• Caitlin Lagnese

ReelChat’s Tips & Tricks for a Successful Marriage


Before I dive into my tips and tricks for a healthy and successful marriage, I want to be totally transparent. This post isn’t going to be some unrealistic portrayal of marriage. I won’t be rambling on about how perfect my marriage is. Instead, I want to paint a picture of what marriage really looks like. I want to talk about how my imperfect marriage is perfectly enough. I do not claim to be a marriage expert. Every piece of advice I am sharing today comes from personal experience. My marriage hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth the work put in. Let’s face it, bringing two people with different backgrounds and personalities together for eternity is serious business. It isn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops. I firmly believe the more we communicate and work through marriage, the easier and more satisfying marriage becomes. So please make yourself comfortable as we dive into ReelChat’s top tips and tricks for a successful marriage!



Embrace your differences. My husband Mike and I are very different people. We think differently, feel differently, and socialize differently. Even our hobbies and interests are different, however the saying is true, opposites attract. We both bring different things to the table. I love that my husband is not a carbon copy of me. He’s the ying to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly. I’m the one who introduces him to new people and experiences. He’s the one who grounds me and shows me the comfort in stillness. I am the neurotic planner and organizer who has a game plan for every day. He’s the one who lives more in the moment and takes things one day at a time. Perhaps our biggest personality difference is how we process emotions. I am the very emotional one who tends to feel all of my emotions and internalizes the emotions of those around me. He’s the one who can let things roll off his back, not internalizing emotions around him. Let’s say Mike was as outwardly emotional as me, we would drive each other nuts going around in circles, shouting over each other in frustration. If I avoided emotional conflict the way Mike naturally tends to do, we would be ticking time bombs with major resentment built up. Even though the ways we process emotions are different, we naturally balance each other out. What I love about our differences is that we constantly learn from one another and challenge each other. To me, a relationship that does not challenge you does not serve you.


Same core values. Even though my husband and I are very different people, our core values are similar. While we do have some differing world and political views, the values and vision we hold for our family and future are the same. Here are some of our top core values: love, respect, kindness, integrity, and communication. In my opinion and experience, it is hard to be on the same team or the same page if your core values don’t align. You want to be heading in the same direction.


Solid foundation. If you want to have a successful marriage, you MUST build that marriage on a rock solid foundation.


“…The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7 (vs. 24-27)

No matter your religious views, the lesson behind this passage can be applied to marriage. If you build your marriage on superficial and materialistic grounds, most likely life will run that marriage right into the ground. If you build your marriage on love and trust, your marriage can weather any storm.


Communication. This one is a biggie! Communication is a must. How can you expect to be on the same page if you can’t communicate with your partner? This is definitely an area I have mastered but I understand that communicating one’s feelings doesn’t always come naturally or feel comfortable. Communication in marriage could be as simple as checking with your partner on what time and day would be good for date night. Other times communication in marriage means expressing your feelings to your partner. There was a time when I would make passive aggressive remarks if Mike didn’t say exactly what I wanted to hear. An example of this would be me dolled up for a date night. Cue me staring blankly at Mike while making some snide remark because I didn’t hear, “Wow, you look amazing babe.” I justified my feelings of inadequacy by blaming my husband when in reality it had nothing to do with him. Mike’s love language is not words of affirmation like mine is. So many marital fights could be avoided if we just communicated our wants and needs. If we want a healthy and sustainable marriage, we must be willing to communicate with our partner. That includes everything from decision-making to intimacy. The key is vulnerability.


Know your love language. We all give and receive love in different ways. Knowing your love language as well as your significant other’s will definitely help with communication. There are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, gift receiving, quality time, and physical touch. My husband and I have two different love languages so it’s helpful to understand each other’s language so we can ensure our love is being received. Check out the 5 love languages at 5lovelanguages.com


Honesty. This goes hand-in-hand with communication. Having integrity in your marriage is so important. Along with honesty comes trust. My husband is the person I trust the most. He is my biggest supporter and always has my back. There was a time when being honest about my mental health was very difficult. I was as sick as my secrets. It really wore on our marriage. The minute I spoke up and sought help was the minute our marriage really took off and became stronger than ever. If it weren’t for honesty, there is a good chance I would not be here today. I try to be as honest with my husband as possible and I know he does the same for me. I am thankful to have a partner that I can tell ANYTHING to. Our love doesn’t carry conditions.



Ditch the jealousy. I have never been the jealous type or found myself attracted to jealous people. Sure, everyone can get a tad bit jealous sometimes but I’m talking about those people who are green with envy. I don’t feel the need to be jealous in my marriage because I am confident in who I am. I am more than enough. Our marriage isn’t superficial or materialistic. Looks will fade. Things will come and go. But we are committed to being a team for the long haul.


