Sunday, Mr. Ladd and I went to the Cardinal's game. He'd never been to an NFL game and has become a Cardinal's fan since moving to Arizona, so I surprised him with tickets for his birthday. We both love football, and although I'm a die hard Packer fan, I brought myself to cheer for the Cardinals for three hours, especially since they were taking on the 49ers who I love to hate. We had so much fun together, and it was a great reminder of how much we like each other and enjoy spending time together.
Call me crazy, but I'm a firm believer that you should actually like the person you've chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Otherwise, why bother? My brother David, and his wife Emily are a great example of this. They are truly each other's favorite person, and it's obvious. They'd rather be together than with anyone else, and it's been that way since they were in middle school. I don't think this is accidental or only for the lucky few, however. I also see them intentionally finding things they like to do together and participating in causes they both believe in. They are considerate of each other and still do little things to take care of and encourage the other person. I say Mr. Ladd is my best friend, and he really is, but sometimes I forget to be a good friend. I say things to him with a tone of voice I would never use with a friend. I think it's very easy to criticize, keep score, or even flat out ignore your spouse in ways you never would with a good friend. Friends take time to do fun stuff together, tell their friend what they like about them, and overlook little quirks.
In our marriage, when we're making time to have fun together, working as a team on a project, or intentionally noticing things we like about the other and then remembering to say them out loud, liking each other becomes a lot easier. We are really trying to enjoy time as a couple before we have kids and know this connection and friendship will become even more important to maintain when we do.
P.S. Recently ran across this from Seth Rogen, talking about actually liking his wife and the problem with how marriage is often portrayed in movies.