Something I get asked a lot… how do you and Matthew make it all work? People say we look so happy and seem to have it all together. What’s our secret? Well, before I answer that let me assure you… while we are happy, we do NOT have it all figured out and we definitely do NOT have it all together!

That said, here’s my relationship advice. I am definitely not an expert. But, from past relationships I took away lessons. I know what doesn’t work. And, after 17 years together, I now know what does. For us, anyway.


I married my best friend. If I had to give one relationship tip, that would be it. Marry someone you are not only attracted to and someone you love… but someone you LIKE. We truly enjoy hanging out with each other. And we enjoy hanging out under very low-key circumstances. We both like the simple life. No fancy dinners or expensive dates necessary. We just really LIKE each other.

Don’t Rush, Don’t Compare

I know people who got married because they felt like time was running out, everyone else was getting married and they didn’t want to feel left out, they didn’t want to be alone and/or their biological clock was ticking. My opinion? Bad ideas. Wait for Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now. I was 27 when we met and we got married when I was 30. In comparison to many of my friends, that was way late. But, I wasn’t ready any earlier than that. Go at your own pace and make a sound decision based on YOUR life and YOUR heart.

Don’t Lose Yourself

Matthew loves golf. I feel like I didn’t emphasize that enough. He L O V E S golf. He might love it more than me. Kidding. I think. He would golf 365 days a year if it was possible. I knew that when I met him. I know that now. I have never and would never try to take that away from him. On the flip side, I love to shop. I don’t think I emphasized that enough. HA! You get me. It’s my thing. And while I can’t go blowing the household budget, he doesn’t stop me. Now, we are considerate of each other with all of this! He plans his golf outings VERY early on Saturday mornings so he’s home by lunchtime. And again, I’m not wrecking our finances over shopping. It’s respectfully figuring out a way so we can each live our own lives so we don’t lose ourselves in the chaos.

Date Nights

I’ll bet you thought I was gonna say that we do this all of the time and that’s one of the keys to our happiness. UM, I WISH. We are horrible at this. A piece of advice someone gave us when we got married — schedule date nights! One a week! That really is a fantastic idea and I probably need to get on it. But, here’s our reality. We both work. We are running around like crazy people all week with work, kid’s activities and keeping up with the household chores. By the time Friday night comes around, all we wanna do is… nothing. And after running around grocery shopping, attending soccer games and doing laundry on Saturday… the idea of washing my hair and getting dressed into anything other than sweats sounds like a HORRIBLE idea. Gosh, when I write that out I feel… pathetic! I know we need to make a better effort to get out more! Because when we do, I realize how lovely it is to eat a real-life adult meal without kids around. Work in progress on this one.

Yesterday’s News

Keep the past where it belongs. In the past. Huge lesson learned from my previous relationships. Bringing up a girl or boyfriend either of you had prior to meeting each other serves no purpose. It only stirs up jealousy and nothing good comes out of that. Or, bringing up an old argument! NO. Leave it alone. That is yesterday’s news. This was something I learned early on with Matthew. He’ll tell you he just doesn’t bring up the past because of a football concussion (long running joke). But, I know the truth. He’s smart enough to know that it just doesn't do any good. So leave it alone. He’s wise.

and finally…

Work as a Team

Teamwork makes the dream work. Yep, yep. That is a FACT. All of life’s responsibilities simply can’t fall on one person’s shoulders. It has to be a team effort. I unload the dishwasher, he mops the floor. I keep the kid’s closets organized and up-to-date, he mows the lawn. Divide and conquer! I feel like if we did it any other way, resentment would creep in.

Do we have it all figured out? Absolutely not. But, I do know that at the core of everything is a deep trust and a true friendship. We have each other’s backs. I’m grateful.

Jennifer Waldman