A Happy Marriage is a Daily Decision

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pink TulipsWe’ve all been seeing chocolate, flowers, hearts and red and pink colors everywhere ever since the Christmas decorations were taken down at the beginning of this new year. We all know that this holiday is mostly a money making scheme for card companies, restaurants, flower shops, etc. I have to admit, that in my seven years of marriage, my husband and I never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day. Quite frankly, this is the first year that I’m actually NOT working on Valentine’s Day, and of course, Sergi works every year as well. Most years, the extent of our celebrating includes a card, Sergi gets me flowers and maybe we exchange small gifts, although most years we don’t.

There are usually two ways of looking at Valentine’s Day, either pouring yourself wholeheartedly into this holiday, celebrating love and romance or protesting the marketing and advertising that is all around by completely ignoring it.

Sergi and I go all out on our birthdays, though. I guess that’s our thing. Sergi really makes me feel like a queen and spoils me to the ultimate degree on my birthday and I try my best to make his birthday special too. On our anniversary, we both celebrate our marriage and quite often make it a small getaway weekend somewhere not too far from home. Are birthdays vitally important? Of course not! Your marriage does not have to include extravagant birthday celebrations or extraordinary Valentine’s Day experiences to thrive, just like the price of your engagement ring doesn’t equal the degree of happiness in your marriage.

Love is a gift and something to be valued and cherished. I thank God every day for my wonderful husband, and I treasure him with all my heart. However, If I don’t respect my husband and show him every day in many ways how much I love him, a gushy card and a gourmet dinner once a year will not magically make our marriage great. I’m sure you can all agree with that. If Valentine’s Day is special for you, by all means, pour all your energy into it and make your spouse feel important. Please share your ideas too!  I’m always looking for creative date ideas!

Here we are, June 18, 2006

Here we are, June 18, 2006

When we got married, nobody forced us into it, especially in the 21st century in America. If we had bad expectations going into marriage, we wouldn’t have vowed to love each other and commit to each other for the rest of lives, would we? We enter marriage expecting it to be awesome. 

I’m certainly not an expert on marriage, and you can even say that I’m practically a babe in this department. Our marriage isn’t perfect, of course, but my husband and I are very happy together, that is beyond a doubt. We have gone through many things in life that many couples don’t have to deal with in a lifetime together. I think that the hardships that came our way in our young life together made us stronger and brought us even closer to each other. Our faith and trust in God grew along with our love for one another. I really do believe that the closer that each of us is to God, the closer we can be to each other, and share a beautiful marriage built on a solid foundation.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible describing love is found in 1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as “The Love Chapter”. It’s a very short passage, hidden among the rest of the worthy attributes of love – “love does not seek its own”. It may be short but it’s definitely profound. For me, that is the secret to a happy marriage and a loving relationship. When I look for ways to give and serve I am so much more fulfilled than when I try to look for ways to get as much out of marriage and our relationship for myself personally. Rather than thinking “How can my husband make me happy?” or “what can this marriage offer me?”, I am so much happier when I think “What can I do today to make my husband smile?” and “What can I do to make our marriage stronger?”.

My husband often says that marriage is not a a 50-50 deal; it’s a 100-100 deal, each partner going all out and being completely committed, not performing based on what the other person is doing. Sometimes, it may even be 150-50, because we all have our days when we aren’t feeling well, are having a bad day, are crabby or going through a rough time. Sometimes we need to be strong for the other person and that is normal.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

It’s also very important to invest into our marriages.

Sergi and I at a Marriage Conference this past autumn.

Sergi and I at a Marriage Conference this past autumn.

We can’t expect our marriage to thrive if we never do anything to make it better. Just like growing as a person and becoming a better individual, you will never grow if you stay in one spot. I love the metaphor for growth being more like a downward escalator than stairs – if you’re not climbing higher, you will be on your way down naturally. Read books about marriage, go to marriage conferences, commit to date nights, show romantic gestures on a daily basis to your spouse. Learn more about each other, be creative, be spontaneous and fun. Great books to read – The Five Love Languages, Love and Respect, Personality Plus For Couples.

