Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. Matt jokingly said that we should count our years “hotel style” and just skip to fourteen. Fortunately for us, we’re not superstitious and we’ve had more than our fair share of trials over the past thirteen years to know that difficulties in marriage just come when two people live life together—no unlucky numbers necessary! So what is the secret to a successful marriage and how do you make sure your marriage is blog-proof? Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I know a few things that have worked for us and other successful bloggers.
How to Blog-Proof Your Marriage
There are a ton of articles on the web entitled “how to affair-proof your marriage” and I think many of the same tips apply to “blog-proofing” your marriage. Admit it. In the first few years of blogging chances are really good that you had a complete love affair with your blog! It was the first thing you thought of when you woke up in the morning; it was the last thing you thought of before bed at night. You sat by your computer hitting refresh, again and again, to see if anyone left you a new comment. You poured over your words, worshipped your latest creations, and virtually hugged your newest followers. Blogging is incredibly egocentric and can be very intoxicating and addictive.
1. Acknowledge the drug. Many of you might not know that I worked as a counselor for years before blogging. I’m going to dust off my degree today and put it to good use :). Those of you who are depressed, have an attention deficit disorder, or are prone to addiction are at a higher risk for developing a blog addiction. Why? Because your brain tends to be lower in a naturally occurring stimulant called dopamine. And guess what helps give you an instant hit of dopamine? Blogging and social media! The constant feedback loop of “opportunities for reward” in blogging is non-stop. The latest emails in your inbox, the newest messages on your facebook and G+ page, the person who just tweeted you, the instagram pictures you have yet to check, the blog posts in your reader, the comments on your blog, the latest pins on Pinterest, and on and ON are all feeding the dopamine feedback loop. Did you know that our brains respond the same way to an internet addiction as they do to cocaine? Recognize that you might be addicted and set healthy limits on the time you spend plugged in.
2. Involve your spouse in your blog. When I began blogging four years ago, I had no goal and no real purpose. I just wanted a space to share my musings. I never intended for my blog to turn into a full-time business, and Matt & I never really talked about it. The income I have made from my blog has been a huge blessing to our family, but the amount of time and commitment involved has also been HUGE. As in any small business venture, the amount of time involved to keep things running can be all-consuming, and I could never do it all without Matt’s help. Although Matt dislikes DIY’ing, he is supportive of my creative ventures and helps me with grocery shopping, laundry, and the kids. He is actually a rather gifted DIY’er and sometimes I am envious of all the “couple DIY’ers” out there and wish Matt would adopt my hobby as his own. However, it’s just not his thing, so I try to be very respectful of the DIY demands I place on him when I’m dreaming up a project.
I asked blog friends to weigh in on the topic of balancing blogging and marriage and here is what they had to say:
You have to have the support of your husband (to do it close to full time) or it won’t work. Thankfully my spouse sees my time online as “work” not play, but I still have to be sensitive to his needs. I turn off between 6 and 9 pm to spend time with family and then cozy up with the laptop at night on the sofa while we catch up on TV shows or the news. –Kate, Centsational Girl
My husband and I have gone round and round over the years and we have finally agreed to my business hours. I think that is key. Getting your husband on-board and choosing as a family how many hours mom will be working. We also made some financial decisions to help my blog too – my kids are gone from the house during mommy’s work hours. I also hired a house cleaner. It is worth the money I bring in, and I also shut the computer down when it is not my work hours. My kids have no idea I actually work, and I love that. –Becki, Infarrantly Creative
Even though my husband rarely actually reads NP, I still ask him a ton of questions about what I’m thinking and ideas and stuff–then, I actually try to listen to what he says. If he were to ever to say “hey you are spending entirely too much time on line” I’d want to be really sensitive to that. However, I think earning some money for all that time spent helps lessen that blow. It’s one thing when mom can’t get dinner on the table one night. It’s another thing when she can’t get dinner on the table but she already has take out ordered and paid for! –Nester, Nesting Place
My husband isn’t an active part of my blogging, but he’s active in DIY home improvement and decorating decisions. I think it helps that he has his own hobbies and interests, but we both share a passion for making our home our dream home and work well together. He enjoys the encouragement and feedback from the blogging community. He even picks up on certain comments/praise and reminds me that “our backsplash is to die for”. LOL! –Roeshel, DIY Showoff
3. Allow your man some space of his own. This suggestion came directly from Matt, “Make sure your husband has his own space to decorate.” The man cave ladies. It’s important. Matt’s “man cave” is actually our unfinished basement which he said, “isn’t quite as sanctified as I’d like it”. Sanctified? Wow. Such strong religious rhetoric for an unfinished-spidery-basement. LOL! But that just goes to show how important it is that he have a place all his own. If you and your husband don’t share the same decorating style, be sure that you are allowing him some say in some of your decorating decisions.
