Today is an exciting day for me and my husband, as we are celebrating 13 wonderful years of knowing each other!

Thirteen years ago today, we were introduced through friends and have been inseparable ever since. I consider my husband my best friend and we’ve been so blessed to share an amazing year with our daughter, Collette and our dog, Duke.

I am happy to say that Duke is FINALLY getting used to Collette. He was a little (okay, maybe a lot) jealous of her when she first arrived, but I’ve been noticing lately that the two of them have created a close bond! Duke’s favorite thing to do now is follow Collette all around the house as she tries to walk. How cute is that? It melts my heart!

Ray and I have been married for 7 1/2 years. A question I get asked a lot is, what my secret is to having a long-lasting relationship? The secret is…that it takes a lot of work. Relationships aren’t easy and every couple has their own rules that works for them. I think the best advice is to create your own rules when it comes to a relationship and just be honest with one another. I do have some tips that I use in my life that I am going to share with you guys below.

My first rule for maintaining a long, happy relationship is to have a good understanding of your partner. Patience is key, since we all have our good and bad days, especially when you have a child, because so much changes in your life. Your life revolves around the baby and it’s very important to have patience with all obstacles you face, and to face them together! It’s important to have common understanding and respect with one another and trust in the relationship.

My second rule is never go to bed angry. No matter how ugly your argument can get, I truly believe that you have to resolve all issues before you go to bed. It just feels so much better when you go to bed with no issues — you sleep more comfortably and are more relaxed.

My third rule for keeping a relationship strong is to be spontaneous. It’s always fun to have a day open in the week where you and your partner can do literally anything you want to do together. It feels great to know that you have no plans other than to be with each other and do stuff that you enjoy! From watching a new movie, to working out together or finding new restaurants to test out, exploring new activities or locations with your partner on a whim is so fun and will bring you closer together!

My fourth rule is to give each other some space. My husband loves to have his “guys night” once a week, where he gets together with his friends at our house to watch games and do all that “guy” stuff! I opt to go hang out with my friends on his Thursday nights, whether it involves dinner, drinks, or attending work events. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it’s only a couple of hours that you both are apart.

My fifth rule is to start the day with kindness. It’s always great to encourage each other in the morning with some words or actions of kindness. Even something small, like making coffee or breakfast for one another, will start your day on a positive note. My mornings are really important to me — how I start the day tells me how my day will be. When I start my day with positivity and love, then I am sharing that all throughout the day at work

I am so excited to celebrate 13-years of meeting the man of my dreams. I love him and my family so much and can’t wait to see what the next year holds for us!