Fall in love, become engaged, get married and sail away into Happily Ever After!! Blame it on Romantic Comedies, blame it on fairytales, but we tend to have a rose tinted view of marriage in our culture. 


The truth is, like any relationship, partnership or collaboration, marriage is work. Marriage ebbs and flows. Marriage is sort of a job! And like an occupation, the success depends very much on your output. The success ebbs and flows. After nearly 13 years of marriage, Max and I have put in A LOT of work! 

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We’ve encountered heart wrenching loss, frustration with family, frustration with each other, health scares, disconnection, financial disparity, an imbalance in our roles at home, struggles with identity, struggle with parenthood and trying to keep our household afloat.
We’ve also had a lot of amazing, pinch me moments. We’ve traveled the world together, we’ve celebrated & relished in many milestones and small everyday moments.  We’ve worked as a team to be parents, we’ve honored promotions & growth opportunities. We’ve danced (A LOT), we’ve partied, we’ve sang, we’ve had so much fun!! 
Enter 2020: The pandemic brought on a host of new challenges for our marriage. I’m almost certain you can relate!? Even if you have the very best partnership possible, COVID-19 has likely presented some interesting challenges, familial role shifts and EXTRA STRESS on your marriage.
During the pandemic, our partners suddenly became a lot more than our spouses and co-parents. They became our roommate, slash sometime therapist, slash full-time coworker, slash full time kitchen patron, slash workout buddy, slash person who doesn’t pick up after himself (ahhhh), AND some days the only other real adult we see!!

That’s a lot of pressure for ONE relationship!! Acknowledge that!!!! Then start to think of ways you can bring lightness and JOY into your marriage. 

Here are some ideas that have helped Max and I maintain a “strong” marriage. Strong is relative. A better phrase is enjoyable marriage. At the end of the day your partnership should be mutually beneficial and enjoyable between the two of you!!! So don’t pay attention to what you believe another relationships functions like. Comparison robs your joy!! It robs your presence. Stay in your own marriage lane!!

1. Have Your Own Identity Outside Of The Marriage

It’s so important to understand that YOU are responsible for your own happiness. If you are depending on your children or your spouse for your internal happiness, that’s putting a lot of undue pressure on your relationships. When you are fulfilled, curious, invigorated and when you are passionate about SOMETHING–literally anything–Your job, knitting, running, organizing. You have more JOY and love to bring to the table. You have more energy and lightness for your relationships. Let me know if you need help with this!! I love helping my clients become curious about their passion + grow it into something beautiful! 

2. Get Cooking–But Make it Fun!

They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Take a mundane chore like cooking family dinner and turn it into a heart warming experience. Anytime you can make something a tiny pit special, or out of the ordinary… It’s worth it!! We’ve loved taking online cooking classes during the pandemic. There are literally millions of cooking opportunities online + Instagram. Give it a scroll and sign up!! For a local online cooking option, we’ve loved Thai Fresh.  The recipes provide a spicy opportunities {pun intended} to get the heat and passion back into our lives!

2. Get Outside

I mean this literally and figuratively. You need to literally get outside in fresh air together. Switch up your scenery from the monotonous rhythm of your bed, your “office” and your couch and head out on a hike together in nature! Connect in the sunshine, feel the wind on your face, enjoy the natural sounds and light hearted conversation. 

It’s also been important for us to STEP outside our routines. We literally have to switch things up to avoid insanity!!!! For Max and I, variety is the spice of life so we work hard to keep thinking outside the box. We head downtown for staycations, we drive out to the hill country for picnics at our favorite wineries, we go on long bike rides, we hit South Congress with no agenda. We keep things interesting!!

3. Have Sex

Yep–I said it. I know it’s the last thing on our minds most days…With working in front of a screen, homeschooling kids, the never ending cooking, dishes and grocery shopping, squeezing in workout outs, plus trying to take care of yourself, but the intimacy provides the icing on the cake for marriage. 

Yes, our lack of variability {HELLO daily top knot + leggings} has no doubt reduced the desire for sex in many households. But I’ll let you in on a secret–the more sex you have, the more sex you will have. The less sex you have, the less sex you will have. 

Like anything –the act of sex is a habit!! What you do consistently and regularly becomes a routine Y’ALL! I try to apply this methodology in all areas of my life. Including sex.

4. Small Moments and Small Gestures Matter

They also have the potential to annoy the hell out of you!! Max—pick up your freaking dirty socks off of the living room floor!!! Can I get an Amen!!

Most of our fights start from seemingly meaningless offenses. Like dirty socks, a sink full of dishes, shuffling the kids’ schedules etc. Get in the habit of implementing small acts of kindness around the house to outweigh these petty annoyances. Start to understand the small things that make your partner happy, that make their heart sing, THAT FILL THEIR CUP and do them often!! If our cup is full, we are much less likely to blow up over the socks!

5. Choose Your Words Wisely 

Yes we will argue, yes we will continue to disagree. But our partners deserve kindness and respect ALWAYS. When you vow to keep nasty words out of your fights, you are able to cut through the bullshit and get right to the heart of the matter, the root of the problem.. and hopefully find a mutually beneficial solution!!! 

Marriage is a work in progress, a beautiful mess and a unique story. Relish in the gift your marriage brings to your life.  

Cortney is a mother of two, #atxfoodie and lover of fitness! She married her soul-mate, Max, after a love at first sight experience in Las Vegas. Together, they have two children Zander (7) and Zia (5). As a family, they love exploring Austin, trying new restaurants, s’mores by the fire, and vacationing in CO & Cali! Her passion lies in health and wellness. She adores grocery shopping, farmers markets, cooking new recipes, and exercise! Cortney is on a quest to keep her family healthy, dining on the cleanest ingredients, while still having fun and eating paleo chocolate chip cookies!! She started a Health Coaching business in 2019 to help families find the joy in living and eating healthfully! Follow her journey and learn more about her coaching services @happydinneratx and www.happydinneratx.com


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