Someone snuck this photo of us, at the airport on our way to a mission trip in Russia. Yes, we were newly married:).

Someone snuck this photo of us, at the airport on our way to a mission trip in Russia. Yes, we were newly married:).

I want to make sure that I get dressed up and look pretty for my husband, treat him to the best dinners and snacks, go on fun dates, listen to his stories, and make him feel respected and cherished. He is the most important person in the world for me and I want to make sure he feels like it too. I know all about his job and he knows all about mine. He knows all my quirks, habits and hobbies, and so do I about his. Why? Not because I care about fire protection (my husband is an inspector of fire systems) but because I care about HIM. I want to know about his job, his co-workers and his customers. I want to know his challenges and victories. I know I can tell Sergi all about my work and hobbies and he will listen, be understanding and really get me.

Valentine's Day-1Here’s a quote from the movie “Shall We Dance”: “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

Spend time together. Go on a picnic, to the beach, park, camping, bike riding, roller blading, gardening, sailing, parachuting, visit an amusement park, coffee shop, book store, take cooking classes together, go to a football/baseball game, museum, travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Keep romance alive and your friendship fun.

Valentine's Day-1-3

In Rome, Italy last summer for our 7th wedding anniversary.

Life can throw many things our way, our circumstances may not be the greatest, but we do have the power to make our marriage either fine, good or exceptionally awesome. Of course, I realize that there are exceptions to everything, and maybe you are married to a monster, just make sure that monster isn’t you. “The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose.” J. Martin Kohe

Valentine's Day-1-4

Recently at my brother’s wedding

Marriage is a beautiful partnership, a safe haven and a place of refuge. “A happy family is an earlier vision of heaven.” Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or you don’t, make sure to make your marriage one of your top priorities and choose EVERY DAY to show your spouse how much you love them.


    • Diana

      So inspiring! Love your writing: organized, to the point, supported by examples, quotes, so full of personality! It gives me a feeling of light, lifting and encouragement as well as ideas!
      Hmmm, how much more will a marriage grow if we would try to make our spouses feel special everyday! Love your comment that sometimes its 150/50. So true! But spouses can lift each other up!!! Just beautiful! Thank you!

  • Jessica

    This is a very moving & inspiring piece. The quote about having a witness actually made me tear up. Thank you for your lovely writing, Olga.

  • elena

    Wow this was great and i totally agree with u. U r a great writter . Yes life is not perfect but we should try to bring out the best in our spouses. I always say, your marriage will be what u make it to be. Best wishes to u . May God bless u and ur marriage 🙂

    • olgak7

      That’s so sweet of you to say, Elena. Thank you. I do love to write and I’m so humbled that others are reading what is in my heart. Yes, the quality of our marriage depends on what we invest in it. I am so blessed to be married to the best husband in the world. He is a gift from God. God bless you too.

  • Anna

    Just lovely! A happy marriage(family) is a glimpse of heaven… and I love how you added that in your writing. Valentine’s day doesn’t mean much to my husband and I, the most important things to us are spending time with each other and our kids every minute we can. To love someone is to be in all of their business:) Like you said…to listen to them talk about their day, encouraging, comforting and to always put them first. Love is a “sacrifice” and we need to sacrifice ourselves everyday to put others ahead of ourselves. It takes work, but its so fulfilling and I believe that God is so happy when He watches His children do that. Because that’s what He did for us by sending Jesus to die for us. Thanks Olga for all the time you take to write to us and remind people what really matters in life. I would love to see some pictures of your brothers wedding.

    • olgak7

      I absolutely agree with you Anna. God is love and because of that, He shows us how to truly show love to our spouses.
      I don’t have a lot of pictures from my brother’s wedding. I was too busy to take pictures, but hopefully I’ll get some from other family members:). It was a great wedding.

  • Vitaliya

    You are such a great writer Olga! I love reading your blogs daily! Thank you so much for sharing with us your thoughts and inspire us to keep that romance coming each and everyday!!!! Driving back from Lake Placid and reading this blog to Valentin and myself, just inspires us to become better and better for each other and keep our friendship growing every single day! I love your and Sergey’s relationship! There is so much that we can take from your relationship as an example for our own! :)))) We love you guys! You are a beautiful couple, inside and out!

