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How three Post-it notes transformed my marriage

I'm Sarah - wife to my amazing husband, John, and mom to two little girls, Cami and Maisie.  I used to work in the finance industry before having my daughters, and now I'm a freelance personal finance writer and blogger.  I love being wi...

Simple marriage advice that turned our big fight into no big deal

Raise your hand if you want a better marriage. Since you can't change your spouse, you have to change yourself. Here's how I did just that — with something as simple as Post-it notes.

Alright, let's back up. My husband and I have been married just three years, so I'm by no means a marriage expert. I am, however, just like almost every other married woman out there — I love my husband more than anything, but we fight, we (read, I) nag, we bicker and sometimes he flat-out drives me crazy. Having brought two babies into this world in just three years, we've absolutely had our fair share of up and downs.

One particular weekend, we got into one of those all-encompassing fights where you think your marriage might be coming to an end (please tell me I'm not the only one who's had those fights). In typical female fashion, I normally would have vented to a few close friends who always agree with me about how much of an a-hole my beloved husband is. While there's nothing like girlfriends who've got your back no matter what, sometimes I end up more mad at my husband after talking to the girls than before the vent session took place.

This particular fight, though, I told no one except for a close friend of mine who I don't see too often (we had a playdate scheduled for the Monday after our argument). I expected to hear the same old, "Wow, he should apologize to you," "He needs to make this up to you" and "What a jerk!" type of "advice." Instead, my friend suggested I leave Post-it notes around the house listing three of my favorite things about my husband for him to read after work. I couldn't believe she suggested such a thing — I mean, shouldn't he be the one leaving me Post-it notes around the house?!

But, I swallowed my pride and did it anyways. My friend and her husband have a rockin' marriage, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

I got home from the playdate and while my kids napped, I got to work on thinking of three things I love and appreciate about my husband. For starters, he's a great dad to our two little girls, so I immediately wrote that down. Easy. Alright, what else? Well, he's pretty hot (does that count?), he calls me during the day to see how I'm doing, he lets me pick the movie on Friday nights, he gives me a massage almost every night, he cooks amazing dinners, he takes out the trash, he gets up with the girls on weekends so I can sleep in… oh, wait, that's more than three. As I was brainstorming, I couldn't help but feel an immense amount of love for my husband. Maybe this activity was just what I needed — not him — so I could forgive him and move forward.

All of a sudden, our fight from the weekend no longer seemed like that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things (really, it wasn't). So how did my husband react to the Post-it notes, you may wonder? He laughed and thought they were cute. He liked that I pointed out his positive qualities instead of always focusing on the negative ones. Turns out, this advice benefited me significantly more than it benefited my husband.

Lesson learned. It's amazing how changing your attitude and focusing on the positive things about your spouse can transform your marriage… and it starts with you.

I thank my friend for her advice every time I see her. Not only did she help smooth over that particular fight (I was over it within a day as opposed to a week), but she's helped our marriage as a whole for the long-term. It really is the little things that make up a marriage, and since no person or marriage is perfect, all we can do is focus on the good.

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