for. Basically, I gave Dalin a blank journal (it was black and manly of course) and I chose one out of my collection (everyone always gives me journals because they know I love them and actually use them) and we decided that each night, as a part of our nighttime scripture study and family prayer routine (and my personal journal-writing), we'd each write one thing that we appreciate about the other (whether it was something we were grateful for in general, or specifically from that day). I'm not going to lie, I was very curious about what Dalin would say about me. And being the little sneak that I am, a few days in, I snuck a peek at what Dalin had written. His words touched me so much and made my entire week. I wanted to live up to the things he had said about me, whether I thought they were accurate or not. Since then, I've sneaked a few more glances at what he's written and doing so has encouraged me to strive to be a better wife, a better mother, and a better follower of Christ each day. One thing I've found is that I'm noticeably happier since we've made this a part of our routine. Start this tradition for with your spouse by Thanksgiving!

Memory & Adventure Album (As needed)
When we were engaged, we were given an album by my roommates for my bridal shower. In the beginning of the book, on each page is a dried rose petal or two that contains something I said that I love about Dalin. It ranges from physical appearance to spirituality to personality to actions, and thanks to my roommates, it's adorable. My best friend Sarah then took the book and did the same thing for me, having Dalin tell her things he loves about me for every rose petal included. She tried to copy the format my roommates used. It makes me so happy when I look back and read what he wrote about me. So anyhow, we had this great gift in our home, but there were still several pages in the back that needed to be filled. Not having a place for small things we collect, I decided to use the rest of the album to keep things from our adventures. Included in it are postcards from our honeymoon across New England; tickets to movies, museums, General Conference, etc.; love notes/cards we've written each other; our annual letters (which I'll tell you about below); and anything else. We even have a page dedicated to keeping all of the fortune cookie fortunes we've collected over the years. They're fun to look at all together! :) We love and cherish this book as it reminds of the love we had before we were married, and the love and adventures we continue to have now that we're together forever. (Tear) It's pretty wonderful. And the album is convenient because we can just stick little slips of paper and ticket stubs in the sleeves.
Love notes from our early marriage ;)
Tickets and our Christmas letters (discussed below)
Postcards from our honeymoon in Boston and tickets to a movie we saw while there
Fortune Cookie fortunes collected over the years (we still have several others in wallets/purse pockets that we have yet to add)
Bucket List Jar (Any time we think of it)
This is one idea that we are just starting. There are a lot of goals we have individually and as a couple. We want to support one another in our individual goals and make them our own. Most of our "bucket list" goals include traveling with our little family. We are just recently figuring out how we can make these goals and plans reality. We also have family goals and personal ones that we are working daily to achieve. How this idea works is we keep little slips of paper available and as a goal occurs to us, we write it down and stick it in the Bucket List Jar. Once a year or every so often, we will empty the jar and tape any that we've accomplished in a place we can see it (such as our Memory Album or our bulletin board or perhaps the fridge) and return the ones we've yet to accomplish back in the jar. That way, we're reminded of the adventures we still have yet to have! A few that will be included in our jar are:
  • Have another baby in/by 2015
  • Travel to Ireland/Scotland
  • Buy a house
  • Get rich (haha jk that won't be in there)
  • Live by a lake or ocean
  • Graduate school!
Christmas Love Letters (Annually)
This tradition is my favorite of all and was one we began our first Christmas together, just four months after we were married. On Christmas Eve, we sit together and write each other a love letter. We include things we love about the other person and favorite memories from the last year together. Then we stick our letter in the other person's stocking (before Santa comes obviously ;) to be read on Christmas morning. Pretty simple. But it is maybe the only time that we actually write a full letter to one another during the year and for that reason, I cherish this tradition. You know it's a good tradition when it makes you so happy that you cry. I am not a fan of crying or even happy crying, but this is one time it doesn't bother me. In fact, I kind of look forward to it. The first Christmas we did this, I was shocked by how similar our letters were. We both spoke about the first time we met and both shared how we felt in that moment when we saw each other in person for the first time. When we finished reading each other's letters, we compared them because they contained so many similar things. It was a lot of fun for me, and I literally look forward to reading my letter more than anything else on Christmas. This is an AWESOME tradition! Start it this year!
What are some awesome and fun traditions you and your spouse have?
Will you be starting any of these traditions?


  1. Olivia! I thought these were all great ideas! But I especially love your annual Christmas letters. Such a simple, but profound and meaningful gift. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thank you, Allyson! I really appreciate your comment! It definitely is a good one, and so much more meaningful than any present. It's something you can hold onto forever and read over and over. Maybe it will become a tradition in your family! :)

  2. Great ideas, honey! I'm so glad you are getting my son to do some of these things.


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