The blog is not the problem here. It is all the redecorating that comes with it. And the fact that my guy and I don’t exactly share the same decorating style. He has mellowed a bit and has allowed me more freedom actually thanks to the blog. He is so supportive of me and my blog that ‘it is for the blog’ has been a good argument to agree with certain things. And I guess my taste has moved to a more sleek more modern look too. –Marianne, Songbird
4. Make time for your spouse. You have heard it said a thousand times over, but it still remains true. You have to spend quality time connecting together on a regular basis if you want your marriage to be healthy. Close your computer, turn your phone to silent, and just enjoy talking, cuddling, kissing, and fill-in-the-blanking *wink, wink* regularly! Here are some tips from other full-time bloggers on how to make time for your man:
It is really tough to find a balance when you are a blogger (especially a DIY blogger!) I’ve found that scheduling a weekly walk with my husband for an hour gives us the time to connect and make him feel like he matters. We usually trade sitting with a neighborhood friend. She banks our hours and then she and her husband go out for several hours on their date night. –Brittany, Pretty Handy Girl
We work on the projects together, and have fun with the DIY projects, so the hard part has actually brought us closer together. I write during the day, so the “job” part of blogging is done while he’s at work. When he gets home it’s family time, even if that time does involve us working together on a project. –Gina, The Shabby Creek Cottage
I do social media in 5 minute spurts – morning, noon, night, so I don’t get bogged down. Also having a smart phone is incredibly helpful for quick email, Facebook responses. 🙂 My hubby and I always spend time together after Ridley is down for the night which keeps us connected. He fully supports my blog, so that’s incredibly helpful. I try to stay off my laptop on Friday nights, so we can spend the evening together. –Myra, My Blessed Life
If my husband asks me to close up the computer, I do. He rarely asks me so I know if he does that he is feeling neglected and wants to spend time with me. I also have him proof read my posts because I suck at grammar and that way he feel apart of it. I put the kids to bed, blog or edit photos for about an hour and then my husband and I veg on the couch talking or watching “our” shows. I have not felt like it has affected out schedule or marriage very much. –Stacy, Not Just a Housewife
I have an awesome husband. 🙂 Really, it takes a special, patient, confident man to be a husband to a blogger. It was a big change for us when I started blogging, but he has been my No. 1 fan the whole time. Never once has he questioned the time, sweat, love and sometimes tears I put into it. 🙂 I do think it’s VERY important to get the heck away from the computer often, and focus on him and the two of you (and the same goes for the kids of course)! –Sarah, Thrifty Decor Chick
Hands down, your marriage is your first love and priority and is much more important than your blog. By acknowledging the drug-like power blogging has over many of us, you will be better equipped to set healthy limits on your hobby/business. Involving your hubby in your blog, allowing him his own space within your home, and creating time for just the two of you will ensure that your marriage isn’t being overshadowed by your blog.
Do you struggle with balancing work/hobby and family? What are some of the ways you blog-proof your marriage?