    • olgak7

      Thanks, Vitaliya. That is so sweet of you to say. I am such a blessed girl to be married to my Sergi. He makes it easy to be a loving wife, because he is such an awesome husband. Love you too:).

  • Tatiana

    Very well said!!! This what we always say with my husband that Love is a choise!!!
    Blessings to you and Sergi. I’d love meeting you one day guys. We visit FL often 🙂 Which sity do u live in?

  • Olga Vorobey

    I loved reading this because its exactly how i think and feel…Great Article..You and Sergey seem like an amazing couple..May God Bless you and your little family and send an abundance of peace, joy, happiness and Love into your home..Be Blessed and Happy Love Day…

  • Inna Savchuk

    Thanks so much for this post! God works in mysterious ways…. Really needed this reminder. This little corner of the internet is sooo much more than a food blog! God Bless!

  • Alla

    One man at a marriage seminar said. “You live to make Him Happy, and he lives to make Her happy. And this will make a one Happy family.” We’ll put together Olga. God Bless Your family. You bring a lot of blessing to many families.

  • Yuliya

    Thanks Olga again for the great article, and inspiring words. We don’t do Valentine’s day anymore just cuz we feel love is not abaout one day of the year, its about your life together everyday. I believe love is shown more through actions than just words. Its very nice to read this and hear that there are other couples that have the same views and opinions and aren’t ashamed to share it and speak about Christ to this world. God bless you and your husband and all the work that you do for this site. Very nicely said!

    • olgak7

      Marriage is one of the most important things in this life and it’s the best thing when you have a great marriage relationship and unfortunately one of the worst when it’s not a good marriage. The good thing is that (most of the time), it’s our choice what our marriage will be like.

  • lyudmila

    Olga very well said !!!!! I absolutely agree with you, I love your blog and always fallow your story’s, God bless your beautiful family !

  • karin

    I haphazardly stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for a beef stroganoff slow cooker recipe. I spent my evening reading all of your past posts, and have to say that you are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing you life, and your dreams with us. Your positive attitude, your willingness to achieve, and your strength to endure are astounding. I too have suffered tragedy, but it was only recently that I accepted God into my life, and I’m beginning to understand his gifts and blessings. Clearly god has been by your side all along. Thank you for showing what it is like to live a life so bravely and filled with love and generosity. Many blessing .

  • Carmella

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

  • sveta

    I’ve only been married for 8 months so far but my husband and I also decided to not make a big deal out of Valentine’s day. We decided that we don’t need a specific day to show our love for each other because that should be done on a daily basis. I do agree with you that a happy marriage is a daily marriage and has a lot so with myself and what I decide rather than my husband.

    • olgak7

      Congratulations, Sveta! The first year of marriage is special in it’s own way. May God bless your marriage.
      Our marriages will be as good as the effort we put into them. I am so thankful to God for my wonderful husband and our marriage.

  • Natasha

    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts, both culinary and family-related. You’re still so young, yet possess more wisdom than many people achieve in their lifetimes. Keep inspiring!

  • Mila L.

    Olga, thanks for such a great reminder about not making big deal of Valentines Day. We don’t usually do much that day and stay home but once in a while we go out for nice dinner if we are lucky to get a babysitter but to celebrate my birthday and our engagement since I was born on Valentines day and we got engaged on that day as well. I even tell my husband not to buy flowers and if he really wants to, get them the next day instead. Love your blog by the way.

  • Sonia

    Happy Valentine’s Day Olga, and let me tell you , Valentine’s Day should be everyday
    that you are re blessed to be with that “Special Person” in your Life , that is how I feel and I am happily Married
    Husband and I always try to make each other laugh and smile and be happy to be together and help each other also when needed and be each other’s best friend . Yes it is give and take sometimes 150./50 like you say, But 2 is better than 1 and being alone and worth it too if with the right person that is very important in a Marriage, if not the right person you will be miserable no matter what. I love your photos and you look happy in them too which is important and the Love shows in your eyes and written beautifully and with Wisdom

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