Keep the romance alive. Having a solid foundation, good communication, and trust in each other are great ways to promote intimacy in your marriage. I firmly believe we must have a good relationship with ourselves and our bodies first and foremost. Body acceptance is huge for us women. I would not say I have exactly mastered healthy body image yet but I’m getting closer! I believe once we feel good in our own skin and can truly love ourselves for who we are, we can be more open and comfortable with our partner. Remember too that we don’t need to take romance so seriously. It isn’t always about big lavish gestures. There are so many other ways to show romance.


Date your spouse. I love date nights with my hubby. We try to prioritize at least one date night a month. Sometimes we just do dinner at one of our favorite spots. Other times we go to the lake for a romantic stroll. Two months ago we went rock climbing! We also try to take weekend getaways 1-2 times a year for anniversaries and birthdays. It’s so important to have a relationship with your partner outside of the kids. I don’t want to be one of those couples who gets to the empty nest stage and realizes all they have in common is their kids. I want to make sure to nurture our relationship and give it the proper attention it deserves. Mike is truly one of my best friends so it’s never hard for us to goof off alone for a few hours!



Have a life outside of your marriage. Having your own identity inside of marriage is so important. Mike and I are two separate people with different needs and interests. We have our own hobbies, our own friends, our own things we enjoy doing without each other. I love working out with my fitness mamas, having girls nights, and watching true crime shows. My husband enjoys going to breweries with his buddies, golfing with his dad, and doing home improvement projects. It’s okay to not do every little thing together. It’s important to show your kids that mommy and daddy have their own autonomy and are not attached at the hip.


You complete yourself. This goes right along with having a life outside of your marriage. Some may disagree with me on this but I don’t feel I need a man to complete me. I was born whole. I was born enough. Does my husband add so much joy and love to my life? Absolutely. I can’t imagine my life without him but that doesn’t mean I was born just waiting for him to swoop me off my feet and fix me. Hmm, the feminist in me is really coming out. My mama will be proud. But in all seriousness Mike and I came to this relationship as two whole people. We don’t complete each other, we compliment each other!



Don’t try to change each other. You married who you married. I’m not saying that people can’t change or grow. I am saying that if you get married and find yourself constantly trying to change that person or mold them into what you want, you may have married the wrong person. I don’t love every single quality about Mike and Mike could tell you I have plenty of qualities and quirks he isn’t fond of either, but we accept each other for who we are. When I married Mike I married ALL of him. Going into this marriage I knew his character, his strong qualities, his weaknesses. Because I love Mike I wanted the whole package!


It doesn’t have to be tit for tat. One thing I know my hubby and I have 100% mastered in our marriage is not keeping score. We both work hard. Mike busts his butt at work and does all of the yard work and home improvement projects. I am a stay at home mom who runs the kids to all of their activities and appointments. I typically make dinner and do most of the inside work. We are a team and we don’t need some spreadsheet to track how many times one of us has tucked the kids in. Nothing in life is fair and sometimes our marriage is close to 50/50 and other times it’s 80/20. There are times I am hit with a depression spell. There are times when Mike is super busy at work. We are there for each other and will make sure to pick up any slack when needed. Sometimes Mike even randomly does a load of laundry. Sometimes I’ll help him clean up the yard. We take turns on kid’s bedtime duty but there are plenty of times one of us will do it two days in a row. No one is keeping score. Teamwork makes the dream work!


There is no perfect marriage. You are going to fight. You are going to disagree. You are going to get on each other’s nerves. If you have kids, there will be times you have to compromise on how to raise them. There will be highs and lows. Just like any relationship, marriage takes work, time, and commitment. You need to nourish your relationship and when a hard season comes on, which they will, look at how far you have come both individually and together. Whenever my depression hits, what helps me is knowing my partner will be there for me, even though he doesn’t understand depression. He has been my rock and there have been plenty of times I have been his rock. There was definitely a time I felt a little less than to Mike. He always seemed to have the right answers, the right words, the right work ethic and amount of maturity. I always compared myself to him but we don’t have the same story or journey. We are two different people who struggle with completely different things. It has taken me a LONG time to realize that we really are equals. He may be wise beyond his years and a natural at fixing things, but I am much more in touch with my feelings, can go into any social situation with ease, and keep things running smoothly at home. It all goes back to being your own complete person. Our personalities could not be any more different but we make it work!



Today is my 8 year wedding anniversary. Cheers to us Mike. I dedicate this post to you and the love and mutual respect we share for each other. There is no one else I’d rather do life with and I can’t wait to keep growing with you. I love you so much and am grateful for the life we are building.