Relationship Talk + Raw Sweetheart Cake #realandraw
After one year of marriage, my husband and I are nowhere near experts, but we have gathered quite a few lessons that have helped us along the way. Our top priorities when it comes to a healthy relationship are clear communication, quality time, intentional affirmation and constructive conflict. Getting married in our early twenties, buying a house, and then diving into a business together led to a lot of resistance in our journey and pushed us to shift quickly from our mistakes.
In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up this week, let’s talk relationships. But not the romanticized version you see on TV… we’re about to get super duper real about everything we do in our marriage to stay connected and grow together.
1. Learn the art of conflict.
Our premarital counselors gave us these words of wisdom - ‘don’t avoid conflict; learn to conflict well’. We have found that transparency about even the little things that are getting under our skin keeps our communication lines clear. It allows us to deal with problems as they arise and not just shove them under the rug, only to show up years down the road. Conflicting well looks like asking questions to understand the other perspective, openly expressing how the situation feels to you, and offering solutions to get you out of a rut.
2. Honeymoon several times a year.
We love taking mini getaways throughout the year to step out of our daily norm and focus on each other. Honeymoons don’t have to be reserved for a once and done experience at a resort - you can enjoy that sweet one-on-one connecting time frequently in your marriage. Go away to a local bed and breakfast for the weekend, road trip to a secluded cabin in the woods, or take the train to explore a city for the day. The key here is quality time apart from everyday stresses, to remember the foundation of your love for each other.
3. Collaborate your calendars.
Miscommunication around plans and events can create unnecessary frustrations that simple scheduling can alleviate. We’ve tried both shared digital calendars as well as a physical wall calendar, and have found the paper version to work best for keeping up with each other’s agendas. This year, we’re getting more intentional about booking ‘us’ time and rest time into our schedule. Being on the same page about what the day holds makes for a smoother flow in doing life together.
4. Listen, understand, talk.
Before you offer a solution, make sure your spouse has the room to fully express their viewpoint and know they are heard (this one might be a little harder for the guys). It’s so important to apply active listening skills by asking questions that allow your conversation to go deeper and develop. Stay focused on what your spouse needs to say and don’t jump in until they are ready for input.
5. Say ‘I love you’ + ‘I love this about you’ often.
Justin is better at this than I, but I love that he says ‘I love you’ every night before we fall asleep. You can never say these three words too much. The more positive and affirming phrases you can speak into your marriage, the lighter even hard days will feel. I like to be specific with ‘I love you’s’ and also mention a strength or quality I admire in him.
Coconut Shortbread Crust :
¼ c. cashews, soaked in water overnight
¼ c. coconut flour
¼ c. almond flour
¼ tsp. himalayan salt
Vanilla Bean Layer :
1 ½ c. raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1 vanilla bean, beans scraped from center
3 dates, soaked in water overnight
½ can of coconut milk
Pinch of organic stevia
Pinch of himalayan salt
Line a springform pan with parchment paper (I used one with a heart mold!). Pulse the crust ingredients in a high speed blender and press into the pan. Place in the freezer while you make the vanilla bean layer.
Blend all of the vanilla layer ingredients until cashews become creamy and smooth. Spread on top of crust. Place back into freezer.
Add the strawberry layer ingredients into your blender. Blend until smooth, add extra milk if needed for a silky consistency. Remove cake from freezer and pour strawberry mixture over the vanilla layer. To create the ‘marble’ effect, just reserve a little thawed pitaya on the side and swirl it through the strawberry layer!
Allow cake to set completely in freezer for at least an hour. Remove from springform pan and transfer to plate or cake stand.
Decorate cake with whatever fresh fruit, nuts and chocolate you have on hand! I used black grapes, pomegranate arils, blackberries, pistachios, hazelnuts, and Loving Earth nutty maple chocolate.
What has been your greatest relationship lesson? Share your stories in the comments below!